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Team Aims to Develop Lightest Weight Steel Wheel

Aug. 5, 2011
SMDI task force will deliver cost-effective, stylish design for automakers
The Steel Market Development Institute’s Wheels Task Force plans to develop a lightweight high-strength steel wheel with a cost-effective design and manufacturing process. The group includes executives of a number of integrated steelmakers, automakers, and wheel manufacturers like Accuride, Hayes Lemmerz, and Topy America, among others. The Wheels Task Force will explore opportunities to reduce weight and cost compared to traditional steel and cast aluminum designs. The project leaders say they will develop “the lightest weight steel wheel structure design that will be complemented with state-of-the-art styling.” The results are expected later this year. The SMDI is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute. Its mission is to “grow and maintain” steel usage in various markets (automotive, construction, container) by developing strategies for cost-effective applications. It also identifies “new growth opportunities” for steel in emerging markets. “This project is a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of steel wheels, including the ability to help lightweight a vehicle beyond its structure,” explained Nucor Corp. metallurgist Jackie Stachowski, who chairs the Wheels Task Force. “Steel has made progress in recent years in the automotive wheels market,” Stachowski continued. “With the advantage of the new lightweight high-strength steels, we hope to develop a steel wheel that automakers and consumers will find even more competitive in terms of weight, cost, and design, which we anticipate will further increase the market share of steel wheels.”