Accuride launches new coating for steel wheels; extends service life by up to two years

by James Menzies

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Accuride has announced the development of a new coating technology for steel wheels, which it says will extend service life by two years.

The new Steel Armor coating will better protect against corrosion, and will be available at no additional cost compared to today’s process, the company announced in a Webinar with journalists. The new coating will be available in January 2014, Accuride announced.

“The introduction of our revolutionary Steel Armor coating technology ups the ante for steel wheel corrosion protection in the commercial vehicle industry,” said Rich 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 leapfrogs other wheel coatings with its ability to dramatically reduce fleet maintenance costs.”

Accuride conducted extensive testing and found that steel wheels with Steel Armor coatings can be run two additional years before they need to be removed and refinished. This can provide cost savings of about $630 per truck, company representatives said. They also provide better UV durability, boasting a 90% gloss retention compared to today’s standard of 75%, so that wheels continue to look better longer, officials said.

Accuride has instead more than $6 million into powder coating technologies at its plans in Henderson, Ky. and Monterrey, Mexico.

“While others outsource their steel wheel coating, we’re committed to keeping that expertise in-house,” said Craig Kessler, vice-president of engineering with Accuride. “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.”

The new coating is especially effective around perforated edges, preventing rust from getting in underneath the paint where it can spread, the company claims. The Steel Armor coating will be made standard on all steel wheels beginning in January.

The development of Steel Armor caps a three-year, $90-million investment into Accuride’s wheel-end businesses.

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