The Nokian Mine King E-4 underground mining tire is one of the most specialized products of its kind (Figure 1). Designed in collaboration with the end-users as well as one of the leading drill rig manufacturers, it has a carefully balanced set of features to match the challenges set by underground mining environment. Now, it is available for a wider range of mining vehicles.
The underground mining sets special demands on the tires. Not only is the environment physically demanding with its sharp, slippery stones, but the limited machine size in tight spaces and high safety demands must be taken into consideration. When a tire is designed from ground up for these demanding conditions, it complements the machine perfectly, enabling safer and more efficient work.
“One of the starting points for designing the Nokian Mine King E-4 tire was the compact size combined with a good load capacity”, says Eva-Leena Varpe, Product Manager at Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd., Nokia/Finland. “This way, the tire actually helped to optimize the size of a new drill rig model, enabling a more efficient use of space.”
Besides drill rigs, the Nokian Mine King E-4 tire lends itself well to other underground uses. “The tire has features that will benefit any utility vehicle”, Varpe says. “Grip, safety, puncture resistance, long operating life – we have carefully listened to the needs of the mining industry and created a product to match.”
The tire’s sturdy structure enables an operating pressure of up to 10 bars, which improves the load capacity. The sharp shoulders and large contact area improve the grip on slippery, wet stones.
Another important feature is the cut and puncture resistance. According to Varpe, it is a sum of two parts. “You could say that half of the durability comes from the tire design with thick, sturdy pattern and good self-cleaning properties”, she breaks it down. “The other half would be our mining rubber compound, which I think is superior to anything else in the market.”
The initial size for Nokian Mine King E-4 was 14.00-20, but in the fall of 2019 the range will be complemented by the sizes 12.00-20 and 14.00-24. This makes it possible to have the same tires with the known, predictable features in most of the underground machinery, e. g.
“The new sizes will also replace some of our older tires that will be discontinued”, Varpe says, “as the Nokian Mine King E-4 is a real upgrade to older models.”
Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd.