Thiess Assets Operations team recently designed, engineered, and trialled an innovative nylon cleat that it says will significantly reduce the mining tyre manual handling risk for the business tyre fitters and benefit the industry. Mechanical Engineer and Tyre Supervisor, Aaron Nicoll, and Tyre Fitter, Mick Allen, led the design of the light-weight nylon cleats which act as a rim seating tool to replace heavy, conventional steel cleats that are used during the rim fitment process on off-highway mining trucks.
The nylon cleats, which we believe are an industry first, address the weight and application constraints that create the manual handling risk, Nicoll said. Instead of fitting a steel cleat weighing 31 kg on the Hitachi EH4000s awkwardly from a step ladder, our tyre fitters can use nylon cleats weighing only 5.8 kg during the initial seating of the rim. That 25 kg weight reduction makes an immediate difference in both handling and fitting which improves safety outcomes, reduces complexity of the task and increases efficiency.
Allen brought the concept to light when discussions with a wide range of OEMs, industry suppliers and content experts for a suitable off the shelf solution could not be found. The cleats were trialled in June 2021 at QCoal Northern Hub on the Hitachi EH4000 mining truck following a 12-month collaboration with plastics manufacturer, National Plastics. During the rim fitment process, nylon cleats are evenly spaced around the rim to secure it to the truck. While jacked up, OEM steel cleats are progressively fitted to the rim as the tyre is rotated around. This allows two people to safely lift the cleats and fit them around the bottom face of the rim, removing the need to lift steel cleats above head height.
The trial proved successful, and with the concept now proven, the cleats can be engineered and manufactured to to suit other equipment models across Thiess sites globally and shared with industry. Assets Operations Manager Nicholas Dare said National Plastics would offer the rim seating tool as part of their after sales service for similar asset classes to the Hitachi used on the trial. Theres scope outside of mining to apply these cleats to other tyre types and thats where the safety and efficiency benefits can really take hold and demonstrate our commitment as responsible and client-focused business. Collaboration is key and at Thiess, were always looking for ways to create lasting value and ensure our people are safe, every day.