Kal Tire offers best-in-class services to customers that relate to everything around the wheel. This not only includes the on-site services, but also includes tyres, rims and all accessories relating to these wheel components. OTR (off the road) tyre repairs is a key service offering that helps to minimise waste, but also serves to give a severely injured tyre a new life and reduce the operating costs of the mining operation.  Modern Quarrying spoke to John Martin, VP Southern Africa – Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group about its service offering and how it can assist quarry operators.

Committed to reducing total cost of ownership of mining tyresWhat is Kal Tire’s main aim?

Kal Tire has seven AIMS, which - in short - is the value system by which Kal Tire operates. Our AIMS define who we are, how we behave and how we treat all our key stakeholders, from customers to team members to our suppliers.

Our AIM number one, states that we aim “To provide customers with a level of quality and value, of both service and products, that exceeds their expectations and surpasses the competition.”

Our reason for existence is to prove to customers, that we can reduce their total cost of ownership of mining tyres. This is achieved through the provision of well-trained team members that are able to deliver services better than any other competitor, as well as the provision of best-in-class products, that are best suited for the operational environment they are expected to perform in.

Further and deeper understanding of Kal Tire’s AIMS will show our undeniable commitment in all that we do, to support our customers in their ESG endeavours. The concept of reduce/reuse/recycle as well as the reduction of the world’s carbon footprint, is all contained within our way of working.

In what has Kal Tire invested in Southern Africa?

Kal Tire has invested in many areas of the mining tyres service business, which includes service and support infrastructure and network, with branch structures, team member development, community development as well as supplier development. Our investment is focused primarily on the improvement and development of our services to the tyre industry, that includes TBR (truck, bus, radial) retreading facilities, OTR tyre repair facilities and breakdown services delivered by team members that have been trained in the most comprehensive tyre services training programme available.

How long has the company had a presence in the region?

We have been present in the Southern African region for almost 15 years. Our early presence was initiated in East Africa, that included Tanzania and Mozambique, and progressed to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. Kal Tire’s acquisition of Tyre Corporation in 2017 was a significant indication of Kal Tire’s intent and commitment to the region. Although Kal Tire has no legal entities in countries such as the DRC, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, we do have an active supply chain and service capability to many of our customers operating throughout the Southern African region.

The investment obviously indicates that Kal Tire views the region as significant. How significant though?

The Southern African region remains one of the few mining geographies that still has extensive volumes of untapped mineral resources. The volume of annual exploration investment in this region substantiates the notion that there is still an abundance of natural resources available, including oil and gas. The ongoing discovery of world class deposits in the DRC and Botswana are all evidence of the mineral endowment that exits in Southern Africa. Kal Tire has invested heavily in this region to ensure we are always in close proximity to all the mining opportunities.

What is your footprint in Southern Africa – with reference to your tyre management teams, branch infrastructure and resource capabilities?

Kal Tire’s operational footprint spans four countries in this region, each with its own country-based management, branch structure and on-site service teams. South Africa represents our largest group of team members, required to support the numerous on-site service and supply contracts. Additionally, the South Africa office is home to the regional support to our operating countries, that includes our training and safety management teams, as well as our extensive technical capacity to support every customer with the needed technical expertise.

What products and services do you offer?

Kal Tire is able to offer best-in-class services to our customers that relate to everything around the wheel. This not only includes the on-site services, but also includes tyres, rims and all accessories relating to these wheel components. OTR tyre repairs is a key service offering that helps to minimise waste, but also serves to give a severely injured tyre a new life and reduce the operating costs of the mining operation. Our tyre management system, called TOMS (Tire & Operations Management System) is the most comprehensive tyre management system available, which seamlessly integrates with many of the mine’s operational systems, providing real-time decision-making data, for the real time optimisation of mining operations.

How are your application specific products and repair technology adapted to suit the region’s mines – particularly surface mining?

Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group (MTG) has a significant presence in surface mining operations in all mining jurisdictions around the globe. As a result, many of Kal Tire’s innovations and adopted technologies in the mining space are purpose-built for surface mining applications. The amount of money surface mining operators invest in rubber and rims is a significant number and therefore justifies investing time and resources into application specific products and innovations that can minimise risk, improve productivity and reduce the cost of operations.

The ongoing collaboration between Kal Tire and many tyre manufacturers, often results in improved product performances of the products for each operation. Our Ultra Repair™ technology is exclusive to Kal Tire, allowing giant OTR tyres, even with severe injuries, to be brought back to life. The Ultra Repair technology is a good example of how modern technology can be brought to site. Some of the more exciting technologies that Kal Tire offers includes autonomous tyre inspection stations, Ultra Repair technology and the well-known Gravity Assist System to help with heavy tooling are all examples of innovations that are purpose-built for surface mining applications.

How important is innovation in your offering?

Innovation is an integral part of how Kal Tire functions and operates. As with any service industry, our safety processes and operational efficiencies are improved with each new innovation and operational changes that we deliver to our customers. Kal Tire has a number of patented innovations which complement the value proposition we offer to our customers and widens the service spectrum that Kal Tire makes available to interested customers.

How do you ensure that the teams that you have in place offer the best and fastest service to customers?

In the service industry, it is essential to be located as close to one’s customer as practically possible, particularly in the mining industry where machine downtime can result in significant losses. We have an extensive branch network in all our operational countries, all of which are strategically located within the mining geographies of each territory. South Africa has the most expansive road network in the Southern African region, which allows any one of our 15 branch and factory structures to service any of our customers within a few hours.

How can you assist customers with reducing tyre costs?

It remains our mission and primary ambition to reduce the operational tyre costs, and contribute to the improvement of operational efficiencies of all our customers. To provide this benefit to our customer base, Kal Tire maintains strategic important relationships with a number of global tyre manufacturers to ensure we have access to the best performing products available in the market. Kal Tire is able to source the best performing tyre and related wheel products for the unique application of each operation. Additional value is delivered through comprehensive technical skills, innovations, OTR tyre repairs and as we have demonstrated in a number of countries, the re-treading of giant OTR tyres can contribute to achieving the lowest total cost of ownership of mining tyres.

How do you ensure that you uplift the regions in which you operate?

The investment in our regional infrastructure aligns with Kal Tire’s strategy to position our services close to our customer base. To fully support this strategy, it is not only the establishment of infrastructure that is required, but more importantly, investment in the best available local talent as the means to deliver on the services. This investment creates employment opportunities as well as the expansive use of localised companies for any local services we require.

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Wilhelm du Plessis
Email: quarrying@crown.co.za
Phone: (011) 622-4770

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Erna Oosthuizen
Email: ernao@crown.co.za
Phone: (011) 622-4770
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