Keeping the wheels turning at Bengalla
26 August, 2021

Big trucks require big wheels, and when you are handling tyres that cost $25,000 each, you need a specialist team.

Bengalla’s tyre maintenance work was previously undertaken by an external provider, but it has recently been brought in house.

The operation is now under the supervision of Peter Santarossa.

“Part of that thinking was influenced by tyre technicians being the best in the area and having direct control in the workplace and working directly for the mine owner,” Mr Santarossa said.

The move has led to a raft of new innovations.

"It’s turned out to be very positive in that since the inception, we’ve not had a single injury.

“In my 20 plus years of experience and history in the mining industry that’s unheard of, so it’s been very positive.”

The team has built their work and safety procedures from the ground up, which has boosted efficiency.

“It’s down to those guys owning what they do and having an influence on how their job is done,” Mr Santarossa said.

The goal of these new procedures is to ensure timely maintenance, so tyres last longer.

“We’ve managed to increase our tyre life by up to 21% in that period.”

With less work going into replacing and fitting tyres, technicians have more time to focus on initiatives that prevent damage in the first place.

“We need to be able to use the expertise of our technicians out in the pit and take the opportunity to educate operators about what they need to be looking for in terms of tyre damage sustained during their walk arounds and inspections, but also the conditions they’re driving in,” Mr Santarossa said.

“My technicians also provide reports on the conditions out there, and we pass those up to people of influence in our production area who can create change.”

Ben

These initiatives have led to a significant cost saving for the business.

“We were able to reduce our amount of inventory holding and cash outlay, because of that increase tyre life.

“Every time we pull a tyre off to have it repaired, it means we have to pull one tyre out of stock. We were able to reduce that pool of reusable stock because we’re not repairing as many as we need to.”

Less materials, means better environmental outcomes.

“A lot of recycling companies don’t want to take the rubber for recrumbing, because of the costs and logistics of being able to move it off site,” Mr Santarossa said.

“If we look at the volume of tyres that we scrap on an annual basis, that trend is obviously coming down.”

The tyre team are determined to keep improving.

“We want to be able to say that we confidently have the best tyre life in the valley.”

Have a look at the video here

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