Underground » Maintenance
The coal industry was keen to find an alternative to using solid wheels on loaders used in harsh mining conditions where pneumatic tyres were unsuitable. To that end Big Tyre researched what could be done to develop a mechanically suspended tyre.
After significant materials research and testing, two prototype wheels were built and tested; the first of which proved the proposed concept well but failed to achieve the targeted design loads, the second prototype overcame this and proved to be extremely strong whilst also providing a very even ground pressure that was better than both solid and pneumatic tyres. This second prototype also very successfully underwent stability testing and trials on an Eimco 913 underground at Myuna Colliery however it proved to have a greater rolling resistance than other tyre alternatives, was stiffer in a lateral direction and ultimately proved too expensive to be commercially viable. At the time of this project being completed, Big Tyre is working on the design of a third prototype that has major advantages over the previous two. By relaxing one of the original design criteria, significant changes have been incorporated that improve the wheel's operating characteristics and make it more likely to become commercially viable.