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Wheel Inspection, Repair, Recertification and Safety

Wheels and rims used in off the road applications are made of heavy duty steel and are exposed through their use to extreme stress, potential impacts, potential high pressures, corrosion and excessive wear and tear. Any and all of these factors can cause the wheels and rims to be come unserviceable, unable to properly mount and support a tire or cause a safety situation that can result in an accident or worse…loss of life.

A common thing I tell customers is that just because a wheel and rim is made of steel doesn’t mean it is Indestructible.  Wheels mounted with a rubber tire and inflated become a special type of product….a pressure vessel. Pressure vessels hold more gas (and air is a gas) or liquid at a pressure that is greater the normal outside air pressure. In the case of a larger OTR tire and wheel assemblies those pressures can easily exceed over a 100 Pounds Per Square (psi) inch or Kilopounds Per Square (ksi) inch.

Pressure vessels by their nature of their function have the potential to store enormous amounts of potential energy. When a pressure vessel fails or is breached, the amount of stored energy released, the direction of that release and the speed of that release can result in minimal to extreme damage to anyone or anything that is in the path of that release.

Bottom line! Treat inflated tire and wheel assemblies “with care and respect”. Not doing so can have surprising or devastating results.

Below you will find some videos that demonstrate the potential stored energy in tire and wheel assemblies and the results of the sudden release of that pressure. As I stated before the results of that sudden release of stored potential energy can be very damaging and can result in a fatality. Always treat an inflated tire and wheel assembly with care and respect.

If you watched these videos you know doubt get the picture of the power a highly inflated tire and wheel assembly packs and the damage that can result from the sudden release of that stored pressure.

Something you should never, ever do is weld on a mounted tire and wheel assembly period.  Let alone one that is inflated as this video demonstrates.


Wheel and rim inspection

The point of the videos I selected for this page is to point out the power that’s packed in an inflated tire and wheel assembly. If you as an owner, operator or manager are concerned about safe operation and use of your heavy equipment then you should implement some inspection systems or non destructive testing procedures to detect potential defects before they become severe problems or worse and accident occurs. It is the undetected cracking and accumulated metal fatigue that can be potential hazardous. In operations where equipment, wheels, rims and tires are exposed to high stresses like in steel mills, surface and underground mining, ports doing container handling and more, annual visual inspection, wheel refurbishment, wheel and rim repair, wheel refinishing  and recertification is recommended. where necessary.

If you don’t know where to begin, consult with the wheel specialist that can guide you in how to put a program in place. There are numerous professional and government publications that can assist with this process as well.

On site wheel inspection training can be scheduled at your facility. Instructional material made available, “Go and No Go” gauges made available and proper documentation and instruction on how to properly use them.

When offsite wheel refurbishing is selected as the best course to take, professional factory certified wheel inspection, repair and recertification services are available to make sure the wheel rim repair is done. All wheel repair must be done in a qualified wheels repair shop. Proper NDT systems must be utilized by trained professionals that have been trained in their proper use and application to assure professional rim repair and wheel refurbishment.