Leading mining tire supply and management partner, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, and computer vision specialist Pitcrew AI, have formed an agreement that will bring mines autonomous detection of hot tires, tire separations and other tire and mechanical damage anytime, anywhere and without the vehicle needing to stop.
With any inspection anomalies automatically transmitted into TOMS, Kal Tire’s proprietary Tire Operations Management System, the integration between Pitcrew and TOMS enables action and decision-making that will further enhance fleet productivity and safety.
“Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) can give a strong picture of what’s happening inside the tire, but so much that can indicate the potential for tire failure happens outside the tire. We knew if we wanted to give customers the ability to make better operational decisions and be a part of the future of autonomous mining, we would need to add external telematics to the mix,” says Dan Allan, senior vice president, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group. “Pitcrew’s AI, and their vision for the technology, supports our goal of solving customer challenges in practical, impactful ways.”
“Autonomous inspection will be a requirement for the autonomous fleets of the future. Kal Tire is a recognized leader in mining tire management and have an expansive footprint across five continents. Our partnership with Kal Tire will increase access to diverse site operational conditions and accelerate the maturation of Pitcrew AI inspection technologies. We are thrilled to partner with a tech forward organization like Kal Tire and we’re excited about upcoming developments that the partnership enables,” says Tim Snell, managing director of Pitcrew AI.
The automated inspection stations monitor front and rear tires of mining trucks passing by. The AI software searches the thermal imaging video footage for anomalies such as hot spots, belt edge and tread separations and other mechanical problems. These findings are reported into TOMS. The system then automates inspection work orders as part of a self-reinforcing feedback loop and then schedules tire change work as necessary based on damage severity.
“We are really excited by the potential of what we might find when we combine the Pitcrew data with TPMS and our other data streams. Together, these tools bring incredibly valuable information about how the tires are performing and we intend to build predictive models that will enable Kal Tire and our customers to make better and earlier decisions about preventive tire repair or replacement, and that will have a significant impact on driving haul truck productivity and safety,” says Christian Erdélyi, TOMS system & implementation manager global, Kal Tire. “The autonomous nature of Pitcrew AI and data collected enables our site teams to focus on their expertise and work more efficiently. It doesn’t replace our people, it directly supports and enhances how they work.”
With the system demonstrating proven success operating in hot weather regions in Western Australia, Kal Tire has worked with Pitcrew to develop a cold weather version capable of withstanding temperatures of -45C. A test ‘winter model’ is now operational in northern Canada.
“There is also great potential for this real-time inspection technology in underground mines where doing regular equipment inspections can be challenging as well as to support the growing move towards autonomous mining. We recognize that this is new technology and how important it is to get it right, especially in the autonomous space,” says Erdélyi. “That’s why we’re investing resources so heavily in this solution. Our vision is to offer Pitcrew as an integrated solution along with TOMS as part of Kal Tire’s service offering.”
With a range of customers showing definitive interest in the system, Kal Tire and Pitcrew expect to extend the number of automated inspection stations operating across Kal Tire serviced sites using TOMS in 2022.