Bridgestone is A Partner in the Mine of the Future


On the Erzberg in Styria, VA Erzberg GmbH not only operates the largest opencast hard rock mine in Central Europe, but also one of the most modern of its kind.

Bridgestone Partnerships with VA Erzberg GmbH

With 240 employees, the company is one of the largest local employers and is therefore closely connected to the region in the Alps. VA Erzberg places particular emphasis on the digitisation and process optimisation of operations. In addition to the digital focus, VA Erzberg GmbH is also characterised by a unique large-scale project that brings advantages for the company and the environment in equal measure. Among the vehicles from VA Erzberg GmbH, one particularly stands out which is the Liebherr T 236 dump truck with hybrid drive. 

Vehicles with diesel-electric drives are used worldwide with payloads of over 200 t, but in the Erzberg it is used in the 100 t class in connection with the overhead line system is unique. The overhead contact line system was set up to enable operation with hybrid heavy-duty trucks, which can also be driven using direct current collection. In contrast to conventional diesel-electric vehicles, the machine from VA Erzberg GmbH has been running almost entirely in electric mode in large parts of the opencast mine since October 2021. 

The conventional drive is only still required on newly created paths and at the transition to mining and in the area of ​​the spoil heap. Instead of 15 minutes, the vehicle needs only ten minutes for the corresponding route with the overhead contact line system and saves around 95 per cent in diesel fuel. This results in a CO2 saves of approx 8,000t per year and fuel consumption reduced by three million litres compared to conventional drives. 

Bridgestone supports VA Erzberg GmbH with the appropriate premium tyres and the associated technical services related to tyres, which ensure that the products are optimally adjusted to the various requirements. In order to implement the overall concept of the overhead line system without any problems, specific demands are made on the vehicle and tyres, which are made up of both the special location of the ore deposit and the technical conditions of the project. 

In order to select appropriate tyre specifications for this type of requirement, precise application studies are required that provide conclusions about the maximum permissible loads, speeds and, in this context, the setting of the optimal air pressure. In addition, the tyres must be highly resilient when it comes to the daily transport of around 40,000 tons of material. Bridgestone tyres results in a mass of around 670t, which a single tyre can transport per day. Particular attention is paid to consistently good traction under changing road conditions and the high stability of the Bridgestone tyres, which contributes significantly to safety when driving.

About the author

Richard Wilson is the deputy editor for Commercial Tyre Business. Since 2015, Richard has worked as a correspondent for all of the titles across the Valebridge Publications Ltd Group namely: Retreading Business, Tyre & Rubber Recycling, The Tyreman and Truck and Bus News. Richard has worked on/off from the age of 16 for the company and whilst gaining a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and Business Studies at Coventry University, he developed his writing skills at the University paper and more recently writing his own independent blog.


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