Plant & Equipment

How not to be caught short by tyre shortages

With the factory fire extinguished several years ago, you would think that manufacturing capacity would have been restored by now. Yet, it is not unusual to pick up a magazine and find yet another article bewailing tyre shortages.

The cynical man in the pub might suspect that, with prices held high by unrequited demand, tyre producers have little incentive to ramp up production.

His mates might argue that manufacturers have simply failed to anticipate and plan for demand.

However, it is more likely that the exponential growth in vehicle ownership is simply outstripping the availability of key materials, eg steel cord, carbon black and, most importantly, raw rubber.

Since there is only so much rubber a tree can produce, there is a limit to how many rubber trees the planet can support and it is questionable as to how much synthetics can take up the slack. Australian quarrymen and miners would be well advised to predicate production planning on the assumption that tyre shortages will be a fact of life for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, given the trend towards increasingly larger and more cost-effective loaders and trucks that require hand-built tyres, the wait time for large earthmover tyres can only grow longer.

This is not cheering news for those mines contracted to deliver increasing tonnages, on time, to a resource hungry world.
Despite the economic turmoil, demand for minerals remains on a high and, if Australian quarries and mines are to fulfil supply obligations, they will need to apply the same doughty resourcefulness that has seen them through the recent climatic challenges.

A few quarries and mines might be able to switch to BWEs and others could adopt relays of tracked conveyors but, even then, there will still be a role for wheeled loaders and, for those mines that require optimum flexibility, there is no viable alternative to truck and shovel obliging plant managers to look for ways to ensure their tyres last longer.

Manufacturing your own tyres is not on, nor is wrapping your tyres in bubble wrap. Re-treads and repairs may offer short-term fixes but, in the end, as many Australian mines have already discovered, tyre protection chains (TPCs) offer a reliable, long-term solution.


TPCs were once considered applicable only to hard rock mines and quarries, but, nowadays when there is a TPC to suit virtually every environment and every machine, many Australian operators ? open-pit and underground ? regard TPCs as an essential accessory.

TPCs not only ensure that new tyres retain their physical integrity and last two to three times longer, but also bring part-worn tyres out of retirement and, in heavy clay or icy conditions, provide sure-footed traction.

Furthermore, by ensuring greater plant availability, high quality TPCs have been shown to drive down costs by significant dollars per delivered tonne.

Where abrasive surfaces cause excessive or rapid tread wear, a hard-wearing link such as the RUD-Erlau Fels Granit Plus X22 will reduce the rub.

Where sidewall damage from sharp flints or slate is an ever-present danger, a set of the dense-meshed Fels Toro X19 will deflect piercing points and counter cutting edges.

If clay or ice makes handling difficult, open mesh round chain or a toothed, ground engaging link such as the Garant Imperial X18 are ideal for safer, stress-free working.

When choosing TPCs, it is tempting to self-fit cheap lookalikes but experience shows that it is advisable to invest in TPCs with a known pedigree that won?t let you down.

No site is the same, so calling in a TPC expert such as RUD Australia will ensure you fit the most successful combination of protection and traction.

Having pioneered tyre protection chains some 70 years ago and constantly developed designs since then, RUD-Erlau has become the TPC brand leader with over 65 per cent of the world market.

RUD-Erlau has invested millions in state of the art production facilities and developed advanced alloys that promise tougher, longer lasting, lightweight, energy-saving links which, when installed, serviced and supported by RUD trained specialists, significantly drive down maintenance costs, fuel costs and increase plant availability.

RUD has chains to protect any size tyre ? up to the world?s largest ? in the toughest site conditions, including scorching, abrasive, punishing steel slag and scrap metal.

For added assurance, every set of TPCs is delivered fully tested and stamped and tagged with RUD?s unique, quality control batch number.
Whether the tyre shortage is an aberration or here to stay, it makes sound economics to protect your investment, raise productivity and improve your bottom line with a quality set of TPCs.

In Australia, RUD is a leader in the TPC market with sales and service branches in Brisbane, Perth and Newcastle.

Source: RUD Chains Pty Ltd/MSS

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