Big Dividends for Off Road
Several years ago, Kenn Bush wrote an article on OTR tire maintenance and repairs entitled “Forgotten Heroes.”
Unfortunately, wheel/rim assemblies and related components fall into the forgotten hero category. Each year, folks are killed when working with wheels and rims.
Rimex, a major manufacturer of earthmover wheels, notes that rims and wheels, as well as related support parts, reach a fatigue stage at some point. Yet, the consensus among many end-users is that they will last the life of the vehicle. In some instances, this may be the case. However, even though rims and wheels are strong and durable, they have service life limits. Rust, fatigue, and damaged parts are major causes for out-of-service conditions. Fatigue cracks in the rim base and/or flange are common failures usually after thousands of hours of service. Earthmover rims are subject to extremely high stress due to high inflation pressures, torque loads, shock loads, steering and braking force, and the applied load of the vehicle.
Proper, preventive maintenance of rims and related hardware is vitally important to proper tire service. Cleaning and inspecting is essential to rim maintenance. Sand blasting and wire brushing are two acceptable cleaning methods. Once cleaned, inspect for stress cracks, broken welds, or other damage. Don’t forget basic valve maintenance and never heat or weld on rims, wheels, or their support components.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) publishes a Tire and Rim Safety Awareness program. It is an excellent publication, full of information regarding tire and rim safety, maintenance, performance issues, operational conditions, and more. Operators should become familiar with this free publication. It is a wonderful reference for annual MSHA refresher training. Check out MSHA’s Web site at www.msha.gov/S&HINFO/IG60.PDF. Look up catalog MSHA IG-60. One positive note: mine deaths fell to an historic low in 2006 in the metal/non-metal mining sector. Industry representatives cited training programs as the key factor in reducing fatalities.
Tire tracking software program
Another way to realize big dividends from an off-road-tire maintenance program is being able to follow the money. If you do not have data for cost per hour or cost per ton moved, reasons for failure, budgeted or forecasted demand, data on tire performance and optimal retreading intervals, or any number of other key data management points, it is very difficult to demonstrate the cost savings of proper tire maintenance and retreading.
As stated earlier, technology unlocks potential. When it comes to OTR tires, a user friendly, tire tracking software program, such as Bridgestone America’s TreadStat program or those offered by other major tire manufacturers, does exactly that.
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