B&D Manufacturing has announced the sale of two tire handlers to Vale’s Carajás Mine in northern Brazil, the largest iron ore mine in the world.
The THS-40-D tire handlers are purpose built for safely and efficiently removing and installing tires of up to 159 inches in diameter on ultra class haul trucks. With the rims, tires of this size weigh up to 10 tons.
The Sudbury-based company designs and manufactures a full line of purpose built equipment, including super jacks, wheel motor handlers and swing shift changers, for servicing the largest open pit trucks and shovels in the world,
The tire handler is a rugged, versatile machine capable of picking up a tire from the ground and precisely positioning it for installation. It can be remotely operated by one person using joysticks and is capable of seven axis of motion, notes new product development manager Marc Gregoire.
It can drive forward, reverse and sideways, spin on itself, or crab crawl left or right. The equally versatile work deck can be moved up, down and sideways, tilts forward and back, and can rotate a tire to line up the rim with the wheel lugnuts.
The B&D tire handler is designed for use in an indoor shop environment with limited workspace. Only 20 feet wide and 15 feet deep, it can be easily operated in garage aisle ways, leaving work bays on either side available for truck maintenance.
“It’s so important because changing these tires is one of the most accident prone practices in the entire mining industry,” said B&D global sales manager Scott Whelan. “It takes the man out of harm’s way.”
The purpose-built B&D tire handler is far safer and more efficient than using a forklift with a clamp attachment, according to Gregoire.
“With a forklift, you need an operator in the cab and two men to help steer. Using our tire handler, one operator using joysticks is free to walk around and line up the wheel. It’s also three times faster.”
Also appealing to customers is the tire handler’s energy efficient 40 horsepower diesel over hydraulics power source, which produces fewer emissions than conventional equipment using engines of a couple hundred horsepower, said Gregoire.
The sale was made directly through Vale’s head office in Brazil, which could facilitate additional sales in future. B&D’s presence in Sudbury, where it’s well known and highly regarded by local Vale personnel was helpful because they were contacted for a reference, said Whelan,
B&D estimates it has 80 pieces of equipment in operation around the world, including sales to Chile, Peru, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in North Africa. Domestically, it has made sales to Detour Gold in Northern Ontario and to companies operating in the oil sands in Alberta. It also has an order for a wheel motor handler to serve New Gold’s haul truck fleet at its Rainy River Mine in northwestern Ontario.
While some Sudbury-area mining suppliers are feeling the effects of the prolonged slump in commodity prices, B&D is firing on all cylinders.
“We have five multi handlers on the shop floor now,” said production manager Ryan Kitchen.
“The amount of work orders, the amount of material and the co-ordination that’s required is unbelievable. Everybody at B&D has a role to play in the manufacture of these machines – from procurement and engineering to shipping, receiving and tradesmen. It’s a real team effort to get something like this done.”
Gregoire is optimistic about mining companies continuing to make the transition to purpose-built equipment for servicing haul trucks and shovels.
“The old-school guys who have been doing the job for 35 to 40 years using blocking and forklifts are harder to persuade to try something new, but the younger generation is more technically inclined and accepting of new technology,” he said.
“I think we’re going to see the opportunities increase. I don’t know if it’s going to be exponential or not, but I’m optimistic, especially because of the increased safety associated with using this kind of equipment.”
This story originally appeared in the December, 2016, issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal.