The importance of big data and its value to business growth and profitability is best summed up by Thomas C. Redman, also known as the Data Doc, in his quote: “Where there is data smoke, there is business fire.”
Mining tyre service provider and supplier Kal Tire, which has at its disposal massive tracts of tyre-related data, explains that there is growing interest in and opportunities offered by big data, including the opportunity to benchmark product and operational performance as never before.
Given the exorbitant cost of off-the-road tyres (OTR), big data offers mining houses, in particular, opportunities to reduce costs, lift productivity and improve safety, states Mark Goode, director of business insights at Kal Tire.
“We realised early on that tyre performance data collected from equipment via odometers was done so in silos and that we were tracking tyre performance on a site-by-site basis. Following the roll-out of our Tyre Operations Management System (TOMS) was the realisation that data collected from opencast and underground operations using the common language inherent in the system could be used to benchmark operational and tyre performance against similar applications. In so doing we can compare site and product performance on a like-by-like basis and apply appropriate benchmarking criteria and key performance indicators.
“Until now, tyre management reporting and performance tracking has been constructed around a monthly report for the mine operator which contains a lot of data that looks largely at historical figures and lagging indicators for performance: inventory, consumption, past repairs and observed conditions. The data allows for review but provides limited underpinning to look forward and affect existing and future performance.
“TOMS allows mine operators the opportunity to analyse and make decisions for their tyres and fleets using real-time performance data.
“With current information, decisions for today’s shifts and future shifts are readily integrated into work plans and schedules. With TOMS, we look at making tyre management more of a proactive and predictive service, like much of the mobile equipment maintenance activities on any mine,” the company explains.
The benefits of TOMS to miners are significant, including gaining real-time insight that lets technicians and miners alike make informed decisions for that day’s shift.
Given that Kal Tire services more than 150 mine sites around the world, it realised the need for a common tyre language. A single standardised language well understood across all Kal Tire entities/customers allows for the potential of data sharing and the subsequent unlocking of benefits, including benchmarking opportunities.
“Once a common language is established, teams have the ability to leverage off the data set and compare performance benchmarks, and focus on predictive maintenance and productivity,” explains Goode.
“Using aggregated data from around the world, Kal Tire looks to benchmark results for tyre performance, downtime, haul fleet productivity and more to identify opportunities to improve fleet use.”
Kal Tire currently manages and monitors around $10-billion worth of different truck and tyre types across open-pit and underground mining operations and with access to extensive data, it is well positioned to benchmark tyre performance across various mining operations, Goode explains.
The key focus areas in 2019 as related to TOMS include:
■ Automation of meter data capturing – dispatch data autonomously from client systems to TOMS.
■ Adoption of smart tools, e.g. tread depth readers and torque guns to collect data automatically.
■ Testing and roll-out of mobile fleet inspection data collection.
Aggressive roll-out of TOMS in 2019
Launched in 2018, TOMS is already in use on 50 open-pit and underground mines across 12 countries and focuses on planning, predicting and prescribing maintenance rather than simply reporting on past activity, says Goode.
“Our intentions are to double the amount of mine sites using TOMS in the year ahead.”
An aggressive plan for the roll-out of TOMS in 2019/2020 is on the cards, including additional opencast sites in all the Southern Africa countries, as well as mines in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, says John Martin, Kal Tire’s vice president for Southern Africa.
“We are looking to increase the roll-out of TOMS from 50 to 100 sites globally (primarily in Latin America and Australia) as well as doubling the roll-out from five sites to 10 sites in Southern Africa.”
Martin says the adoption of TOMS in Mozambique over the past three years has reaped handsome rewards for the client, including savings totalling millions of dollars through improved tyre performance, operational efficiency and machine uptime.
Further time savings have been realised through scheduling equipment maintenance and tyre maintenance together. This has resulted in reduced equipment downtime and productivity uptime.
The adoption of TOMS has seen a shift from monthly conversations with clients to weekly meetings focused on an integrated maintenance and solutions offering.
“The return on investment could potentially be immediate, given that TOMS allows for real-time decision making. By virtue of real-time information clients are able to save money and time – this is especially applicable in large open-pit operations, where saving just one ultra-large class 57- or 63-inch tyre from irreparable damage could realise a saving in the region of around US$40 000,” says Martin.
In line with seeking out new opportunities, Kal Tire is pursuing additional opportunities with potential clients throughout the Southern African region, including operations in countries such as Botswana.
OTR market set for explosive growth
Market research store Research and Markets has predicted that the OTR market will reach an estimated worth of $26bn by 2023.
The reasons cited for this growth are:
■ A growing number of infrastructure development projects worldwide.
■ The mechanisation of the farming sector.
■ An increase in adoption of equipment in the mining industry.
Other key factors that would positively influence the global OTR tyre market include technological advancements, expanding distributor and dealership networks, rising adoption of radial tyres and increasing penetration of Chinese tyres.