Alcoa Creates Lighter Alloy Wheel

Alcoa has rolled out what it considers the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck wheel.

This latest wheel, the Ultra ONE, will help trucks shed pounds for increased payload and fuel efficiency, said Alcoa.

Alcoa added its new 40-pound wheel is 47 percent lighter than steel wheels of the same size. The Ultra ONE can help, according to Alcoa, save up to 1,400 pounds per rig, enabling fleets to carry more goods while meeting stringent federal emissions regulations.

Underscoring the importance of saving weight to the industry, one of America’s largest flatbed carriers, TMC Transportation, is converting its fleet to the Ultra ONE starting in 2014.

“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, such as TMC Transportation, are already lining up to take advantage of it.”

To take out five pounds out of its lightest heavy-duty truck wheel, Alcoa’s experts at the Alcoa Technical Center crated a new alloy, said the company. The patent-pending alloy has been named MagnaForce by Alcoa. It is on average 17 percent stronger than the industry standard, Alcoa’s 6061 alloy, in similar applications.

Alcoa explained 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.

Per Alcoa, replacing steel wheels with aluminum wheels on an 18-wheeler offsets the annual carbon footprint of an average family of four in America.

“As the largest privately owned flatbed trucking company in the United States, TMC Transportation trucks haul heavy loads across America every day, and each pound we can reduce helps us lower costs and move more goods,” said Harrold W. Annett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TMC transportation. “The Ultra ONE wheel is part of our total commitment to quality, through which we reduce waste and ensure customer satisfaction.”

The Ultra ONE Wheel built using MagnaForce alloy is available in the industry standard 22.5” x 8.25” size for heavy-duty, commercial transportation.

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