Accuride Corp.’s newly acquired patented metal matrix composite (MMC) technology plays a crucial role in the global commercial vehicle supplier’s research and development of advanced lightweight Gunite brake drums and wheel end components.
The company acquired the technology from Century-3 Plus, last year as part of its commitment to the development of lightweight Gunite wheel components that deliver significant fuel, weight and operating cost savings. The preliminary development program, which creates high-performance, lightweight Gunite-brand brake drums, is a vital part of Accuride’s component lightweighting initiatives to help the commercial vehicle industry conform to upcoming Phase II greenhouse gas regulations presented by the U.S. EPA.
Accuride President and CEO Rick Dauch said in a statement that over the years, they have invested in processes and technologies that help their customers remain competitive and compliant. He noted that through their lightweight MMC brake drum development and wheel lightweighting programs, they are focused on creating industry-leading technologies that offer their customers with solutions to the requirements of increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions regulations.
Included in the anticipated benefits of the lightweight Gunite MMC brake drum in development are as follows: increased payload, enhanced performance, reduced stopping distance, longer product life, and huge weight reduction.
The MMC technology blends highly-engineered cast aluminum with a reinforced MMC wear surface to form a resilient and robust yet lightweight patent protected brake drum. The drum is perfectly suitable to an array of off-highway, commercial vehicle and military applications where weight savings is more important than anything else, yet without compromising durability and performance.
At around 61 lbs., the patent protected MMC aluminum brake drum currently in development by Accuride, is capable of delivering huge weight reduction – as much as 100 lbs. per axle over standard cast drums. This represents almost 300 lb. savings for a usual 3-axle Class 8 tractor. Moreover, the lightweight MMC brake drum has shown quicker heat dissipation, enhanced braking performance and a longer lifespan than standard cast drums.
Accuride expects an 18 to 24-month development ramp-up to fully commercialize the lightweight drum technology.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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