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Alcoa trims weight of alloy wheels

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Ultra One Alcoa Wheel & Transportation Products

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 28, 2014) — Alcoa Wheel & Transportation Products has developed what it claims is the world’s lightest heavy-duty aluminum truck wheel.

The company said its Ultra One is five pounds lighter than its existing best aluminum wheel and 47 pounds lighter than steel wheels of the same size.

Alcoa credits its development the past few years of an aluminum alloy, patent-pending MagnaForce alloy that it claims is on average 17-percent stronger than its standard 6061 alloy in similar applications

Alcoa debuted the product this week at the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville.

“Our new innovation is heavy-duty without the ‘heavy,’ and it looks great, too,” said Tim Myers, president of Alcoa Wheel & Transportation Products. “Alcoa’s unique mix of manufacturing, technology and lightweight metals expertise enabled this breakthrough.”

The product is already being spec’d by major fleets, Mr. Myers said, including flat-bed trucking company TMC Transportation.

For fleets converting from steel wheels, using the Ultra One can save up to 1,400 pounds per truck/trailer, Alcoa said.

Fleets have increasingly converted to aluminum wheels that offset the weight of necessary pollution-control equipment used to meet federal emissions regulations, Alcoa said. 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, the company added.

Alcoa also claim its aluminum wheels are six times brighter than competitors’ wheels, are corrosion resistant and can lower operators’ maintenance and operating costs.

The Ultra One debut comes just a few weeks after competitor Accuride Corp. made a similar announcement at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

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