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The Talk on OTR Tires is Heating Up

Updated: Mar 20

Are mining professionals truly content with the current performance of mining tires? Despite their indispensable role, tire failures due to punctures, rock cuts, and sidewall damage persist, posing significant challenges to mining operations worldwide. How many of these tire failures are preventable?


Tire failures can be classified into five categories: tread wear, shoulder damage, sidewall cuts, and liner splits [R. Anzabi, UofA]. The tire tread and sidewall are most prone to failure. Data from Syncrude Canada Ltd. showed that tread cuts and tread separation accounted for 49% of tire failures while sidewall cuts account for approximately 34% of all tire faults [Canadian Mining & Energy]. While it's undeniable that some tire failures are inevitable due to factors like extra sharp rocks or collisions with equipment, a portion of these failures could potentially be avoided.


What else is causing tire damage?


Heat buildup poses a significant threat to tire integrity, leading to increased wear and tear, particularly in the tread area. As tires flex under load and deform over uneven road surfaces, friction generates heat, accelerating the aging process of the tire and making it more susceptible to cracks, punctures, and sidewall damage.

Does something like this look all too familiar? 

One commonly overlooked issue contributing to tire failures and heat generation is tire indexing. While some may attribute tire indexing solely to the tire itself, wheel assemblies can have up to seven components that must fit together seamlessly to maintain tire integrity. If these components have uneven surfaces or are not machined within certain tolerances, they may slip past each other around the wheel, leading to tire misalignment and increased stress.

Here's a visual of a wheel component indexing:


This issue is compounded when one side of the tire slips at a different rate or distance than the other, causing twisting and torquing of the tire structure. This stretches the radial chords comprising the tire sidewall and tread base, putting them under increased tension and accelerating heat buildup. Consequently, even small sidewall impacts can become catastrophic.


Sidewall damage the result of stressed tire chords:

The need for fully machined and properly fitted components is paramount to eliminate tire indexing. By investing in quality split rim assemblies from GMI Wheels, mining operations can significantly reduce tire failures and sidewall damage. Properly manufactured wheels ensure optimal fitment and alignment, mitigating the risks associated with tire indexing and contributing to enhanced operational efficiency.

Avoid sidewall and tread damage when the tire and wheel fit together like a glove:

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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