Wheel manufacturer Arconic Wheel and Transportation Products has highlighted the significant boost in capacity that its new wheel manufacturing plant at its Arconic-Köfém Kft. site in Hungary will provide for the production of forged aluminium Alcoa Wheels.
Fleets are increasingly turning to lightweight, durable forged aluminium Alcoa Wheels in order to increase payload while saving on fuel and reducing maintenance, says Arconic, adding that the expansion will help meet this growing demand.
Alcoa Wheels are made from one piece of fully forged aluminium. Every wheel starts as a single block of high-strength aluminium alloy. With an 8,000-ton press, the block is forged into a wheel shape. Once forged, the wheels are heat-treated to maximise overall mechanical strengths.
The wheels are up to 51 per cent lighter than steel wheels of the same size, says Arconic; by converting from steel to forged aluminium wheels, a regular truck and trailer combination can shed up to 204 kilograms.
This gain can be used to increase the vehicle’s payload, and more product transported in a single trip means fewer trips in total – thereby positively impacting fleets’ profitability.
The wheels are also said to be five times stronger than steel wheels. The company cites tests demonstrating that an Alcoa Wheel endures a load of 71,200 kg before deforming by 5cm – while similar testing on steel wheels revealed that deforming already occurred at 13,600 kg.
The Japanese JWL test simulates a truck hitting a high curb at a speed of 50 km/h. A 910 kg weight is dropped onto the tyre and wheel assembly. While steel wheels show excessive rim deformation and air loss, says Arconic, forged aluminium wheels stay intact.
The company also highlights the environmental benefits of forged aluminium wheels, which it says help cut the carbon footprint of buses and commercial vehicles.
Replacing six steel wheels with Alcoa Wheels on a two-axle diesel city bus cuts three tons of CO2 emissions over the 12-year lifetime of the bus and 750,000 km, says the firm; and replacing 10 steel wheels with forged aluminium Alcoa Wheels on a three-axle diesel articulated city bus would cut up to five tons of CO2 emissions over the same period.
Meanwhile, replacing 12 steel wheels with forged aluminium Alcoa Wheels on a two-axle truck and three-axle trailer would cut up to four tons of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of truck (2×5 years) and trailer (10 years) and 1,300,000 km.