For the first time, Bridgestone has brought the world’s largest tyre, size 59/80 R63, to European shores. Six off-road 4.02-metre-diameter tyres were unloaded at Gothenburg, Sweden, on August 10th.
The Bridgestone giants were then transported 1,500 km north to the Aitik open-pit copper mine in Lapland where they will be fitted on an electric-drive model of one of the world’s largest vehicles: the Caterpillar 795F mining truck, weighing 570 tons fully loaded.
The Bridgestone VRPS® (V-Steel Rock Premium Service) off-road tyre is designed to support loads of more than 100 tons and operate in the roughest conditions. It is manufactured at Bridgestone’s specialist Kitakyushu off-road tyre plant in Japan.
“Although tyre size 59/80 R63 is used in open mines in the Americas and Australia, this is the first time that these Bridgestone tyres have been used in Europe” says Mats-Johan Adner, Managing Director Bridgestone Sweden. “We are proud that Bridgestone has been selected for one of the world’s first and largest electric-drive mining trucks.”
With a diameter well over twice the height of the average person, a width of 1.47 meters and weight of 5.75 tons, the tyres require special handling and logistics. In Gothenburg a team of six operating reach stackers and 16-ton forklifts lifted the tyres from their containers and loaded them onto a giant double-flatbed trailer in less than three hours.
“The Port of Gothenburg handled the consignment very professionally” said Erwin Lever, Product Manager Bridgestone Sweden. “The unusual convoy attracted a lot of attention on its long journey north.”
Bridgestone increasing production capacity
Bridgestone is a leading manufacturer of off-road tyres, supplying a full range of products and services to mining, construction, highway and port customers around the world. Due to increasing global demand for large and ultra-large off-road radial tyres, Bridgestone is currently expanding production capacity at its state-of-the-art Kitakyushu plant to 130 tons a day by 2013.
The Aitik mine in northern Sweden is one of Europe’s largest copper mines. The mine operator Boliden, a leading European metals company, has ordered a second set of six Bridgestone VRPS in 59/80 R63, due for delivery in September 2011.
About Bridgestone Europe
Bridgestone Europe (BSEU), with European headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, is a key regional subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres and other rubber products. Bridgestone Europe operates an R&D center, 8 plants and offices in more than 30 European countries, with over 13,000 employees. BSEU’s premium tyres are sold both within Europe and globally.