Belshina to produce tyres 6m in height, weighing 7 tonnes
At present, the company manufactures tyres in over 300 sizes, models and ply ratings, with the unique super-sized tyre soon to join its inventory. Belshina JSC is a giant, uniting four factories which each boasts their own specialisation. It makes tyres for mass use, large-sized and super-sized (the latter obviously arouses the most interest). It even has its own mechanical plant manufacturing equipment for tyre production
By Vladimir Chemodurov
In making a tyre, its carcass (boasting several layers of durable rubber cord) rolls slowly around a huge cylinder. This core is then supplemented by ‘bracelets’ of cord, rubberised with a mixture of natural caoutchouc (the only suitable raw material). These layers create a huge 3 tonne rubber ‘bun’, which is placed into a special furnace; vulcanisation occurs over a period of 800 minutes (just over 13 hours) at extremely high temperatures. The tyre then acquires its tread pattern in the press and is thoroughly inspected before dispatch, ready to carry dozens of tonnes of load and endure the harshest of climatic or environmental conditions. Even the smallest air hole or microscopic crack or foreign body can cause a puncture.
“In designing a tyre suitable for adverse conditions, we really put it through its paces,” explains the Deputy Director for Production at Belshina, Victor Yarosh, indicating a huge tyre rolling under a never-ending load. BelAZ, MAZ, Minsk’s Automobile Plant, Minsk’s Tractor Plant, the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant and ordinary car lovers all appreciate the quality of Belshina tyres, which have proven their reliability and durability many times over.
Tyres are far more than shaped rubber and even the pressure is vital: a fall of just 10 percent raises fuel consumption and shortens lifespan. The breaker — which connects the core to the tread and acts as a shock-absorber — plays a vital role, and tyres should fit snugly against the wheel. Super-sized tyres, which tend to work in harsh, mountainous conditions, require special care. Dump trucks shouldn’t climb gradients of over 12 degrees and need to retain a certain angle when turning. Used intensively, tyres can reach temperatures of up to 110 degrees, needing to rest and cool regularly. Of course, roads should be kept in proper condition, since sharp stones can also take their toll, especially when trucks are heavily loaded.
“We’ll soon produce even larger tyres,” asserts the Deputy General Director for Ideology, Personnel Management and Social Issues at Belshina, Alexander Kozlov. “As you know, the Government has tasked BelAZ JSC with manufacturing the world’s first quarry machinery capable of carrying up to 450 tonnes. Suitable tyres are needed: 6m in height and weighing 7 tonnes. By 2016, trial models should be ready for testing, with mass production the following year.”
Interestingly, each tyre for a 200 tonne truck costs around $20,000: the price of an average saloon car. The cost of a giant BelAZ tyre remains competitive, but is certainly expensive. Belshina’s produce must rival that of its international colleagues, ensuring that it retains and expands its place on the world market. It currently exports to over 60 states — including Singapore, Australia, Ukraine, Canada, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Brazil.