Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products has developed a new forged aluminum product it calls “the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck wheel.” At 40 lb., the Ultra ONE™ is 47% lighter than comparably sized steel wheels, which will help commercial trucks reduce their weight in order to increase payload and maintain fuel efficiency.
The Ultra ONE Wheel is produced in a new Alcoa alloy called MagnaForce™ (patent pending) that is on average 17% stronger than Alcoa’s 6061 alloy (the industry standard), in similar applications.
Since it introduced the first forged aluminum wheels in 1948, Alcoa has developed numerous improvements and options, and expanding its market coverage. The company’s wheels business has delivered a 22% compounded annual growth rate from 2009 to 2013, and 67% of its sales involve proprietary technologies.
“Alcoa continues to reinvent the wheel,” declared president Tim Meyers, of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. “Our new innovation is heavy-duty without the ‘heavy,’ and it looks great, too.”
Meyers emphasized that Alcoa’s “manufacturing, technology, and lightweight metals expertise enabled this breakthrough.”
The new wheels are available in standard sizes for heavy-duty commercial fleets, 22.5 x 8.25 in. Different finish options are available.
Alcoa estimated the Ultra ONE would help save up to 1,400 lb. per rig, so fleets will be able to carry more goods and still match federal emissions regulations. Converting commercial truck fleets from steel wheels to forged aluminum wheels is seen as an option to reduce weight while incorporating pollution-control equipment needed to meet federal emissions regulations. Lighter wheels may improve fuel economy too, which would reduce fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Alcoa reported that TMC Transportation, the largest privately owned flatbed trucking company in the United States, is converting its fleet to Ultra ONE wheels this year.
“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,” stated chairman and CEO Harrold W. Annett. “The Ultra ONE wheel is part of our total commitment to quality, through which we reduce waste and ensure customer satisfaction.”