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 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
Bridgestone EMEA, with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. Bridgestone EMEA operates in more than 60 countries and has over 18200 employees. Across the region it has 14 tyre and tyre related plants, a major R&D Centre and a proving ground. Bridgestone EMEA’s premium tyres are sold in Europe, Middle East, Africa and globally.