Pedro Pacheco
Director of Latin American Operations
Kal Tire

New Approach to Tire Supply

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:41

Kal Tire is not trying to reinvent the wheel but it does want to change perceptions about the tires around them, particularly in mining. Pedro Pacheco, Vice President Latin America of Canada-based Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, says there is a great opportunity to increase tire performance and reduce cost per hour.
“Most miners dispose of their tires well before they reach the end of their lifespan,” he says. “Our added value is to help companies use the whole service life of their tires.” Pacheco compares a tire with a new car that is sold five years after purchase when it could last up to 10 years.
OTR Tires are usually designed to endure up to 10,000 hours but are only being used from 6,000 to 7,000 hours. “The key is in the service and how the owner maintains the tire,” he says. “If we buy, install and take care of a tire from the first day, it will last. Kal Tire provides these tire management services along with retreading services.”
The retreading or refurbishment of tires can make them like new. “When focusing on the total lifespan of a tire, retreading has great benefits,” Pacheco says, adding that technology is the key element in a successful retreading. “The refurbishment must be done in a modern plant with world-class technology,” he says.
Kal Tire has five earthmover retreading plants: two in Canada, one in the UK, one in Ghana and another one in Chile. Their sixth plant opened in Mexico in the summer of 2019. Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group is a leader in mining tire service and supply, servicing more than 150 mine sites across five continents. “We are a one-stop shop for mining tires and we are an independent tire dealer,” Pacheco says. “The future that we foresee is not about selling tires but guaranteeing our clients a certain cost per ton or per hour,” he adds.
This approach centers on its service model called Cost per Millimeter, in which it retains ownership of the tires and takes care of inventory and tire management through a service contract with its client. Mining companies can benefit from this new model. At the end of the service life, the tire becomes the property of the client.
Kal Tire’s goal is ambitious: to revolutionize the business model of industrial tire companies. “We aim to give our clients a lower final cost by translating the expense of our products into productivity and efficiency,” Pacheco says. “There are cheaper tire options in the market but they provide lower performance.
Performance, in this case, means number of downtimes, the number of tons moved at the mine site and the productivity of the operation.” Pacheco adds that using Tier I tires can increase tire operating efficiency by 20-35 percent.
But revolutionizing this particular business model is not just about expanding a tire’s lifespan; disposal and recycling are also necessary. Kal Tire has been researching the treatment of tire waste in mining for many years, as their size makes them hard to process.
“We are building a pyrolysis plant in Chile to achieve thermal conversion of the tire. The biggest tire that we offer weighs 5 tons and has a 4m diameter. This process cuts the tire in pieces and puts them into a vacuum reactor that degrades the tire with no combustion, in 24 hours only by using heat,” Pacheco says.
The steel from the tires is easily recycled and lastly the synthetic gas is used to provide the energy to operate the plant which makes the whole process net energy positive. “But for such a project to be feasible, it must be paid by the processed ton because just selling the final products is not profitable enough,” he says.
“The user must pay a cost to process the tire disposal.” In Mexico, there is no policy regarding how to dispose of mining tires. “Miners store their old tires in authorized areas and this is an issue because the country has over 50,000 tires over a 3m diameter waiting for something to be done with them,” Pacheco says.