Alcoa rolls out lightweight heavy-duty wheel

US company Alcoa has rolled out what is said to be the world’s lightest heavy-duty commercial vehicle wheel. The new Ultra ONE product is 47 per cent lighter than steel wheels of the same size, according to Alcoa.

The new wheel was first unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville, Kentucky, before it was shown at the International Truck, Trailer & Equipment Show in Melbourne a week later.

Weighing in at 40 pounds (18.1kg), the Ultra ONE can help save up to 1,400 pounds per rig, Alcoa said, enabling fleets to carry more goods while meeting stringent federal emissions regulations.

“Alcoa continues to reinvent the wheel. Our new innovation is heavy-duty without the ‘heavy,’ and it looks great too,” said Tim Myers, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products.

“Alcoa’s unique mix of manufacturing, technology and lightweight metals expertise enabled this breakthrough. Major fleets … are already lining up to take advantage of it.”

According to Myers, fleets have increasingly converted to aluminum wheels that offset the weight of necessary pollution-control equipment used to meet federal emissions regulations.

“Lighter wheels also improve fuel economy, making up for rising fuel prices and helping move goods in a cleaner way. And if trucks burn less fuel, they emit fewer greenhouse gases. Replacing steel wheels with aluminum wheels on an 18-wheeler offsets the annual carbon footprint of an average family of four in America.”

To take out five pounds out of its lightest heavy-duty truck wheel, Alcoa’s experts at the Alcoa Technical Center invented a new alloy, the patent-pending MagnaForce alloy. It is said to be 17 per cent stronger than the industry standard, Alcoa’s 6061 alloy, in similar applications.

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