DETROIT (Aug. 7, 2013) — The American Iron and Steel Institute has developed its answer to aluminum wheels — a steel wheel design that it said is equivalent in mass to a comparable aluminum wheel but 40-percent cheaper.
The institute's Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) created a Wheels Task Force to assist auto makers in manufacturing vehicles that will meet the new fuel economy regulations by developing a lightweight steel wheel.
"This new steel wheel design provides auto makers with a great foundation for a lightweight, affordable wheel that consumers will love," said Ronald Krupitzer, SMDI's vice president, automotive market. "With auto makers looking for solutions to develop light-weighting technologies, here is another example of steel matching aluminum in mass while beating aluminum in cost. It's also a highly styled wheel that will help sell cars."
The SMDI said the project applied state-of–the-art concept design and analytical methods to an existing high-volume wheel to achieve an advanced lightweight design that can be adapted to various vehicle platforms. Advanced manufacturing processes and new steel grades were evaluated to increase the weight and cost savings potential for the wheel assembly design.
Funded by members of SMDI's Wheels Task Force, the steel wheel project engineering work was conducted by Troy, Mich.-based Altair Engineering Inc. For a copy of the final report and executive summary, visit the group's website.
SMDI Wheels Task Force members are: Accuride Corp. AK Steel Corp.; ArcelorMittal Dofasco; ArcelorMittal USA L.L.C.; Carlisle Tire & Wheel Co.; Chrysler Group L.L.C.; and Ford Motor Co.