Specialized Maintenance Equipment reduces tyre jacking risks

Specialized Maintenance Equipment (SME) has alleviated the safety and productivity risks of ultra-class tyre maintenance with the development of a heavy-duty jacking system.

SME, a subsidiary of Nordic Minesteel Technologies, has removed the necessity for tyre technicians to manually drag heavy jacks and multiple safety stands under ultra-class haul trucks during maintenance.

The company has introduced a remote-operated, battery-powered truck jacking system called the Titan220e that can lift and secure the complete front or rear axle of the world’s largest haul trucks.

Titan220e incorporates an all-in-one truck jack, safety stand and work platform that can be used for the 240-400 ton (218-363 tonne) class haul  trucks.

“The Titan220e is a technologically advanced machine,” Nordic Minesteel’s global product and innovation manager Wayne Desormeau tells Safe to Work.

“Mining haul trucks keep getting bigger and bigger, so our equipment needs to catch up with the trucks of today, and that’s what Titan220e does.

“You can drive in this equipment, lift your truck, lock it in place within seven minutes, versus the 45 minutes to an hour that’s usually taken to perform this type of work.”

By saving an average of one hour per lift on a two-point lift, mine operators stand to gain from greater uptime and truck availability.

Workers are also removed from the line of fire and protected from the high risks of getting sprains, strains or pinched from using traditional jacks and safety stands.

The jack’s use of battery power also provides greater worker health and environmental benefits to a mine operation, as it can be used in workshops without emitting fumes like diesel-powered equipment.

It is also equipped with mechanical locking arms so technicians can visually confirm that the Titan220e is locked in place and the truck is supported, instead of relying on clumsy internal locking features.

“The other thing is, when you lift the truck with our system, the complete front or rear axle comes to a level position that makes it easier for the tyre technician to introduce the lateral load from a tyre handler. They can do a straight pull, instead of lying up equipment on an angle,” Desormeau says.

With over 35 years’ experience providing custom solutions for the global mining industry, the Titan220e has evolved with a base of knowledge from past projects and concerns brought forward from customers.

As a subsidiary of Nordic Minesteel Technologies, SME had the opportunity to collaborate with a team from different cultures, experience and educational backgrounds. This has proven to be a driving force that led SME to develop outside the box solutions, benefitting safety, productivity and the environment.

In 2017, two diesel prototypes were developed and sent to be tested at mine sites in the high-altitude mountains of Latin America.

With feedback from those models, the battery version of the Titan220e was produced and tested at haul truck proving grounds in Arizona in the United States.

Desormeau says the introduction of Titan220e is timely for the mining industry, which is embracing greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“This equipment removes the limitations of needing only big guys to perform such a physically demanding job. Even they can get hurt,” he says.

With mine operators slowly transitioning to remote work, SME has also introduced the capability to perform remote diagnostics on Titan220e when required.

Its North American team is trained to diagnose and troubleshoot the equipment wherever it is in the world as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection.

“Everyone has to adapt and do things differently, including Specialized Maintenance Equipment, during this global pandemic,” Desormeau says.

“We can perform a software update and respond to any enquiries on technical abilities, warranties or even a request for an upgrade remotely.”

This includes unique requests such as a customising the control panel of Titan220e, which SME provided instantly to a South American mining company last year.

The company has also developed video training that guides the use of Titan220e, enabling operators to be trained anywhere in the world.

Nordic Minesteel’s marketing coordinator Heather Johnston says the Titan220e has received positive feedback from mining companies.

“A lot of our customers are excited to receive a battery powered, remote operated solution that lets them keep up with larger trucks,” she says.

“It also promotes equal opportunity in that it doesn’t matter your size, age or physical ability, you can use the remote control to operate the system and perform your job.”

This feature also appears in the January-February edition of Safe to Work.