BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has been on the lookout for a safer way of changing tyres at its Saraji coal mine in Queensland, Australia, and it thinks it has found a solution in the form of Hedweld’s Trilift® TH15000 Workshop Tyre Handler.
Across the mining industry, there have been many incidents, injuries and even fatalities when people handle heavy vehicle earth moving tyres, BMA says.
With tyre assemblies weighing up to 15 t, the team at BMA’s Saraji mine looked at ways to reduce the potential exposure and risk to tyre fitters when working in and around tyres.
Jarrod Layton, Superintendent Mods & Ops Projects in the Saraji Engineering team, said prior to a recent tyre replacement, a commitment was made to the site leadership team to challenge the existing mind set around tyre handlers for heavy earth moving equipment.
“A key part of this project was changing our way of thinking around tyre handling. We spent a lot of time engaging our teams and looking for opportunities to increase not only the safety and productivity of our processes, but also the culture that surrounds these types of activities,” Layton said.
“The team investigated a range of options and consulted the market, where they found Hedweld’s TH 15000 Tyre Handler – a device which removes tyre fitters from the direct line of fire and safely secures the tyre in place during changes,” BMA said. “The device also features a jib arm to support the weight of the rattle gun that is required to remove the wheel nuts.”
Using Bluetooth technology, the device is remote controlled to give the operator improved visibility when aligning the device with the tyre and removes the need for any manual handling of the product, according to BMA.
“As the size of mining equipment grows, traditional methods for handling tyres become more hazardous and time consuming,” Layton said.
“Traditionally, tyres are moved by equipment such as loaders and forklifts and requires at least two fitters to operate. These items however, have limitations due to their size, manoeuvrability and safety. A number of incidents occur within the mining industry every year involving tyre handling.”
The device also allows all bays in the workshop to be better used, as well as reducing the number of people required for tyre handling. In turn, this allows for a higher availability of the wheeled tyre fleets, BMA says.
Layton said: “While the safety and productivity benefits are clear, the cultural change has also been fantastic to see. The workforce can see that we’re investing in making their jobs safer and easier to do every day – they see that we’re willing to invest and try new equipment and train them in order to deliver safer results.”
Hedweld said the Trilift TH15000 Workshop Tyre Handler has been designed to provide a maintenance tool for the safe removal and installation of tyres from a range of earthmoving and plant equipment. It has been developed to be used in a workshop environment and its compact design poses minimal impact on the normal operations of a mining workshop, according to the company.
“This fully self-contained diesel/hydraulic powered, remote controlled unit will handle tyres and rims up to 15,000 kg. In addition the TH15000 can handle tyres ranging in size from 27.00 R49 to 59/80 R63,” Hedweld says.