By Greg Fenrick

Unless you were stranded on a desert island over the last few years, everyone involved in mining operations has been scrambling around looking for OTR tires, as manufacturers such as Michelin and Goodyear have tried, but failed to meet demand. Many have turned to retreads, but Asian manufacturers have been only too happy to help ease this demand with cheap tires for those willing to pay a little more than they would for retreads. Manufacturers such as Michelin are worried about Asian tire-making competitors, however, in discussions with tire dealers, it typically takes 2-3 Asian tires to equal one made by one of the main manufacturers. I’m sure this has helped by giving some buyers hesitation, but this situation has been a windfall for Asian manufacturers. On the Asian B2B marketplace, Alibaba, search for the keywords OTR manufacturers, returns hundreds of manufacturers of OTR and related products in Asia.

To stay competitive, companies like Michelin have worked hard to reduce their labour costs to 20% of total production cost. This has helped, however, it takes more than lower labour costs to keep their customers. Michelin has totally redesigned their radial tire architecture with innovative chemical compounding; new tread design and tread-depth solutions that match their customers E3 and E4 environments. As well, Michelin has developed a new tire-monitoring tool called MEMS (Michelin Earthmover Management System). The MEMS is a tire monitoring system that provides real-time data on tire air pressure and temperature. MEMS uses a computer chip in the air chamber of the tire to transmit critical performance information to your operations control room. Designed to improve productivity, optimize performance and reduce overall costs, MEMS alerts you when there is a change in air pressure or internal temperature of tires in service. Benefits of this system include:

  • Increased tire life,
  • Reduced flats, punctures, and tears,
  • Maximize traction and performance, and
  • Provide stability and operator comfort.

Visit Michelin’s website to find out more about their OTR tires and underground tire offerings.

Bridgestone/Firestone has responded similarly by developing computer-aided design, which has developed into Grand Unified Tire design Technology (GUTT®). This automatic tire simulation and design method has changed the conventional approach to tire construction and simplified tire development processes. In the category of off-the-road tires, GUTT® has greatly contributed to the design and manufacture of extremely durable tires, as well as helped shorten the development term for new tires.

Other radial OTR manufacturers include:

Radial tires aren’t the only type of OTR used in mining. One interesting option to radial OTR are solid tires, like those offered by AirBoss Tires. Instead of air keeping these tires inflated, they provide cushioning through apertures between the tread of the tire and the rim, as shown below.

AirBoss Tires describes their unique tires as follows:

“SolidBoss aperture hole full depth solids offer long wear and soft ride. SolidBoss aperture tires offer one of the lowest cost per hour averages of all of the major solid tire brands while providing a cushioning ride for man and machine. With SolidBoss you can rest assured that your company will be running the most cost- efficient tires available.”

Looking for more OTR manufacturers and dealers worldwide servicing the mining industry, check out InfoMine’s Buyer’s Guide. Below is a list of links by region.

Or if you prefer, a comprehensive list of OTR tire manufacturers and dealers is also available.

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