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Mining Tire Damage: What no one is talking about.

Mining tires are indispensable assets driving productivity in mine sites, yet they also represent a significant financial investment for mining operations. Data from North American Mining indicates that tires rank among the top five expenses for miners, highlighting the financial impact of tire management in the industry.


In 2019, Australia's mining sector alone generated a staggering 68,000 tonnes of used tires, underscoring the immense scale of tire consumption and disposal within the industry [Tire Stewardship Australia]. Such figures underscore the urgent need for effective tire management strategies to mitigate costs and minimize environmental impact.

As emphasized in articles from Heavy Equipment Guide and, mining operations are increasingly relying on specialized tools like Kal Tire's TOMS and True Tire Technology. These tools enable mining companies to monitor tire pressure remotely and detect potential issues preemptively, optimizing tire performance and minimizing downtime. While these advancements are invaluable, are there other important considerations for mine operators to bear in mind?


Understanding Tire Bead Damage and Knurling

The tire bead, forming the inner edge of the tire, ensures a secure seal between the tire and the wheel rim. Knurling, a process that impresses a pattern onto a surface, is commonly used on wheels and rims to enhance traction and grip between the tire bead and the wheel rim. However, while intended to improve stability and prevent slippage, knurling can inadvertently exacerbate bead damage, leading to costly consequences for mining operations.


Traditional knurled surfaces on wheels cause significant abrasion to the tire bead. Over time, this constant rubbing and tearing action can weaken the bead's integrity, resulting in air leaks, tire blowouts, and safety hazards for personnel and equipment. When the bead is compromised, the tire becomes vulnerable to air loss, thereby decreasing tire performance and posing potential safety risks.

Watch this quick animation to see how the tire and wheel interact:


The Overlooked Impact of Wheels and Rims

While tire maintenance rightfully receives much attention, the role of wheels and rims in preserving tire integrity is often underestimated. Properly designed wheels and rims play a crucial role in preventing bead damage and maintaining a secure air seal, thereby enhancing tire life and reducing operating costs.


Modern wheel and rim designs incorporate smoother surfaces and rounded edges to eliminate bead damage caused by knurling. Manufacturers like GMI Wheels, based in Langley, British Columbia, leverage over 140 years of combined experience in the OTR Tire and Wheel industry to produce wheels and rims with industry-leading air seal capabilities.

Investing in high-quality wheels and rims equipped with smooth surfaces and advanced features, such as bead retention devices and reinforced flanges, can significantly mitigate the risk of bead damage and air loss. By prioritizing wheel and rim selection alongside tire maintenance, mining operations can realize substantial cost savings and operational efficiencies in the long run.


Marathon Industries has partnered with GMI Wheels to assist Canadian mining operations in eliminating unnecessary tire damage through proper wheel and rim selection. Our experienced team, with on-site expertise on six continents, assesses tire shop programs and recommends simple yet effective steps to enhance tire performance and reduce long-term headaches.


If you would like to take proactive steps towards optimizing your mining operation's tire management strategy, reach out to our team for a free consultation to assess how we can help.

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