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February 24, 2020 2:15 PM, EST

Alcoa Debuts New Lightweight Wheel, Bore Design

AlcoaA view of the new Alcoa Ultra One ULT39 wheel (right) via John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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ATLANTA — Alcoa Wheels introduced a new wheel for heavy-truck applications that the company said is the lightest wheel it has produced, and which features a design that reduces contact with the wheel hub, which it said can combat corrosion.

The company’s latest Ultra One wheel is available in the 22.5” × 8.25” size and weighs 39 pounds. That is 1 pound lighter than the previous model and 6 pounds lighter than wheels Alcoa made six years ago, Mike Baird, the company’s director of engineering, said Feb. 23 at American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

The wheel is available through all major truck manufacturers, Baird said, and is designed to match current models — a move to help motor carriers maintain consistency.

“What a fleet doesn’t want is another unique thing that it has to deal with,” he said. “Aesthetically, this wheel is the same as one it replaces,” Baird said. “You truly can mix and match this wheel if you need to.”

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Where it differs from previous models is with its bore design. The new wheel hub bore technology reduces hub-to-wheel contact area by up to 64% versus comparable wheels, leaving less surface area for corrosion to form, Baird said.

“We reduced the amount of aluminum wheel that touches that hub pilot,” he said. “There is less area — less of a site — for corrosion.

Baird noted that the design is intended to help relieve technicians of the hassle of struggling to remove wheels when rust has formed around the hub.

“Anything corrosive that doesn’t come off — you ask any technician — it’s just annoying,” he said.

The new Ultra One wheel is in production, Baird said. Shipments began in January.

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