CLEVELAND--Alcoa's (NYSE:AA) aluminum top plate forging enabled SAF-HOLLAND to shed 100 pounds in weight and to integrate NoLube® technology in the world's lightest and first commercially available aluminum fifth wheel for tractor-trailers.
"Our product development team applied our rolling wheel technology and leading aluminum alloy expertise to SAF-HOLLAND's fifth wheel requirements in providing the system's most significant weight-savings element, the aluminum top plate," said Larry Mueller, Director of Technology Alcoa Forged and Cast Products. Alcoa Forged and Cast Products in Cleveland, Ohio, manufactures the Holland and Alcoa branded fifth wheel.
Aluminum has been the lightweight, high-strength material of choice for the trucking industry to realize significant operational savings and safely increase cargo loads for many years. "With our aluminum top-plate inside, SAF-HOLLAND can now offer truck component distributors and truck builders the opportunity to incorporate a weight-saving part as an 'install and haul' replacement or original-equipment option," Mueller said.
"The response from all segments of the trucking industry-from manufacturers to trucking companies and owner-operators-has been very promising. They immediately recognized how Alcoa and SAF-HOLLAND have responded to increasing truck weight and maintenance with this new, forged-tough component," said SAF-HOLLAND's Scott Fowler at March's Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky. "When truckers swap out an old fifth wheel with our model, they immediately generate more revenue per mile with the added capacity on their very next load," he said.
"Alcoa's innovative forging also allowed us to integrate our NoLube features on this new fifth wheel to offer added value to our customers," said Fowler. The NoLube fifth wheel eliminates grease use on the top plate, between the top plate and bracket, and in the lock mechanism; reduces maintenance time; decreases grease in the maintenance shop for enhanced environmental sensitivity; and saves on steer tire wear and cost as a result of a more consistent turning effort.
In SAF-HOLLAND's laboratory and track tests, the aluminum fifth wheel passed all requirements to achieve a rating of 55,000-pound maximum vertical load and 150,000-pound maximum drawbar pull. The field tests put the fifth wheel on tankers, bulk haulers, and flatbeds hauling beverages, steel, cement, fuel, bulk foods, and waste.
About Alcoa Forged and Cast Products
Alcoa Forged and Cast Products, Cleveland, Ohio, is a division of Alcoa Power and Propulsion. Alcoa Power and Propulsion is a global leader in airfoil and structural investment castings, forged structural parts, and forged aircraft wheels. Serving the aerospace, defense, energy and industrial markets, its products are primarily used in jet engines and industrial gas turbines. Additional value-added products and services include hot isostatic pressing, specialty coatings, research and development, supply chain management, specialty tools, molds, and machinery. With 29 production facilities, Alcoa Power and Propulsion employs more than 11,000 people worldwide. More information can be found at www.alcoapowerandpropulsion.com.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap® foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa® wheels, and Baco® household wraps. Among its other businesses are closures, fastening systems, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 123,000 employees in 44 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com.
SAF-HOLLAND is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of quality-engineered components, systems and services to the heavy duty commercial vehicle industry. These products include fifth wheels, landing gear, air and mechanical suspensions, axle and braking systems, kingpins, pintle hooks, drawbars, couplers, lift gates and roll formed components. SAF-HOLLAND products are sold and serviced under the SAF and Holland brand names from over 4,600 distributor and OEM locations around the world. Among its other businesses are modular home setting systems, agricultural aeration equipment and customer roll forming services. More information can be found at www.safholland.com