In a 2006 interview with Rud, International Mining Magazine points out some of the advantages of using chains:
“….’tyre protection chains (TPCs) will assure production commitments and your peace of mind for years to come.’ TPCs were first developed in the 1950s by the RUD-Erlau Group to meet the needs of the wheel loader. Over the ensuing years, a
philosophy of on-going product development has honed this derivative of the anti-skid snow chain. RUD-Erlau says its TPCs are
‘truly state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose costeffective aids to mineral production.’ Where traction and maneuverability is a problem, open-mesh TPCs grip the road surface, ensuring sure-footed operation and eliminating danger to personnel and property and reducing driver fatigue. These TPCs have proved their worth on wheel loaders, dozers, motor graders and trucks in locations ranging from logging to clayey underground coal mine drifts and winter conditions at high altitudes.
In relatively dry conditions TPCs offer varying degrees of protection to match the environment. Stockpiling operations may require the light touch of RUD-Erlauâ€™s open-mesh ring system. While closemeshed, case-hardened TPCs with full side wall protection enable loaders of all sizes to operate with greater tyre protection in the most extreme mining conditions. In fact, the
protection is so effective that loaders fitted with TPCs even run safely on hot slag.
While, until recently, TPCs were mainly considered for conditions where poor traction, high abrasion or tyre piercing rocks were serious problems, RUD-Erlau says ‘more and more operators are discovering that fitting TPCs makes financial sense in a much wider range of off-road mining applications. A one-off investment in a set of TPCs will extend the life of part-worn tyres indefinitely. And the cost advantages donâ€™t stop there. Apart from scheduling a couple of hours, every now and then, for
inspections and chain tensioning, loaders and trucks will be fully available and delivering on schedule.’
In one example, a Caterpillar 988B loader running on 36/65-33 DT tyres in a German limestone mine was getting through a set
every 1,200 hours at a cost to the operator of $37,615 per set or $31.35/h. For an investment of $56,200 the company
fitted a set of RUD-Erlau FELS Royal X16 TPCs which extended the tyre life to 12,000 hours and reduced tyre costs to $3.13 per operatinghour. Factoring in a conservative chain life of 10,000 hours ($5.62/h) the total hourly cost dropped to $8.75 â€“ a saving of $22.60 (72%).
Productivity also showed significant improvements. Loading rate increased by 16% from 550 to 630 t/h. Downtime dropped from 160 hours per year (h/y) for tyre repairs to 36 h/y for chain servicing, increasing loader availability by 124 hours (78%). Before fitting the chains the 988Bâ€™s annual output had been 1.012 Mt. Following installation of the TPCs 1.253 Mt was achieved â€“ an increase of just under 24%. With no two operations the same it is important to fit the right TPCs for optimum efficiency so
the first step is to contact a supplier like RUDErlau, which has TPCs in over 75 different countries supported by an international sales team and a wide service network.”
With today’s OTR tire supply crisis chains are another possibility to help operations keep their loaders running!