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Placing emphasis on wheel inspections

By |  January 15, 2018

Inflation pressure is one data point fleet managers can capture via software programs. Photos courtesy of Two Rivers Marketing

Wheel maintenance often takes a back seat to tire maintenance, but fleet managers should realize wheels are equally as important.

A set of tires is only as good as the wheel assembly on which it’s safely mounted, and aggregate producers should never be tempted to mix and match components or make a guess if something will fit correctly.

Without the proper wheel and components, wheels and tires are put at risk but so is the safety of the operator. Here’s what you should inspect to ensure you aren’t risking the chance of downtime – saving you time and money in the long run.

Daily walk-around

A daily machine inspection should include observing the overall profile of the tire and wheel configuration. This means looking for any signs of corrosion and examining component parts such as rims, flanges, lock rings and driver keys.

It is also important to look at the valve stem, caps and core. If any part of the valve is malfunctioning, there is potential to lose air pressure.

Full inspection

Photo courtesy of Two Rivers Marketing

When rotating tires, review the wheel and components you aren’t able to see from the outside.

However, not all components of the wheel and tire can be seen during a walk-around. Because of this, a good rule of thumb is to pull the wheel off at or around 10,000 hours to ensure there are no issues with your setup.

Or, when you are rotating tires or installing new, take a few extra minutes to review the wheel and components you aren’t able to see from the outside.

A service technician should always re-torque the wheel after running the machine for a cycle to ensure all components are secure. Nuts and studs should be inspected, and wheel flanges may need to be buffed if any sharp edges are prone to sticking the tire.

Also, the wheel manufacturer should provide a check sheet with specs, and if a gutter section falls outside the spec, the wheel needs to be replaced. If a replacement is needed, it may be time to evaluate an alternative wheel design.

Managing assets

Fleets can utilize software programs to keep an inventory of the condition and inspection data for every tire and wheel in service at a quarry, including everything from inflation pressures and tread depths on the most recent inspections of every tire in the fleet.

Ultimately, by staying on top of this data, the tire dealer can track each tire and wheel’s lifetime cost of operation.

By incorporating wheels into a tire management plan and thoroughly tracking it through your tire dealer’s software, the fleet manager will be able to see the cost per hour of every tire in the fleet decrease over time, thus providing a positive impact to the quarry owner’s bottom line. That’s only possible, however, if the fleet manager is willing to look at tires and wheels as assets, rather than commodities.

Johni Francis is global OTR product manager at Titan International, overseeing R&D, design and the introduction of the company’s off-the-road tires for construction and mining.

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