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Alcoa Ultra ONE Wheel on a road at sunset

Tipping in Favour of Bigger Payloads With Lighter Wheels


When the Fenix Newhaul JV (Fenix Resources and Newhaul) partnered up to move 1.3 million tonnes per annum of high-grade ore from their Iron Ridge project to the Geraldton port, they needed reliable and durable equipment for the project.

At some 490km, the haul distance is longer than other mines. And a longer haul distance means more maintenance and increased costs.

Elevated operating costs across the mining industry due to those long distances on tough roads and in harsh conditions makes optimising payload capacity an important decision.

Bruce Rock Engineering are no stranger to servicing this industry and were contracted by the Fenix Newhaul JV to build for them a fleet of PBS approved side tipping quad axle triple road trains.

With a payload up to 120t carried on 3 trailers per truck, these road trains haul iron ore from their Iron Ridge Mine, 67 kilometres north of Cue (in the Merchison), to the port of Geraldton.

Alcoa Ultra ONE Wheel roll stamp showing authenticity

Designed and tested in the tough conditions of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Bruce Rock’s side tippers are fitted with Alcoa Ultra ONE wheels for their durability.

The trailers are engineered to keep payloads up and maintenance down, and boast quick and easy operation with simple, accessible hydraulic systems that help keep trailers on the road and down time to a minimum. With tare weights ranging from 6.5-8.5 tonnes, the tippers have been customised to suit what Fenix Newhaul JV were looking for.

Bruce Rock’s road train trailers are built and rigorously tested to weather some of the harshest environments encountered by the heavy hauling industry, especially the mining sector, and this is factored into every aspect of their design and build – right down to the wheels.

Lightening the Wheel to Increase the Load

Howmet Wheel Systems, the Australian Distributor for Alcoa® Wheels, who have recently released their lightest wheel in the market, the Ultra ONE® wheel, were approached to supply the 18kg wheels for the trailer build. 

This is a great fit with Bruce Rock Engineering’s dedication to manufacturing trailers and other custom transport equipment with some of the lowest tare weights in Australia.

The only way to boost payload capacity is to take weight off the trailer, and using lighter wheels that meet gross axle weight rating requirements can make a difference by a couple of hundred kilos, depending on the number of axles (and therefore, wheels) on the rig.

Optimizing tare weight of our trailers is a cornerstone of what we do at BRE,” says Keenan Verhoogt, Bruce Rock Engineering’s Tyre & Mechanical Manager. “Using lighter, stronger materials like Alcoa’s Ultra series of wheels means significant productivity gains for our customers”.  

Added Strength to Match Added Payload

Combining lightweight, strength and durability is behind Howmet’s commitment to helping fleet owners and OEMs optimise their bottom line. Alcoa Wheels are forged with MagnaForce® alloy – the strongest alloy on the market yet – making them 17 percent stronger than the industry standard alloy, which allows for lighter wheels without compromising on their strength.

The wheels’ patent-pending ‘Hub Bore Technology’, which reduces the hub-to-wheel contact area by up to 64% versus other aluminium wheels on the market, means there is less surface area exposed for corrosion to form, therefore adding to the equipment’s reduced maintenance labour cost, with wheel removal becoming quicker and easier, too.

Teaming up with OEMs like Bruce Rock Engineering to bring reliable equipment to market supports Howmet Wheel Systems’ drive to help fleet owners and OEMs optimise their and their customers’ bottom line.

This article has also been published in Big Rigs National Road Transport Newspaper (Issue: 5 March 2021)

Make Sure It's An Alcoa Wheel

Alcoa Ultra ONE Wheel with hub cover casting a shadow

Our customers range from large OEMs like Bruce Rock Engineering to small-medium fleet owners. When buying a new trailer for your operation, consider Alcoa Wheels as a long term option. 

To spec your wheels, ring 1800 955 191 to talk with our wheel experts, or fill out a contact form and we will reach out to you to answer your questions and discuss your specifications.

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