tions. Kal Tire is now rolling out a mobile version that captures data via a smartphone or tablet, which allows for real time or close to real time data capture as well as clear communication of updates to the inspectors. “One key change for us with the move to mobile is the ability to capture images and bring them into the system,” said Goode. “What that means, from a process point of view, is when the inspectors are doing the inspection, and they’re capturing their findings, their actions and their priority codes and photos of any damage, that information is reviewed by the manager of the site before it goes into the system. We are giving the manager far more information than he had before; he can now physically see the damage.” The manager’s ability to see this damage leads to more value added conversations with inspectors and the customer about when tire work needs to be planned.
Harnessing data for customer productivity
Goode said that customers want concrete recommendations of things that they can do differently to improve tire performance and productivity. “We can trend and benchmark operational damage findings over time, along with track how long it takes for work to be completed. We plan to analyze the inspection data collected in conjunction with removal and scrap tire data in order to improve our ability to determine and predict when tire work needs to happen,” he said. “Given that a fundamental goal of tire management is to help ensure that our customer’s mining fleet is as productive as possible, it’s critical more focus is put on understanding how often and for how long trucks are actually out of service due to tires. Our customers typically know this for their own operations of course. We see tremendous opportunity to help our customers reduce that downtime through better analytics and benchmarking across operations. Improved tire performance is a key driver for sure, but improved planning and management of tire work can be just as important. And in many ways, these depend ultimately on the quality of the tire inspections taken and the communication process from them. That, with TOMS, is what we are looking to address.” Kal Tire is already working on research projects to provide feedback for customers. For example, the company has just started a project with researchers in Canada to determine the impact that rotations have on overall tire life and when it’s the right time to rotate. Goode hopes that this research will determine whether there is a direct correlation between when a site rotates tires and the impact on tire life.
The future of TOMS
It’s still early days for TOMS, which is currently in use at approximately 60 mining sites in 12 countries. “We’re only now starting to analyze the data and see what we can learn from it,” said Goode. For example, as Kal Tire collects more photos of tire damage through the TOMS system, it will be able to train AI to recognize damage using the common codes in the database. Goode expects that in a few years the AI will be able to recognize tire damage accurately and be able to support inspectors in their jobs. Goode also anticipates that this ability will be a good training tool for new team members and that it will help drive more consistency and in turn provide better information for continued analysis. “Three years ago we were using at least half a dozen different tire management software systems across our operations. Each of those systems had independent databases and each of those databases had different ways that tires were called. To get access to those databases and to map them together and try to say ‘Can we benchmark tire performance here?’ We just couldn’t do that three years ago.” Pushing all of the data to one database is a game-changer. “Over time the system will increasingly change from one that is a collection tool, which probably is 70 percent [of TOMS] today, to one that actually is driving recommendations and standard procedures,” Goode said. Putting that intelligence to use is something that Goode said Kal Tire is hoping to see over the next five years. “That’s the ultimate value. We can make every single one of our people as intelligent as all of us together.” HEG
The inspector uses a pre-determined task list based on variables that are agreed upon with the customer up front in a Maintenance Activities Plan (MAP).
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