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Accuride develops lightweight Gunite wheel end components

News International-French

1 Feb 2016

The supplier of components to the global commercial vehicle industry discussed its acquired patented metal matrix composite (MMC) technology. Accuride President and CEO Rick Dauch explained the central role the MMC technology plays in the company’s research and development of advanced lightweight Gunite brake drums and wheel end components.

Accuride acquired the MMC technology assets from Century-3 Plus, L.L.C. in 2015 as part of its commitment to develop lightweight Gunite wheel end components capable of delivering substantial weight, fuel and operating cost savings. The initial development program – creating high-performance, lightweight Gunite-brand brake drums – is an integral part of Accuride’s component lightweighting initiatives to help the commercial vehicle industry comply with upcoming Phase II greenhouse gas regulations posed by the U.S. EPA.

The expected benefits of the lightweight Gunite MMC brake drum in development include: weight reduction, longer product life, reduced stopping distance, improved performance and ncreased payload.

Patent protected brake drum R&D underway
Accuride’s MMC technology combines highly-engineered cast aluminum with a selectively reinforced MMC wear surface to form a durable and resilient yet lightweight patent protected brake drum. The drum is well-suited to a range of commercial vehicle, off-highway and military applications where weight savings is paramount, yet without sacrificing performance or durability.

At approximately 61 lbs., the patent protected MMC aluminum brake drum Accuride is developing is capable of delivering significant weight reduction – as much as 100 lbs. per axle over standard cast drums. That represents an approximately 300 lb. savings for a typical 3-axle Class 8 tractor. The lightweight MMC brake drum also has demonstrated more rapid heat dissipation, improved braking performance and a longer lifespan than traditional cast drums.

Accuride anticipates an 18 to 24-month development ramp-up to commercialization of the lightweight drum technology.

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