Accuride developing lightweight aluminum brake drum

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Accuride announced at Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week that it’s developing a lightweight Gunite brake drum, using patented metal matrix composite (MMC) technology it acquired the rights to develop last July.

The company says its new Gunite aluminum brake drum will help OEMs achieve GHG17 fuel economy targets. The technology was acquired from Century-3 Plus LLC last year. At a press briefing during HDAW, Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch said the new drum will weigh about 61 lbs (a 46% reduction compared to currently available products), totaling a weight reduction of 100 lbs per axle or 300 lbs on a typical three-axle truck. It will also be available for trailers for further weight savings.

Gunite's MMC brake drum, currently in development.
Gunite’s MMC brake drum, currently in development.

Meanwhile, testing has shown the aluminum drum demonstrates more rapid heat dissipation, offers shorter stopping distances than current drum brakes and will last longer than traditional drums.

Dauch admitted he was initially skeptical of the claims made by the drum’s initial developer, but thorough testing by Accuride determined they were true and resulted in the company investing in the technology.

Initial development of the lightweight brake drum was funded in part by the US military, and Gunite will offer the finished product for military applications, Dauch said.

The MMC drum combines cast aluminum with a selectively reinforced MMC wear surface to form a durable, yet lightweight patent-protected brake drum, the company announced. Dauch said the MMC drum will restore Gunite to a position of technological leadership.

Prototypes are being built and fleet testing will begin later this year. Dauch indicated it will be 18-24 months before the product hits the market.



James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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