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Maintenance Guide for Earthmover Tyres: Machine Inspection

Maintenance Guide for Earthmover Tyres: Machine Inspection

Reasons for inspecting tyres on a machine

The reason for inspecting tyres is to prevent the risks of machine immobilisation.

It can be used to:

  • assess tyre wear and schedule repairs;
  • detect the beginnings of tyre damage so that the tyre can be removed and if necessary repaired (or retreaded) before the damage becomes too severe;
  • diagnose mechanical damage which, if not corrected in time, would reduce potential tyre life.

It consists of a systematic inspection of the machine’s tyres and wheels, as well as the accessories connected with inflation (valve, valve cap, valve extension, etc.).


Prior precautions

The Operators’ equipment

It is strongly recommended that the operator conducting the inspection wears a harness or safety vest equipped with reflective strips, a hard hat, safety boots, gloves and protective glasses (dust may be propelled when the pressure is checked). This can be a legal requirement.


Organisation of the inspection

Whatever type of inspection is carried out, it is preferable to work on empty machines. If, however, the inspectors have to work around loaded machines (to weigh them, for example), they must remain at a distance sufficient to be protected from any material that may fall from the skip, particularly as the machine moves off.

It is not recommended to inspect tyres when machines are standing in a queue; the driver may forget that his machine is being inspected and move forward in the queue without taking any precautions in relation to the inspectors.

Good practice, in this case, entails arranging that the machine leaves the queue and isolating it before proceeding with the inspection.


Informing the driver

During the machine inspection, the inspector is required to work outside the driver’s field of view.

For this reason it is recommended that the inspector places a warning notice in front of the driver (ideally on the steering wheel) and asks him to stop the engine. At the end of the inspection, the driver returns the notice to the inspector, thereby “freeing” the inspected machine. Freeing the machine gives the driver the authorisation to start the engine again.

If the machine inspection involves checking tyre pressures, it is recommended that the inspection be carried out by a team of 2 operators:

  • the first operator is the inspector, responsible for carrying out the actual inspection;
  • the second operator acts as coordinator; he remains permanently in front of the machine, clearly visible to the driver, and informs the latter when the machine needs to be moved.

At the end of the inspection, the 2 operators go to stand together on the left of the machine (the cabin side). Then, and only then, the coordinator informs the driver that the machine is free.


Operating procedure


The tools

The minimum equipment for performing a “machine inspection” includes:

  • A pocket lamp;
  • a grease chalk;
  • a measuring tape or ruler;
  • a tread depth gauge,
  • a calibrated pressure gauge,
  • a plumbers wrench,
  • circlip pliers,
  • a punch and
  • a container of soapy water (to detect possible leaks).


Inspecting the machine

To ensure a thorough inspection, work through the following 6 steps.

Inspecting the machine

STEP 1: Immobilise the machine
Inform the driver - install the alarm. The machine now comes under the control of the inspectors (operators).The inspector may also make a note of the machine’s number and odometer/service hour meter.

STEP 2: Inspect the front left wheel
See the points to check (in the following paragraph). The suspension units on the opposite side can also be examined.

STEP 3: Inspect the front right wheel
See the points to check (in the following paragraph). The suspension units on the opposite side can also be examined.

STEP 4: Inspect the rear right wheel(s)
See the points to check (in the following paragraph). The suspension units on the opposite side can also be examined.

STEP 5: Inspect the rear left wheel(s)
See the points to check (in the following paragraph). The suspension units on the opposite side can also be examined.

STEP 6: Free the machine
The driver is informed that the inspection is finished. The inspector takes back the alarm, thereby freeing the machine. (The driver resumes control and the machine is available.)


The points to check


On the tyre

First, the inspector should note the serial number of the tyre. Starting with the tread, he should check that wear is even; ideally, the tread depths on either side of the tread should only differ very slightly. He should also check the appearance of the tread, and the presence of any damage affecting the crown plies.

He then checks that the inner and outer sidewalls are in good condition.

Any object trapped between twinned tyres represents a risk. The object may be violently ejected by the pressure exerted by the tyres. To remove an object trapped between 2 twinned tyres, it is absolutely essential to deflate BOTH  tyres before removing the wheels.


For twinned tyres

In the case of twinned wheels, both tyres should be inspected as described above. The inspector should ensure that no objects are trapped between the 2 tyres.


On the wheel

The inspector should check that no nuts are loose. He must also check that the detachable parts of the rim are in good condition, not distorted, and homogeneous lock ring (no mixing of parts). Likewise, the hub should be checked for signs of major oil leaks.


On the machine

If the machine is equipped with rock ejectors, the inspector checks that the device does not rub excessively on the tyres’ sidewalls. Its general condition
(rock ejector not twisted or bent), as well as the presence of spacers, should be checked.


Checking the inflation pressure

This check is performed with a calibrated pressure gauge. Ideally, the operation is carried out when the tyres are cold.

Before beginning, it may be advisable to remove any dirt from the valve. This entails cleaning around the extremity of the valve to prevent the inner mechanism (the valve core) from becoming clogged by debris falling onto the valve stem.

We recommend that the operator wears protective glasses to protect his eyes. This is because, when the inflation is being checked, the air pressure may propel small objects, with the risk of eye injury.

CAUTION: never deflate a hot tyre.

If the pressure measured differs from the recommended pressure by more than 10%, the adjustment must be made as soon as possible.

In the case of abnormally low pressure, test for a leak by spraying soapy water on the most likely locations, in particular the valve and valve base.

The inspector needs to check that the valve cap is in place, in good condition and tightened (by hand). It should be changed if faulty (it ensures that the assembly is airtight).


Measuring tyre wear

Tyre wear is measured at the points specified by the manufacturer; their location varies from one tread pattern to another. For an exact assessment of tyre wear, the tread depth should be measured at several points distributed around the circumference of the tread

CAUTION: if the tread depths on either side of the tread are very different (a difference of over 10%), this may indicate misalignment.


Further information

MICHELIN has developed a specific training module for machine inspection. Your usual MICHELIN representative would be happy to present it to you.

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