The team at BMA's Saraji mine looked at ways to reduce the potential exposure and risk to tyre fitters when working in and around tyres, as tyre assemblies can weigh up to 15t.
Jarrod Layton, superintendent mods and ops projects in the Saraji Engineering team, said that prior to a recent tyre replacement, a commitment was made to the site leadership team to challenge the existing mindset around tyre handlers for heavy earth-moving equipment.
"A key part of this project was changing our way of thinking around tyre handling. We spent a lot of time engaging our teams and looking for opportunities to increase not only the safety and productivity of our processes, but also the culture that surrounds these types of activities," Layton said.
The team investigated a range of options and consulted the market, where they found Hedweld's TH 15000 tyre handler - a device that removes tyre fitters from the direct line of fire and safely secures the tyre in place during changes. The device also features a jib arm to support the weight of the rattle gun that is required to remove the wheel nuts.
Using Bluetooth technology, the device is remote-controlled to give the operator improved visibility when aligning the device with the tyre and removes the need for any manual handling of the product.
"As the size of mining equipment grows, traditional methods for handling tyres becomes more hazardous and time consuming," Layton said.
"Traditionally, tyres are moved by equipment such as loaders and forklifts and requires at least two fitters to operate. These items, however, have limitations due to their size, manoeuvrability and safety. A number of incidents occur within the mining industry every year involving tyre handling."
The device also allows all bays in the workshop to be better utilised, as well as reducing the number of people required for tyre handling. In turn, this allows for a higher availability of the wheeled tyre fleets.