Trucks operating in surface mines weigh 200 tonnes and carry loads twice that. These machines work under demanding conditions, and the slightest problem can be a logistical nightmare – when a tyre needs changing, it can often take more than eight hours to swap over the four metre tall, five tonne rubber.
Michelin has already delivered several innovations to the mining segment, including TPMS, and now the tyre maker is introducing what it calls the “communicating tyre” – its MEMS (Michelin Earthmover Management System) Evolution3. The French company reports that it designed the sensors and analytic software for MEMS Evolution 3 itself; the system utilises two types of sensor, conventional sensors and sensors for water-ballasted tyres with additives, isolated in a capsule filled with an inert liquid.
When using MEMS Evolution3, each tyre can be monitored through a unique identifier, which allows analysis throughout its entire life. Real time temperature and pressure data can be seen and recorded, enabling operators to respond to any issue. Data is transferred via 3G or Ethernet.
“Michelin MEMS Evolution3 provides immediate operational gains for surface mine operators. Thanks to their ongoing connectivity to the system, tyres equipped with MEMS Evolution3 are able to continuously inform operators about their temperature and pressure conditions,” reports the tyre maker. “Thus, slow pressure losses are detected and downtime can be anticipated and avoided. Temperature increases are reported, which allows operators to change itineraries in real time. If needed, maintenance operations are also more easily foreseen. The effective running time of the trucks is thus increased.”
MEMS Evolution3 also comes with a complete range of services: Michelin states that MEMS engineers are present in geographical areas where equipped machinery operates.
“MEMS Evolution3 enables mine operators to enter a virtuous circle: increase safety, increase the life of the tyres, reduce costs and increase mine productivity,” concludes Michelin.