In order to meet carbon emission regulations at Truck OEM’s, fleets are switching to lighter-weight wheels more and more to offset the weight of technologies needed to remove air pollutants from diesel engine exhausts.
From 25kg in 1990, 22.5″ x 8.25″ Alcoa® Wheels have shed 7 kilos in weight, making the new Ultra ONE® wheel to be showcased at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show the lightest in its class at just 18kg.
Lighter-weight, lower-maintenance wheels also help trucks improve fuel economy to help make up for rising fuel prices and move goods in a cleaner, more fuel-efficient way.
Howmet Aerospace, manufacturer of Alcoa® Wheels – is driven to help OEMs and fleets keep their bottom line healthy by constantly ‘re-inventing the wheel’ with their commitment to the latest innovations in wheel technologies.
This is the story of how this ‘not just another aluminium wheel’ has evolved over the years to enable fleet and trailer owners enjoy increased payload and fuel efficiency by setting a new industry standard as the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck and trailer wheel.
Taking Things to Another Level
It was in 2009 that a new wheel took the market by storm, having reached the lightest weight then of 20.36kg. The flagship Alcoa 22.5” x 8.25” wheel had been reduced by 4.5kg’s over 20 years!
Called the Classic (88367X) range, this was the latest wheel technology in the company’s committed work towards increasing wheel strength and load ratings.
“The lighter the wheels, the greater productivity for fleets. Each kg we can reduce for trucks hauling heavy loads across long distances every day helps them lower costs and move more goods.” – Ross Simmons, Managing Director, Howmet Wheel Systems Australia
As the inventor of the forged aluminium wheel in 1948, Howmet Aerospace say, ‘Innovation is in our DNA’, and in 2013 a new alloy was born: MagnaForce® alloy.
This patented 6063 alloy, had become the strongest yet, offering a 17% increase in strength over existing alloys, and still today only Alcoa Wheels are forged with MagnaForce® alloy.
Up until then, aluminium wheels were forged using the industry standard 6061 alloy for commercial truck wheels — and had been since 1968!
What did that mean for the industry? Higher load rating on a lighter wheel with no compromise on strength.
Heavy Duty Without the Heavy
With the new MagnaForce® alloy onboard, the then lightest wheel, the Ultra ONE® (ULTRAX) was released in 2014 (not to be confused with the NEW Ultra ONE® (ULTX)). Taking almost 2kgs out of the previous 20.36kg LvL ONE® 22.5” wheel, this new 18.55kg wheel enabled fleets to lower truck weight—saving nearly 45kg per 18-wheeler versus the previous lightest option—increasing payload and fuel economy while lowering maintenance costs.
The extra strength of the MagnaForce® alloy meant the wheels could maintain a load of 3,360kg – that of the classic wheel – while lightening the truck and trailer.
Another new technology was added, too:
The hub bore groove technology, designed to reduce metal-to-metal contact in the hub, minimizing the surface area where corrosion can form by more than half (up to 64%, in fact), and thus allowing for easier wheel removal during maintenance.
Not Just Another Aluminium Wheel
In addition to their lighter weight, Alcoa® LvL ONE® finished wheels are six times brighter than competitors’ wheels, giving them strong aesthetic appeal, and because they are corrosion resistant and do not require stripping and repainting, they lower operators’ maintenance and operating costs.
Visit us at stand Foyer 091 to see the new Ultra ONE® wheel in the flesh and talk to our wheel experts about spec’ing the new lightweight champion for your trailers.