Aluminium wheels maintain their dominance in 2024

As we enter 2024, the perennial debate between aluminium and steel in the truck wheel industry persists.

This ongoing discourse delves into the nuances of these metals, exploring their advantages, disadvantages, and manufacturing processes. As advocates of aluminium wheel innovation, we assert our preference for aluminium, offering a comprehensive breakdown of why aluminium wheels continue to surpass their steel counterparts.

Lighter weight for greater efficiency

The unequivocal advantage of choosing lighter forged aluminium wheels lies in their ability to enhance overall fuel efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Contrary to misconceptions, forged aluminium wheels possess high yield strength and significant elongation, ensuring durability. Beyond being lighter than steel, they also boast superior strength and durability, increasing freight capacity and generating maintenance savings for heightened productivity and lower lifetime operating costs.

Fuel efficiency and weight savings

Forged aluminium wheels contribute to quick payback through fuel savings, enhanced freight productivity, and maintenance savings. Technological advancements significantly reduce wheel weight, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. The Alcoa ULT36 Ultra One wheel, weighing only 16kg, exemplifies substantial weight reduction, further enhancing fuel efficiency and environmental benefits.

A forged wheel from Alcoa Wheels withstands a load of 71,200 kg before deforming, while the rim of the steel wheel already deforms at 13,600 kg. Image: Howmet Wheel Systems

Maintenance advantages

The maintenance advantages of aluminium wheels become evident in their resistance to continuous refurbishing activities required by steel wheels. Aluminium wheels eliminate the need for rust removal, repainting, or touch-ups, providing a significant advantage in harsh environments.

Proprietary surface treatments, such as Alcoa DuraBright, ensure durability, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing the vehicle’s appearance.

Heat dissipation and extended equipment life

Forged aluminium wheels excel in heat dissipation, crucial in environments with frequent stops and starts, such as refuse trucks. This feature contributes to a longer tyre and brake life. Heat indicator sensors on Alcoa aluminium wheels alert when excessive heat occurs, ensuring timely maintenance and preventing incidents.

Enhanced image and comfortable ride

Forged aluminium wheels not only bring pride to fleets but also offer a smoother ride. Being 100 per cent CNC machined eliminates runout and vibrations, enhancing the overall comfort of the trip.

Choosing between aluminium and steel wheels remains a crucial decision in 2024. While steel wheels may be initially cheaper, the increasing maintenance requirements over time should be considered. Forged aluminium wheels provide lifetime advantages, contributing to improved efficiency, reduced maintenance costs, and an overall enhanced vehicle appearance. The decision ultimately boils down to prioritising value over the equipment’s lifespan and navigating available choices for long-term planning. In this ongoing debate, aluminium wheels continue to assert their dominance, offering a compelling solution for the evolving needs of the trucking industry.

Contact us at Howmet Wheel Systems on 1800 955 191. You can also drop us an email at alcoawheels.sales@howmet.com or visit alcoawheels.com.au.

Also, don’t forget to follow Alcoa on Facebook at alcoawheelsaustralia for all the latest updates.

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