This latest Alcoa innovation, the Ultra ONE, will help trucks shed pounds for increased payload and fuel efficiency.

Unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville, Kentucky, Alcoa’s new 40-pound wheel is 47% lighter than steel wheels of the same size. The Ultra ONE can help save up to 1,400 pounds per rig, enabling fleets to carry more goods while meeting stringent federal emissions regulations. Underscoring the importance of lightweighting to the industry, one of America’s largest flatbed carriers, TMC Transportation, is converting its fleet to the Ultra ONE starting in 2014.

“Alcoa continues to reinvent the wheel. Our new innovation is heavy-duty without the ‘heavy,’ and it looks great, too,” said Tim Myers, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. “Alcoa’s unique mix of manufacturing, technology and lightweight metals expertise enabled this breakthrough. Major fleets, such as TMC Transportation, are already lining up to take advantage of it.”

Fleets have increasingly converted to aluminium wheels that offset the weight of necessary pollution-control equipment used to meet federal emissions regulations. Lighter wheels also improve fuel economy, making up for rising fuel prices and helping move goods in a cleaner way. And if trucks burn less fuel, they emit fewer greenhouse gases. Replacing steel wheels with aluminium wheels on an 18-wheeler offsets the annual carbon footprint of an average family of four in America. In addition, Alcoa’s aluminium 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, lower operators’ maintenance and operating costs.

“As the largest privately owned flatbed trucking company in the United States, TMC Transportation trucks haul heavy loads across America every day, and each pound we can reduce helps us lower costs and move more goods,” said Harrold W. Annett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TMC transportation. “The Ultra ONE wheel is part of our total commitment to quality, through which we reduce waste and ensure customer satisfaction.”

To take out five pounds out of its lightest heavy-duty truck wheel, Alcoa’s experts at the Alcoa Technical Centre - the world’s largest light metals research centre-invented a new alloy, the patent-pending MagnaForce alloy. It is on average 17% stronger than the industry standard, Alcoa’s 6061 alloy, in similar applications.

Alcoa’s wheels business has been launching a progression of innovations since inventing the forged aluminium wheel in 1948, widening the Company’s lead over competitors. Alcoa’s wheels business has grown at a 22% compounded annual growth rate from 2009 to 2013 with 67% of sales driven by proprietary technologies - making it one of Alcoa’s fastest growing businesses. The company is expanding its wheels presence in Europe and into China and Brazil to capture growing global demand for its wheels.