Principle considerations for most quarry operators are health & safety and materials extraction so, given the potentially dangerous working environments in the sector, the need for strict safety procedures is paramount – not only to protect personnel but also to help maintain efficient production.
TyreWatch say their remote monitoring and control systems dovetail perfectly with these essential requirements, particularly as underinflated heavy equipment tyres cannot always be determined by visual inspection alone.
For example, says TyreWatch, large earthmoving tyres can run underinflated for weeks, which causes the tyre to over flex. This, in turn, causes the tyre to wear faster, the rim components to suffer premature damage and the potential for a serious incident to be ever present.
Moreover, it is a well-known fact that underinflation leads to shortened tyre tread lifespans and can make the tyre casing at the end of its first tread life unsuitable for remoulding. TyreWatch Sales and Field Technical Manager, Peter Roffey explains:
“Running underinflated tyres leads to overheating and potential blow-outs which inevitably puts site operatives at risk. Connect this with the extensive paperwork required to comply with the HSE’s RIDDOR directive (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation) and there is a perfect case for the TyreWatch system to ensure all-round safety and adherence to the law.”
To this end, Roffey further explains that TyreWatch customers are increasingly requesting tyre pressure and temperature data for their connected machines to improve onsite working practices and thereby embedding TyreWatch remote monitoring into their core operating systems.
A current example of this can be seen with Imerys, the market-leading supplier of mineral-based specialty solutions, who report significant reduction in tyre replacement and vehicle downtime since installing a TyreWatch remote monitoring service at its quarry in Furzebrook, Dorset.
With a mixed fleet of off-road heavy plant and six bulk tippers, Imerys were looking for a solution to combat problems associated with tyre-pressure loss and, following a recommendation, turned to TyreWatch and their industry-specific PlantSmart telematics system.
“In former times,” explains Quarry Supervisor, James Johnson, “we might have no idea if a certain tyre was losing pressure or failing, so with no opportunity to resolve the problem we would have to take vehicles out of service and make emergency tyre replacements. This not only interrupted workflow but also presented a potential safety hazard.”
Having this type of connected solution, says tyreWatch, is the safe way forwards to alert quarry operators to attend to tyre pressures in good time and, accordingly, TyreWatch delivers maintenance and warning notifications before the tyres reach a critical pressure. This allows the machines to carry on working with tyre repairs being planned in for the end of the day or during a driver rest period.
Using the automatically captured data that Tyrewatch provides also helps operators to look at site trends for tyre temperature peaks: large earthmover tyres heat up and take a long time to cool down so real time temperature records can help to reduce tyre overheat, which prevents loss of tyre service life, improves safety and reduces cost.
“The best outcome for all quarry operators and owners” adds Peter Roffey, “is to invest in a connected system that simultaneously notifies the quarry management, maintenance teams and (by cab alert) machine operators of every low tyre pressure event.”
Roffey says that while TPMS is by no means a new concept, the TyreWatch telematics monitoring system takes it a step further by making sure all issues are monitored in real-time without the need to solely rely on the driver or later visual inspections – which could be too late. The added benefit to the operator is paperless, digital reporting which can be instantly accessed for all compliance checks and inspections.
“We use the TyreWatch direct TPMS on our quarry-based vehicles with high pressure tyres, while on the loading shovels, a pit tractor and our bulk tippers we use the IoT (Internet of things) remote system – which also provides temperature monitoring.” This, says James, is useful to detect any sudden temperature increases, which could indicate a binding brake, hub failure, damaged suspension, or incorrect wheel alignment.”
In addition to the in-cab alarm system, automatic alerts are sent to designated email addresses within the Imerys team, notifying of any events as they occur and automatically updating as the problem develops. “This enables us to monitor every tyre-related issue as it happens and to stay well ahead of any problems before they occur.” Adds James Johnson.
According to James, by never running an underinflated tyre, Imerys are permanently saving on fuel and maintenance costs. Furthermore, by greatly reducing particulate emissions from tyre tread abrasion, the company is also helping to minimise its environmental impact.
TyreWatch add that high demand for its monitoring systems is also driven by the fact that for safety reasons, instead of allowing site operatives to look after under-inflated tyres, trained tyre technicians were required. This led to extended call out times and often needed specially adapted tyre fitting vehicles – both of which combined to increase down time and cost.
“We’ve saved many tyres using TyreWatch,” concludes James Johnson, “and the safety and environmental aspects are far-reaching. We have certainly embraced the benefits of TyreWatch predictive tyre management, and I’m pleased to say, so too have all of our quarry transport contractors.”