Big Tyre is developing a non-pneumatic, non-solid wheel which combines excellent load, suspension and torque capacities with low ground pressure and good ride comfort.
The first prototypes were designed and built for a racing go-kart and worked extremely well proving the design concept. Subsequently, a prototype of a full-sized wheel for underground mining was built in April 2011 in association with, and with significant financial support from, the Australian Coal Association Research Projects (ACARP).
With ACARP's continued support the successor to this larger prototype is currently being designed using sophisticated finite element analysis (FEA) software to handle a greater working load than the strongest pneumatic tyre of the same size, while having a more evenly loaded footprint than either pneumatic or solid tyres.
When completed the tyre will not only prove safer than conventional tyre alternatives but is expected to improve mining productivity on soft ground conditions by enabling heavier machinery to be used. We also expect the wheel to provide better heat resilience in addition to being puncture-proof and more robust than conventional tyres.
To compare the prototypes' performance against conventional tyres, Big Tyre has tyre testing equipment which is currently capable of testing tyres at speeds in excess of 200 kph and loads of up to 10 tonne. To facilitate testing the new prototype it is planned to modify this equipment to enable it to handle increased loads at speeds typical to those in underground mines.
We also have access to an Eimco 913 underground loader which enables us to perform a variety of tests that would otherwise have to be carried out on a mine site. See our YouTube channel for videos of our wheel being tested.