Big Numbers & Light Ones
Forged aluminum wheels for trucks—as in Class 8 trucks, for example—are evidently big business. At least for Arconic, which announced last week that it has signed more than $450-million in long-term agreements with customers around the world.
The largest customer is PACCAR, which will be getting Alcoa wheels for medium-and heavy-duty trucks available under the Kenworth and Peterbilt badges.
Another number, although smaller than 450-million is interesting, as well: 1,400.
As in 1,400 pounds.
That’s what Arconic says that the company’s new Ultra ONE wheels, which are made with some Bruce Willis-sounding proprietary alloy: MagnaForce, can save per truck when they’re used in place of steel wheels. (This is the whole rig, including the trailer. That is, a 22.5 x 14-inch wheel with a 12,800-pound rating weighs 52 pounds, so obviously, if the wheels are 47 percent lighter than a steel wheel, it takes several to achieve the 1,400-pound weight-down.)
Making the number of wheels necessary to fulfill those contracts is certainly demanding, as they are being produced in Arconic Wheel and Transportation Products facilities in Cleveland, Ohio; Monterrey, Mexico; Kofem, Hungary; and Suzhou, China.
If automotive tire upstart Amerityre can perfect its polyurethane tires, we may soon have to revise the phrase "where the rubber meets the road."
Anyone who has anything to do with the steel industry ought to go out and buy a Volvo right now.
Lead-acid batteries haven’t changed much since 1859.