During Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2016, Accuride introduced three new technologies: EverSteel steel wheel anti-corrosion technology, lightweight aluminum wheels and advanced lightweight brake drum technology.
First Steel Wheel Warranted Against Corrosion
The proprietary EverSteel steel wheel technology is the first of its kind in the commercial vehicle industry and comes with a five-year warranty against corrosion, according to the company. EverSteel extends Accuride’s leadership in value-added steel wheel coating technology that began with its launch of Steel Armor in 2013.
EverSteel provides advanced corrosion protection. In independently performed cyclic corrosion testing (GM9540P), EverSteel demonstrated six times longer life than its North American and offshore competitors and double the operational life of Accuride’s Steel Armor steel wheels, said the company. The advanced corrosion-fighting properties resulting from EverSteel’s proprietary four-phase coating process deliver unmatched durability and wheel service life. This enables Accuride to offer customers what the company believes to be the industry’s first warranty against steel-wheel corrosion with EverSteel.
“Accuride’s proprietary new EverSteel technology demonstrates our commitment to offer customers advanced steel wheels that provide lasting value unmatched in the industry,” said Rick Dauch, president and CEO of Accuride. “Corrosion is an ongoing and costly issue for fleets working in harsh operating environments across North America. Never before have steel wheels received warranted corrosion protection like that offered by our EverSteel technology. It sets a new standard of performance and durability, and will enable our fleet customers to achieve significant savings in wheel refinishing costs and the associated downtime.”
Especially suited for trailer applications and fleets regularly operating in ice and snow, EverSteel wheels offer superior resistance to corrosion. This is significant, as traditional steel wheels subject to corrosion from road salt and harsh de-icing chemicals must be refinished about every three years in order to maintain their performance and appearance. By delaying the onset of corrosion for up to eight years, EverSteel extends the usable life of the wheel prior to initial refinishing. EverSteel enables customers to save a projected $105 in wheel refinishing and maintenance costs, as well as the downtime associated with taking the wheels out of service, the company says.
Lightweight Gunite Wheel End Components
Also HDAW’16, Accuride discussed its recently acquired patented metal matrix composite (MMC) technology during its news briefing. Dauch explained the central role the MMC technology plays in the company’s research and development of advanced lightweight Gunite brake drums and wheel end components.
Accuride acquired the MMC technology assets from Century-3 Plus, L.L.C. in 2015 as part of its commitment to develop lightweight Gunite wheel end components capable of delivering substantial weight, fuel and operating cost savings. The initial development program, creating high-performance, lightweight Gunite-brand brake drums, is an integral part of Accuride’s component lightweighting initiatives to help the commercial vehicle industry comply with upcoming Phase II greenhouse gas regulations posed by the U.S. EPA.
“Over the past few years, we have invested in processes and technologies that help our customers remain competitive and compliant,” said Dauch. “Through our lightweight MMC brake drum development and wheel lightweighting programs, we’re focused on creating industry-leading technologies that provide our customers with solutions to the requirements of increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations.”
Accuride’s MMC technology combines highly-engineered cast aluminum with a selectively reinforced MMC wear surface to form a durable and resilient yet lightweight patent protected brake drum. The drum is well-suited to a range of commercial vehicle, off-highway and military applications where weight savings is paramount, yet without sacrificing performance or durability, according to Accuride.
Accuride anticipates an 18-to-24-month development ramp-up to commercialization of the lightweight drum technology.
New Lightweight Aluminum Wheels
The last items that Accuride announced were the addition of two new lightweight aluminum wheels to its product offering. The wheels are part of Accuride’s effort to provide customers the lightest high-performance steel and aluminum wheels possible.
Re-engineered to reduce weight by 5 to 7 percent, the new aluminum wheels are both standard-type 22.5 x 9.00 wheels produced at the company’s aluminum wheel production facility in Erie, Pennsylvania. The new wheels will be available April 1. Accuride continues to redesign its aluminum wheel product portfolio to reduce weight and improve fuel savings for its fleet and aftermarket customers without sacrificing performance.
Specifications for the new wheels include:
- 41730 wheel — replaces previous part number 29730 and features a reduced weight of four pounds (total weight per wheel: 58 pounds).
- 41012 wheel — replaces previous part number 40012 and features a reduced weight of three pounds (total weight per wheel: 51 pounds).
“As our customers seek to optimize the total weight, fuel economy and emissions of their equipment, we continue to refine our designs and manufacturing processes to remove weight from our steel and aluminum wheel offerings,” said Dauch. “These two new aluminum wheel options are just the beginning of what customers can expect to see from Accuride as we continue our R&D in design engineering and metallurgy to provide the industry’s lightest, most reliable wheels.”