Weighing in at just 18kg, the new Ultra ONE® wheel from Alcoa Wheels has been heralded the New Lightweight Champion in the world of commercial vehicle wheels.
With MagnaForceTM and Hub Bore Technology added, the new Ultra ONE® wheel is now not only the lightest, but also the strongest heavy-duty truck and trailer wheel in the market.
The New Lightweight Champion
This is the story of how this ‘not just another aluminium wheel’ is helping fleet and trailer owners shed kilos for increased payload and fuel efficiency by setting a new industry standard as the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck and trailer wheel.
Taking Things to Another Level
It was in 2009 that a new wheel took the market by storm, having reached the lightest weight then of 20.36kg. The flagship Alcoa 22.5” x 8.25” wheel had been reduced by 4.5kg’s over 20 years!
Called the Classic (88367X) range, this was the latest wheel technology in the company’s committed work towards increasing wheel strength and load ratings.
“The lighter the wheels, the greater productivity for fleets. Each kg we can reduce for trucks hauling heavy loads across long distances every day helps them lower costs and move more goods.”
– Ross Simmons | Managing Director, Howmet Wheel Systems Australia
As the inventor of the forged aluminium wheel in 1948, Howmet Wheel Systems, the Australian Distributor of Alcoa Wheels, has continued to innovate. As they say, ‘Innovation is in our DNA’, and a new alloy was born: MagnaForceTM alloy. This patented 6063 alloy is exclusive to Alcoa Wheels. Up until then, Aluminium wheels were forged using the industry standard 6061 alloy for commercial truck wheels — and had been since 1968!
In 2013, for the first time in 45 years, aluminium alloy had become the strongest yet, offering a 17% increase in strength over existing alloys. What did that mean for the industry? Higher load rating on a lighter wheel with no compromise on strength. Only Alcoa Wheels are forged with MagnaForceTM alloy.
Heavy Duty Without the Heavy
With the new MagnaForce™ alloy onboard, the then lightest wheel, the Ultra ONE® (ULTRAX) was released in 2014 (not to be confused with the NEW Ultra ONE® (ULTX)). Taking almost 2kgs out of the previous 20.36kg LvL ONE® 22.5” wheel, this new 18.55kg wheel enabled fleets to lower truck weight—saving nearly 45kg per 18-wheeler versus the previous lightest option—increasing payload and fuel economy while lowering maintenance costs.
The extra strength of the MagnaForce™ alloy meant the wheels could maintain a load of 3,360kg – that of the classic wheel – while lightening the truck and trailer.
Another new technology was added, too:
The hub bore groove technology, designed to reduce metal-to-metal contact in the hub, minimizing the surface area where corrosion can form by more than half (up to 64%, in fact), and thus allowing for easier wheel removal during maintenance.
Not Just Another Aluminium Wheel
In order to meet carbon emission regulations at Truck OEM’s, fleets are switching to lighter-weight wheels more and more to offset the weight of technologies needed to remove air pollutants from diesel engine exhausts.
Lighter-weight, lower-maintenance wheels also help trucks improve fuel economy to help make up for rising fuel prices and move goods in a cleaner, more fuel-efficient way.
In addition to their lighter weight, Alcoa® LvL ONE® finished wheels are six times brighter than competitors’ wheels, giving them strong aesthetic appeal, and because they are corrosion resistant and do not require stripping and repainting, they lower operators’ maintenance and operating costs.