Tyre sealants the viable option

Exmouth is located on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia, approximately 1270 km north of Perth and 3366 km southwest of Darwin. The town has hosted an American naval communication station and US air force personnel since the 1960s and today is one of the few areas in Australia that can boast the ?Range to Reef? experience – the Cape Range National Park encompasses 506 km2 of spectacular gorges and is located on the west coast of the Cape which provides a variety of hiking tracks and camp sites on the coastal fringe of the Park. At the height of the tourist season, the population swells from 2000 to 6000.

Exmouth is renowned for its limestone deposits and several quarrying and concrete businesses in Exmouth. This includes ExmouthQuarries and Concrete, which has been operating concrete batching plant operations upon lots in Pelias Street, Exmouth, for over30 years as well as contracting in earthmovingand excavating in the northwest. Its plant specialises in the crushing of hard limestone and produces around 3000 metres of concreteand between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes of quarry products each year. Exmouth Quarries prides itself on providing a cost-effective concrete product to the Exmouth community, including the Shire of Exmouth, local builders and community members, in that time.

Exmouth Quarries has three Caterpillar vehicles for its earthmoving and excavating business: a 980C wheel loader, which does the bulk of the work on site, and 920 and 966 wheel loaders. All three machines? off the road (OTR) tyres vary in size, in conjunction with the specific vehicle. The 980C?s 35/65 – 33 tyres have a diameter of 20 cm by 28 cm. The 920?s OTR tyres are slightly smaller in diameter – 17.5 cm by 25 cm. The 966 is by far the largest in diameter – 23 cm by 25 cm.

With all three machines working in the field, sometimes up to 250 km away, the upkeep of large tyres is paramount. Russell McDonald of Exmouth Quarries said that because of the tyranny of distance it was not feasible to buy or retread tyres. ?We don?t retread big tyres,? he said. ?The last new set of tyres we bought was 18 months ago. In fact, we would only buy a new set of tyres every five to eight years.?

Russell said that punctures or leaks would occur in the loaders? tyres ?maybe once or twice a year?. As it is often difficult to identify exactly where the puncture or leak may be on an OTR tyre, it is simpler to use a sealant to repair the problem than a standard patch.

Exmouth Quarries has therefore been using Arnco ReSeal, which is available through Bearcat Tyres, for its tyre maintenance. It is a tyre sealant comprising interlocking Kevlar fibres that clot in and around puncture holes in a tyre that is up to seven millimetres (7 mm) in diameter. Kevlar is a durable high-tensile strength fibre that is five times stronger than steel and has been used in many exotic space age technologies such as sails on yachts and for bicycle tyres and fitness equipment in cycling. The Kevlar fibres gently ?brush? the tyre rim and liner, constantly cleaning and nourishing both the tyre and the rim. ReSeal is therefore very effective in sealing small leaks from around the bead and carcass area of the tyres.

ReSeal is also simple to install, as it is pumped into a tyre holding ?zero? pressure through the valve stem. Specific litres are added to a given tyre size to enable complete coverage of the internal air cavity. Following the valve insertion and subsequent inflation, the tyre?s natural rolling will generate the centrifugal force on the ReSeal, distributing a consistent spread of the liquid over the tyre?s entire interior surface liner. When in the tyre, theReSeal remains in a liquid state at -32oC. Otherliquid brand sealants have been known to become solid in the tyre and to freeze at -17oC.

Russell McDonald stated that ReSeal had been very effective in maintaining the tyres in Exmouth Quarries? 980C loader. ?We couldn?t find the leak in the tyre. We don?t know if it was a cracked rim or just an ?O?-ring. If we had to plug a leak, we wouldn?t be able to find anything. The great thing about the Reseal is that you just put it in the tyre and it finds the hole in the tyre from the inside. You don?t have to take the tyres off the vehicle, you just let the air out and then just put the hose on the valve and slowly pump it in. In theory, you should put in a brand new tyre. But if the tyre has only a tiny hole, then the sealant should keep it filled. It?s fixed three tyres for us.

?It takes a couple of days for the sealant to work. You still have to drive the machine around to fill the holes in, as it stays liquid and needs to be spread around the tyre. For the 980C, we had to put air in it one more time – it was OK the second day. After driving it around a bit for a couple of days, it was good. The front tyre itself gets a bit of a work out.?

Russell added that it was even possible to retrieve and reuse the liquid if the tyre is replaced. ?You may still be able to pick up some of the ReSeal from the bottom and be able to reuse it,? he said. ?You can put up to 10 litres in, so there?s may be some left over in the tyre, and on the spoke at the bottom. You can suck it up and use it again.?

At the end of the day, Russell said that ReSeal represented a massive saving for Exmouth Quarries. ?A lot of the smaller quarries can?t afford to buy a new tyre,? he explained. ?The cost of a single tyre is about $4500. Four new tyres on a loader would cost us $18,000. The ReSeal cost us about $300.?

The other problem for Exmouth Quarries is the tyranny of distance. Unlike suburban quarries and even some regional quarries, it is not feasible for Exmouth Quarries to be sending off tyres for repairs or retreading.

?When we couldn?t originally find the leak on the main tyre, we rang the supplier who sold us the tyre and they said ?Send the tyre down?,? recalled Russell. ?The problem is that we would have had to send the whole tyre down for repair or replacement. Exmouth is 1300km from Perth – therefore to send a tyre down to Perth for repairs would take a week and shut the machine down, and we would have to retrieve one of our other loaders, which is doing other work 250 km away!

?Even if we took the tyre off the truck to inspect it and fix the leak ourselves, that would still have cost us half a day?s work. So ReSeal is very cost-effective. It saves us both time and money.?

Glen Wolfenden, the business development manager at Bearcat Tyres, agreed that ReSeal was invaluable for smaller, busy quarrying and extractive operations that do not have the time to be identifying the leaks in their OTR tyres. ?ReSeal will greatly benefit your business,? he said, ?because it can potentially extend tyre life and minimise waste due to tyre failure and wheel corrosion. It also maintains consistent air pressure to avoid tyres being run under inflated and it reduces costly downtime due to repairs and transportation of disabled vehicles.? 

Glen added that ReSeal may also help to extend tyre life as it is a tyre coolant. As well as reducing the instances of punctures, when tyres are operated under inflated, heat builds up inside the tyre, causing early tyre failure through separations. By using ReSeal, the air pressure can remain constant inside the tyre, reducing instances of under inflation and poor tyre performance.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend