When it comes to the supply of tyres to the mining industry, there are a handful of brands that have held the lion’s share of the market for decades.
But as Australia sits on the cusp of another mining boom and the world increasingly turns to the industry to rouse the global economy from its pandemic-induced slumber, opportunities have emerged for newer players to gain a significant foothold in the market.
Tradefaire International (TFI) has solidified its partnership with a major global tyre manufacturer that is offering a breath of fresh air to the mining industry through a new, innovative facility.
The Australian Mining Review spoke to TFI’s General Manager Steve Ryan and its General Manager – Sales & Marketing Daniel Richter about how the partnership is allowing them to distribute tyres that are on par with the big brands in terms of performance and safety, while providing lower cost per hour benefits.
When combined with TFI’s expanded national footprint and product range, the company has grown into a big player in the distribution of tyres to underground and surface mining projects right around Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
A decade ago, tyre manufacturing company BKT defined its vision to become a worldleader in the OTR tyre market.
In just a few years, the company had developed a US$500m ($655m) state-ofthe- art manufacturing plant in Bhuj, India, stretching over 121ha—an area so big a fleet of golf carts was needed for the first tour. The plant was designed for a production output of 120,000t/year, can house 4000 workers and boasts India’s first ever outdoor tyre-testing track.
With six different tracks, the circuit stretches over 10ha, including tracks for tyre performance tests in wet and dry conditions.
High precision devices and instruments measure traction, handling, comfort, noise, fuel consumption, braking, rolling resistance, soil compaction and more.
Daniel said the facility’s R&D centre ensure it remains at the forefront of innovation, with researchers, engineers and technicians working together to develop new products and continually improve existing ones.
‘’The R&D and testing is all done in-house and is second to none,’’ Daniel said.
‘’BKT’s emphasis on being a specialist provider of OTR and giant tyres demonstrates their commitment to developing industry-leading products to the mining industry.’’
This has underpinned a solid partnership between BKT and TFI since the 90s that has allowed both companies to grow together.
Daniel said it had also allowed TFI to distribute tyres that are on par with the major brands in terms of performance and in most cases being able to deliver a reduction in the cost-per-hour rate.
‘’The tyres have proven their success in both surface and underground gold operations, in iron ore projects as well as in the coal fields and hard rock quarries across Australia,’’ Daniel said.
BKT’s OTR Mining Tyre Range
The extensive range of EARTHMAX radial tyres are engineered for the best possible load distribution on the ground when fitted on dumpers, wheeled loaders, dozers, or graders.
They all have a common feature: an all-steel structure conferring resistance to the casing that protects against punctures and damage in harsh terrains.
Within the EARTHMAX product family, there is a range of tread patterns that are able to handle the most extreme mine site conditions.
EARTHMAX SR 46 equips rigid dump trucks operating in severe rocky environments such as mines.
Specifically designed to carry heavy loads, this tyre features resistance against cuts and chips by means of the steel-belted casing and also features a specific tread design with lug blocks and a circumferential groove, which stands for reduced tread face damage and for improved cornering performance.
EARTHMAX SR 49, UMS is an all-steel radial tyre specially designed for load haul dumps operating in severe rocky conditions primarily in underground mines. The E-4 deep tread and the specially formulated UMS compound provide a longer tread wear in addition to excellent resistance to rock cuts and punctures.
EARTHMAX SR 53, L-5 classified, has been designed for loaders operating on the most difficult sites such as quarries and mines. The tread is made of a cut-resistant compound which allows it to perform in harsh mining conditions. EARTHMAX SR 55, L-5, Smooth is an allsteel radial tyre that offers excellent cut protection due to its extra-deep and smooth tread design. Equipment operators will appreciate its productivity and stability.
The market for giant tyres is always hungry for bigger tyres and for this reason BKT has recently launched a range of giant earthmover tyres.
This includes the new 51” version of EARTHMAX SR 46 for rigid dumpers and recently created EARTHMAX SR 468, a truly massive 57’’ tyre designed for rigid dump trucks.
Not to stand still, BKT is now in the process of developing a 63” tyre to add to their range.
TFI’s Products And Services
TFI has four other core products in addition to BKT: TY Cushion Tyres, Durun truck tyres, Arisun rubber tracks and Tyre Fill for puncture proofing.
TY Cushion Tyre: TY has been a leader in the development and production of earthmover solid cushion tyres for more than 40 years.
‘’It is a very resilient, soft centred solid tyre with the advantage of having no air in it,’’ Steve said.
‘’The design means it is nice and soft to ride on but it is longer lasting and there are no punctures, pressure maintenance or downtime.
‘’It is safe underground because of its stability and there being no chance of rim componentry flying off.
‘’It lasts for about 6000 hours depending on the mine and about two to three times a normal pneumatic tyre.
‘’In the coal industry in NSW we have got three times the life out of it when compared to a pneumatic tyre.’’
Going the Extra Mile
The TFI team is proud of its reputation for unmatched technical knowledge and professional on-site service that does not end when the tyre is sold.
Reliable, sustainable and economical solutions are provided to help customers with:
- Customised site assessments
- Tyre performance and risk audits
- Cost reduction initiatives
- Continuous improvement reviews.
‘’We are constantly assessing whether a tyre is working in a particular application and whether there are ways to increase its life or achieve a lower cost,’’ Daniel said.
‘’We go to site and look at the conditions such as making sure the health of the haul roads and loading areas is optimum to achieve the maximum life out of the tyre.’’
TFI was founded in 1992 from humble beginnings as the preferred national supplier of Kumaneko industrial solid forklift tyres to the Beaurepaires network.
Over the last three decades, the company has become a leading supplier of OTR Tyres and has expanded its footprint. TFI now has 11 locations across Australia and New Zealand with an annual turnover in excess of 100,000 units. AMR