Three Lightweight, Cost-Saving Technologies Provide Solutions
for Heavy Duty Truck Industry
- Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheels rolled out to North American market; 10 times more resistant to corrosion caused by road salts and weather elements
- Aluminum truck frame that is 40 percent lighter than steel frames of same size
- New aluminum alloy—VersaCast™—makes stronger, lighter, more fatigue resistant structural parts for trucks
NEW YORK and LOUISVILLE, Ky., March 27, 2015 – Broadening its innovation portfolio, lightweight, high-performance metals leader Alcoa (NYSE: AA) introduced three products that help heavy duty trucks cut maintenance costs and shed pounds for increased payload and fuel efficiency. The Company rolled out its most durable, easy-to-maintain commercial truck wheel—the Dura-Bright® EVO surface-treated wheel—in North America, unveiled a state-of-the art aluminum commercial truck frame in collaboration with Metalsa, and launched a new Alcoa-invented alloy that boosts the strength and fatigue resistance of trailer suspension components.
“Combining Alcoa’s metal science expertise and drive to innovate, we continue delivering lightweight, cost-saving solutions to transform transportation and build our value-add businesses for profitable growth,” said Tim Myers, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products.
Alcoa unveiled its innovative products at the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville, Kentucky. The products were developed in partnership with Alcoa’s experts at the Alcoa Technical Center—the world’s largest light metals research and development center outside of Pittsburgh, PA—and our manufacturing experts at our facilities in Ohio and Iowa. The Company’s expanded suite of product offerings create value through better performance, reduced weight and increased fuel efficiencies.
Dura-Bright EVO Surface-Treated Wheel
After its successful European debut, Alcoa is now rolling out its Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheel in North America. The wheel is 10 times more resistant to corrosion caused by road salts and weather elements than its predecessor, the Dura-Bright wheel with XBR® technology. Unlike competitive surface coatings that can crack, peel, corrode and dull quickly, the Dura-Bright wheel allows brilliant shine to last even after years of use, without the need for polishing. Dura-Bright is not a coating, but rather a surface treatment that penetrates the aluminum and becomes an integral part of the wheel.
“Our Dura-Bright EVO wheel is Alcoa’s easiest-to-maintain wheel yet,” said Myers. ”Standing up against the harshest weather and toughest cleaning agents, Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheels look new longer, reduce maintenance costs, and increase payload and fuel efficiency.”
The Dura-Bright EVO wheel, produced by Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, is available in North America on Alcoa’s popular LvL ONE® 22.5” x 8.25” and 24.5” x 8.25” wheels. All remaining North American fitments will shift to Dura-Bright EVO in January 2016, extending the innovation to fitments from Class 3 through 8.
Lighter Weighting Solution for Truck Frames
Developed in collaboration with Metalsa—a global supplier of light and commercial vehicle body and chassis structures—Alcoa also introduced a lightweight, all-aluminum commercial truck frame. Still in development, the lighter weight frame will reduce truck weight by over 40 percent compared to steel frames, saving nearly 900 pounds per vehicle, increasing fuel efficiency and payload. Additionally, the frame’s increased stiffness will double rigidity, enabling a smoother ride. The aluminum frame also offers superior corrosion resistance compared to steel, prolonging the vehicle’s life span.
“The lightweight truck frame will allow fleets to reduce fuel consumption, increase payload without compromising durability.” Mark Vrablec, President, Alcoa Aerospace Transportation & Industrial Products (ATI).
Experts at the Alcoa Technical Center worked with Metalsa to develop the new frame over the past two years. Demonstration projects are underway to qualify the product with customers. Existing equipment and tooling is being used to allow manufacturers to seamlessly transition to the aluminum frame, with little or no additional capital expense. The frame is expected to be available in 2018, produced using metal from Alcoa’s Global Rolled Products business.
VersaCast Alloy Makes Structural Truck Parts Lighter, Stronger
Alcoa unveiled a new alloy—VersaCast™—which outperforms cast iron up to 94% and typical aluminum alloy alternatives by at least 40%, enabling it to be used for critical structural parts in commercial trucks, such as mounting brackets for suspension systems.
Components made with the lighter, stronger new alloy are resistant to corrosion and thermal fatigue, and allow trucks to carry heavier loads due to decreased overall truck weight. Alcoa has validated the benefits of the new alloy with the support of aluminum casting supplier Eck Industries.
“VersaCast enables commercial truck manufacturers to lightweight new and legacy structures traditionally made of iron, such as hanger brackets that attach the truck’s suspension system to the vehicle frame,” said Christine Keener, Vice President, Commercial, Alcoa Casting. “It outperforms alternatives in the key areas of strength, corrosion resistance, thermal fatigue resistance and ease of casting across applications.”
VersaCast has two times less density than iron and offers differentiated material that can be produced in high volume applications. “Alcoa is filling a significant need with VersaCast,” said Keener. “Enabling the use of more lightweight material with greater performance on commercial trucks solves multiple objectives at once.”
Alcoa is further expanding its presence on critical structural parts of automotive vehicles. VersaCast is currently in customer trials and has received positive feedback.
A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and today, our approximately 59,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.
This release contains statements that relate to future events and expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as “estimates,” “expects,” “potential,” “should,” “will,” or other words of similar meaning. All statements that reflect Alcoa’s expectations, assumptions or projections about the future other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding growth opportunities for aluminum in commercial vehicles and the heavy duty truck industry; the potential benefits and advantages of new technologies, alloys, materials or processes; the expected timing for commercial availability of the new all-aluminum commercial truck frame; and Alcoa’s strategies, outlook, and business and financial prospects. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements include: material adverse changes in aluminum industry conditions; unfavorable changes in the markets served by Alcoa, including the commercial transportation market; failure to advance or successfully implement, or to realized expected benefits from, new technologies, alloys or innovative products, including, without limitation, the Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheel, the new all-aluminum commercial truck frame, or the new VersaCastTMaluminum alloy, whether due to changes in the regulatory environment, competitive developments, failure to meet customer specifications or qualifications, or other factors; the business or financial condition of key customers, suppliers, and business partners; and the other risk factors discussed in Alcoa’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alcoa disclaims any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.