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January 26, 2016 6:00 PM, EST
Accuride’s New Steel Wheel Has Corrosion Warranty; Lighter Weight Brake Drums in Development

Heavy-duty supplier Accuride Corp. introduced EverSteel, a new steel wheel that uses a four-phase coating technology and comes with a five-year warranty against corrosion, both industry firsts, the company said.

Also, Accuride said its recently acquired patented metal matrix composite technology plays a central role in its research and development of advanced lightweight Gunite brake drums and wheel end components, a process expected to last 18 to 24 months before commercialization.

Meanwhile the EverSteel wheel, in independently performed cyclic corrosion testing,based on an accelerated laboratory test standard, demonstrated six times longer life than its North American and offshore competitors and double the operational life of Accuride’s Steel Armor steel wheels, the company said.

Rick Dauch, Accuride’s CEO, said in a statement, “Corrosion is an ongoing and costly issue for fleets working in harsh operating environments across North America. Never before have steel wheels received warranted corrosion protection like that offered by our EverSteel technology. It sets a new standard of performance and durability, and will enable our fleet customers to achieve significant savings in wheel refinishing costs and the associated downtime.” 

Traditional steel wheels are subject to corrosion from road salt and harsh de-icing chemicals and must be refinished about every three years in order to maintain their performance and appearance, Accuride said.

By delaying the onset of corrosion for up to eight years, EverSteel extends the usable life of the truck or trailer wheel prior to initial refinishing, Accuride said. It estimated each EverSteel wheel could save customers about $105 in wheel refinishing and maintenance costs, as well as the downtime associated with taking the wheels out of service. 

Accuride said EverSteel wheels employ a four-step treatment process, including a surface treatment applied to the bare steel, then a zinc phosphate pre-treatment that prepares the metal for maximum adhesion. Next, an enhanced cathodic epoxy electrocoat optimized for sharp-edge and overall corrosion protection is applied. Finally, Accuride’s Steel Armor premium powder top coat is applied. 

The company said the technology is available initially on two Accuride 22.5 x 8.25 steel wheels: the 50408 and 50487.

The wheels will be produced at Accuride’s Henderson steel wheel facility in Henderson, Kentucky, and available for customers to order effective Feb. 1, 2016.

Turning to the upcoming brake drums, Accuride said metal matrix composite technology combines highly-engineered cast aluminum with a selectively reinforced MMC wear surface to form a durable and resilient yet lightweight brake drum.

It said the pending brake drums are intended to provide a weight reduction of as much as 100 pounds per axle over standard cast drums, or a 300-pound savings for a typical 3-axle Class 8 tractor.

The company said its lightweight Gunite-brand brake drums are an integral part of its component lightweighting initiatives to help the commercial vehicle industry comply with upcoming Phase II greenhouse gas regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Dauch said, “Through our lightweight MMC brake drum development and wheel lightweighting programs, we’re focused on creating industry-leading technologies that provide our customers with solutions to the requirements of increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations.”