Accuride Corporation, a leading supplier of components to the North American commercial vehicle industry, announced the introduction of Steel Armor, a ground-breaking advance in coating technology for commercial vehicle steel wheels. This proprietary new three-phase coating process employs enhanced corrosion-fighting properties that extend steel wheel service life by up to two additional years, as compared to standard coatings currently in use in the industry.
"The introduction of our revolutionary Steel Armor coating technology ups the ante for steel wheel corrosion protection in the commercial vehicle industry," said Rick Dauch, Accuride President and CEO. "Corrosion continues to be a multi-billion-dollar problem for fleet operations, and demands a solution. Steel Armor provides that solution for steel wheels. Its premium rust protection leap-frogs other wheel coatings with its ability to dramatically reduce fleet maintenance costs. We estimate that wheels protected by Steel Armor provide up to two additional years or more of service before wheels must be removed and refinished. This new coating advances the state-of-the-art for steel wheels and represents the kind of value-driven technologies that we continue to pursue for our customers here at Accuride."
Steel Armor steel wheel powder coating technology employs a proprietary protection process that improves the look and life of steel wheels.
According to Craig Kessler, Accuride Vice President/Engineering, Steel Armor's sharp-edge protection means reduced corrosion on wheel edges, where rust tends to form first. These areas include flanges, hand holes, bolt holes and hub holes on stud- and hub-piloted steel wheels. Steel Armor contains the growth of corrosion by blocking rust at the point of entry when gouges, chips, scrapes and scratches expose the metal. Other coatings won't stop rust from getting underneath paint and expanding across the wheel's metal surface.
To prove this point, Accuride exposed wheels coated with Steel Armor to a broad range of corrosion performance tests that eclipsed traditional industry testing standards, completing 12 independently performed tests in all. These included industry-standard salt spray and chip resistance tests, plus exacting cyclic corrosion testing methods commonly used in the automotive industry that are better able to determine product performance in strenuous road and climate conditions, such as UV transmission and Xenon testing.
Heightened Coating Technology Focus
In addition to launching Steel Armor, Accuride also upgraded how the new coating is applied. In July 2013, Accuride announced it was investing more than $6 million to upgrade powder coating capacity at its Henderson, Ky., and Monterrey, Mexico wheel facilities. The new coating lines are now being installed and will launch commercially in the first quarter of 2014. These coating technology and process investments demonstrate Accuride's determination to advance the state-of-the-art in commercial vehicle wheel coatings.
"While others outsource their steel wheel coating, we're committed to keeping that expertise in-house," said Kessler. "Coatings and their application methods are among our core competencies. This means that Steel Armor is specifically formulated and precisely applied to deliver improved corrosion resistance, as well as UV and chemical durability for the tough steel wheel environment. Our confidence in its corrosion performance, value and maintenance cost avoidance for customers led us to provide it as the standard coating across our full commercial steel wheel offering."
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Part of the company’s changes, investments to expand capacity, enhance quality