Home-grown technology is turning heads in the halls of power in Victoria and mine pits across South America and Africa.
Vernon-based Kal Tire unveiled wireless tire pressure monitoring for mines around the world in front of its staff, Premier Christy Clark and the media Friday.
“It’s amazing how the technology allows us in Vernon to monitor what is going on in Mozambique,” said Clark.
Kal Tire, North America’s largest commercial tire dealer, has developed the technology with Delta-based SST Wireless.
“There are no mines in Vernon or Delta, but there are mines all over the world and it shows how we are connected economically,” said Clark of the importance of B.C. companies competing internationally.
The new True Tire Technology system is already being used at mine sites in Canada, Mexico, China and Mozambique. In time, it could be used in the 19 countries Kal Tire’s mining tire group operates in.
“It can tell if a tire is running low on air,” said Kal Tire’s Kris Green.
“A Kal Tire agent on site can then go and put in air.”
Earthmover tires on a mine site are massive — they stand 12.5-feet tall and weigh 11,000 pounds.
They range in price from $50,000 to $80,000.
Because of that investment, it’s critical for companies to extend the life of the tires, and ensuring air pressure helps reduce fuel, increase safety and reduce operational downtime.
“We are always looking for ways to add value to the service we provide,” said Robert Foord, Kal Tire president.
“We have created a product that can have an impact worldwide.”
Clark told Kal Tire’s senior executive and employees that they play a leading role in diversifying and strengthening B.C.’s economy.
“You make Vernon incredibly proud and B.C. incredibly proud,” she said.
“You have put a unique B.C. stamp on quality.”
Clark will travel to Asia in November to promote trade with B.C. and she is encouraged by growing interest in the province’s resource sector.
“There is a mining boom in B.C. underway,” she said, adding that another major focus is liquefied natural gas.
“Kal Tire and the work you do here will benefit.”
As part of developing the tire sensors, SST Wireless received assistant from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, which was created by the provincial government in 2006 to bolster the Interior’s economy.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the support of Kal Tire and SIDIT,” said Christopher Chong, SST Wireless president.
“There’s been challenges, but working together, we now have a product wanted globally.”