GKN Wheels, known for its solutions-led approach to product research and development, has successfully addressed a current issue facing customers in the global mining industry, launching a new system known in the industry as ‘Bigfoot’
Mining Rims ‘Bigfoot’ System
Mining operations around the globe are facing tyre shortages, specifically on the widely used 57” size. GKN Wheels developed an innovative system to allow a 63” rim assembly to be adapted to a 57” hub – this allows mining operators to retrofit the larger, more readily available 63” tyre onto haul trucks that would normally use the 57” tyres. Working with Caterpillar, GKN installed the system on the Unit Rig MT4400 haul truck.
Australian-based Downer Mining created the Bigfoot concept to alleviate the risk of short supply in the standard tyre size for the 240t haul truck. In order to take the project from concept to solution, Downer Mining approached GKN Wheels.
GKN Wheels’ North American Technical team collaborated with Caterpillar Unit Rig engineers to develop a solution that adapts to the truck without interfering with the standard components of the Unit Rig MT4400 haul truck. The technical engineering work for the rim arrangements was carried out at GKN’s dedicated Technical Centre in the US (Chicago, Illinois).
The products were manufactured at GKN’s facility in China and are used by Downer Mining at a mining operation in Western Australia.
GKN’s expertise in design and development has been critical in the development of the ‘Bigfoot’ program.
Aaron Dahl, Chief Engineer, America, at GKN Wheels comments: “The development of the ‘Bigfoot’ program highlights our focus on innovation and problem-solving capabilities. We have provided an effective solution to the current challenges of tyre availability in the mining sector. Our world-leading engineering expertise and in-house test capabilities make us perfectly placed to react to industry challenges just like this one. GKN Wheels is proud to continually deliver dedicated products and solutions that meet the demands of our customers.”
GKN is increasingly expanding its capability within the mining market, which includes its ‘Swift Wheel Technologies’ range.