What are the lighter-weight wheel options?

What are the lighter-weight wheel options?

For fleets that want to roll efficiently, there’s no shortage of lighter-weight wheel options. For a fleet that has hundreds of pieces of equipment moving along many routes, increased load capacity can add up quickly. Aluminum wheels are typically a lighter option than steel; one of the lightest weight options was launched in March at the Mid-American Trucking Show, when Alcoa unveiled its Ultra ONE Wheel with proprietary MagnaForce alloy. By changing its alloy for the first time in 45 years, Ultra ONE weighs in at just 40 lbs. Currently available in the popular 22.5×8.25 application, Ultra ONE is 5 lbs. lighter than anything else in the market.

WHEELS Accuride 41142 Aluminum Duplex reflection PNG
Accuride Accu-Lite Duplex aluminum wheel

Brian Thomas, marketing communications for Alcoa, also highlights the weight savings accomplished by transitioning to wide base wheels. “Alcoa 14-in. wide base wheels are again the lightest, weighing in at just 54 lbs., available in 0-, 1- and 2-in. offsets for all axle types and provide a 12,800-lb. load rating. Converting an 18-wheeler from steel wheels and tires to Alcoa 14-in. wide base [aluminum] wheels and tires saves over 1,400 lbs. on a rig,” Thomas says.

“Commercial lighter-weight wheels, today, are pushing the envelope of current raw material properties,” said Craig Kessler, vice president of engineering at Accuride Corp. “New steel and aluminum alloys will be needed to effectively enter the next generation of lightweight wheels. Therefore, it is extremely important that OEMs and end users properly match wheel designs with the vehicle application. Most of the lightweight wheels available today are designed for controlled load conditions and over the highway applications, rather than over-load or off-road conditions. For those conditions, we offer a wide variety of wheels specifically for the unique demands of heavy-load applications.”

Accuride offers a 66-lb., 10 hand-hole Accu-Lite steel wheel in addition to its lightest weight 22.5 x 8.25 aluminum wheel, weighing in at just 45 lbs.

WHEELS AlcoaWheels_14_DB_UO_LO_HighRes
Alcoa’s wheel lineup

“All standard OTR applications can benefit from lighter wheel options, the off-road and vocational heavy-duty applications might require higher load capacity options,” explained Mark Fonte, marketing and sales manager for Maxion. “For standard box trailer configurations, the trailer usually fills up with payload before hitting weight limits so the lower cost steel wheel option is preferable. In general, the amount of weight savings required to move the fuel economy needle are so great that the benefit of being able to haul additional payload far outpaces fuel cost savings.”

Fonte said that lighter-weight steel wheels could save an average of 10 to 12 lbs. over conventional steel wheels in most applications.

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