A leading distributor of high-end telehandlers and rough terrain equipment has supplied Kleinkopje Colliery – part of AngloCoal in Mpumalanga – with a specialised vehicle which ensures a high degree of safety in the removal and fitting of tyres on the mine’s fleet of dump trucks.
The contract was awarded to Manitou Southern Africa, who supplied the MHT10160, modified to mining safety specifications. “With the mine’s increased focus on operational and equipment safety and the elimination of injuries, it was decided to purchase a specialised machine that ensured complete safety and offered excellent manoeuvrability and cost-effectiveness,” says section engineer Luambo Musie.
In the past the mine used general forklifts to change the six-ton tyres, but this proved to be unsafe because at times the wheel would not be correctly balanced or stable on the fork.
The machine is painted white and features additional lights, guard rails over the windows and vents, a centralised lubrication system, fire extinguishers and safety guards, and fail-safe, spring-applied hydraulic release braking on all four wheels.
The machine is fitted with a tyre handling attachment that acts as a “grabbing” device. The attachment is capable of rotating 180º to the left, right and forward, shifts sideways to the left and right, and moves up and down. The operator sits in the cab and is guided by another operator standing in front of the tyrehandling attachment and using a walkie-talkie. This operator controls the movement of the handler via remote control.
Frik De Beer, acting general engineering supervisor, notes that the Manitou grabs the wheel on both sides, ensuring that it is stable and completely balanced.
“The vehicle is jacked up in the tyre bay, the wheel clamps are loosened and then the Manitou comes in. The operator in charge directs the driver, and once the correct position is reached, the attachment secures the wheel and the Manitou reverses. The tyre is placed safely on the ground, and the new tyre is lifted and fitted onto the rim. The tyre handler holds the heavy wheel in place while our technicians lubricate the bolts and re-secure the wheel clamps,” says De Beer.