"With predictive maintenance tools being able to take all aspects, even seasons, into account, the system also helps clients with forecasting inventory."
What were some of the main themes impacting on Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group business over the past 18 months?
The pandemic created a tremendous amount of uncertainty, but Kal Tire continued to move forward in the face of the unknown to bring value to our customers. We successfully adapted to the situation and adjusted our workforce, products and supply where required. In addition, the floods and road closures in British Columbia had a significant impact on our business but we were able to ensure our customers had the tires they required. Our team has done a tremendous job in working around challenges and disruptions and we are proud of not letting any of our customers down in these difficult times.
Can you elaborate on your Tire Operations Management System (TOMS) and how it helps clients in their operations?
TOMS is the backbone of our operations. TOMS is a planning and maintenance system that increases uptime, performance and safety. With a focus on fleet productivity and accessible, near-live reports it enables planning and informed decision making for both today’s work plan and the road ahead. The system brings the visibility that is needed to focus on planned and predictive maintenance, which results in improved tire life, safety and productivity. Teams are connected with instant, visual communication that allows everyone to be on the same page, working toward greater uptime. TOMS allows for real-time data capture which drives meaningful fleet inspection reports as inspectors can instantly capture and share tire data and can discuss how to best schedule required tire work. With predictive maintenance tools being able to take all aspects, even seasons, into account, the system also helps clients with forecasting inventory. Kal Tire is working on implementing technologies that will make the system more automated in terms of data capturing so that technicians can actually spend their time on changing and maintaining tires instead of manually entering data into a system.
Can you speak about what Kal Tire is doing to support client’s sustainability goals?
Kal Tire has been retreading mining tires in Canada for more than 40 years. The company’s retreading and repair capabilities give mining tires a second or even third life, allowing clients to enjoy the performance of new tires at a fraction of the cost. Last year, we actually installed a repair facility on a client’s mine site in order to reduce turnaround time and the environmental impact of transportation. Retreading and repair also helps our clients achieve environmental targets and recognition through our unique Maple Program where our third-party verified carbon calculator provides clients with quantified data related to the fuel and carbon emissions saved in the retreading and repair process.
We have also established a thermal conversion recycling plant in Chile that contributes to our commitment in helping customers achieve sustainability with their tires at every stage of the journey, including end of life. This facility has the capability to recycle 20 tonnes of tires per day, allowing for scrap tires to potentially return to mines as alternative fuels. Thermal conversion decomposes organic materials with heat in the absence of oxygen, converting tires back to their original components of fuel oil, carbon black and steel.
Can you speak about Kal Tire’s safety innovations?
Kal Tire’s investment in innovation focuses on practical solutions that make our front-line technicians safer, while bringing productivity gains to our customers. For example, we have developed a Gravity Assist System (GAS), which is a mechanical arm that supports the weight of heavy tools when mounting tires. The GAS not only increases efficiency but also safety due to reducing the risk for pinched fingers, fatigue and strain. Other tools we’ve created and deployed include things like Ram Mounts to assist in breaking the bead when dismounting a tire. An Air Valve Protector to avoid tire leaks and vehicle downtime due to rocks displacing the air valve. A new tool in development is a magnet clamp which allows tire technicians to safely perform the last and most dangerous step of removing an OTR tire and wheel assembly as a remote-controlled clamp secures and then releases the last two-wheel bolts.