Louisville, KY. Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products presented “the world’s lightest heavy-duty wheel,” the Ultra ONE, to the trucking industry at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The new 40-pound wheel is 47% lighter than steel wheels of the same size and five pound lighter than the Alcoa aluminum wheel that formerly held the lightest title, so it is no wonder the assembled crowd was impressed. According to Alcoa, the Ultra ONE can save up to 1,400 pounds per 18-wheeler.
To lose those five pounds, experts at the Alcoa Technical Center—the world’s largest light metals research center—invented a new alloy, the patent-pending MagnaForce alloy. It is, on average, 17% percent stronger than Alcoa’s 6061 alloy in similar applications.
The Ultra ONE Wheel with MagnaForce alloy is available in the industry standard 22.5” x 8.25” size for heavy-duty, commercial transportation. It is being readied now in all OEM customer data books, according to the company. Ultra ONE wheels can be ordered in all popular Alcoa finish options. The price of the new wheel will be “similar to the current wheel, with a slight premium,” Tim Myers, Alcoa’s president, told the audience.
“Alcoa continues to reinvent the wheel. Our new innovation is heavy-duty without the ‘heavy,’ and it looks great, too,” he said. “Alcoa’s unique mix of manufacturing, technology and lightweight metals expertise enabled this breakthrough. Myers also noted that development of the new alloy was “very accelerated,” taking about two years total.
Major fleets, such as TMC Transportation, are already lining up to take advantage of the new tire he, added.
“As the largest privately owned flatbed trucking company in the United States, TMC Transportation trucks haul heavy loads across America every day, and each pound we can reduce helps us lower costs and move more goods,” said Harrold W. Annett, chairman and CEO of TMC Transportation. “The Ultra ONE wheel is part of our total commitment to quality, through which we reduce waste and ensure customer satisfaction.”
According to Alcoa, fleets have increasingly converted to aluminum wheels to help offset the weight of necessary pollution-control equipment used to meet federal emissions regulations. Lighter wheels also improve fuel economy.