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Alcoa rolls out lighter, more efficient wheel

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, truck wheels, aluminum wheels, TMC Transportation, Harrold Annett, aluminum, Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc. has introduced a lighter heavy-duty truck wheel that the company said could help fleets reduce freight costs and fuel consumption.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer’s “Ultra One” wheel, weighing in at 40 pounds, is 47-percent lighter than a steel wheel of similar dimensions and could trim up to 1,400 pounds per rig, Alcoa said in a statement March 27.

The new wheel, which uses a new patented alloy, is 17-percent stronger than standard wheels made with 6061 alloy, Alcoa said. The company’s wheels business has enjoyed a compounded annual growth rate of 22 percent from 2009 to 2013, with 67 percent of the sales driven by propriety technologies, it added.

TMC Transportation plans to use the new wheel, company chairman and chief executive officer Harrold W. Annett said in the statement. “Each pound we can reduce helps us lower costs and move more goods,” he said.

Des Moines, Iowa-based TMC bills itself as the largest privately owned flatbed trucking company in the United States.

Alcoa said it is also looking to expand its wheels business in Europe, China and Brazil.

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