As part of a $35 million investment, Accuride Corp. announced that it increased aluminum truck wheel production in 2011 through a combination of acquisitions, technology investments, and transfers of aluminum wheel machining lines within its operations.
“Many factors, including fuel economy requirements, residual value and aesthetics, are driving the growth in aluminum wheel demand in the North American commercial vehicle industry,” said Rick Dauch, president & CEO. “Accuride is investing to ensure that we have the right production capacity in place when and where our customers need it, whether for steel or aluminum wheels. We’re also raising our standards for product dependability and finish to meet customers’ ever-increasing expectations.”
In June 2011, Accuride acquired substantially all of the assets of Forgitron Technologies LLC, including an 80,000-sq.-ft. aluminum wheel manufacturing facility located in Camden, SC. That facility has been fully integrated with Accuride’s systems and controls and increased manufacturing capacity 21% alone.
In November 2011, Accuride launched its Mega-Line at its plant in Erie, Pa. The Mega-Line employs a fully automated manufacturing process that uses a centralized, closed-loop system for chip and coolant management. The line’s eight robots take a forged, spun and heat-treated raw wheel through the turning, pre-stress, milling, coining and Rösler surface finishing processes to produce durable, high-gloss aluminum wheels that are ready for shipment with zero manual intervention.
In response to growing demand in Mexico, Accuride also transferred an existing manual-process aluminum wheel machining line to Accuride de Mexico’s 226,000-sq.-ft. Monterrey, Mexico, plant during the summer.
As part of its aluminum wheel machining investments, Accuride also installed additional polishing equipment in its Erie and Monterrey facilities.
This new equipment established a higher standard of enhanced finish for Accuride’s aluminum wheel product portfolio and increased efficiency and productivity.
“By strategically managing our existing capacity and investing in key acquisitions and capacity initiatives, Accuride is fortifying its status as a leading aluminum wheel supplier to the North American commercial vehicle industry,” said Scott Hazlett, senior vp & gm. “Further, with our proven steel wheel expertise and extensive product portfolio, we’re able to seamlessly serve as a single-source supplier for our customers’ aluminum and steel wheel needs.”