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Accuride Previews Lightweight Composite Brake Drum

January 27, 2016

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Accuride's MMC brake drum could save up to 100 pounds per axle. Photo: Accuride
Accuride's MMC brake drum could save up to 100 pounds per axle. Photo: Accuride

Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch spoke about the company’s recently acquired metal matrix composite technology during a briefing at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week, explaining the role MMC would play in Accuride’s lightweight components.

Accuride acquired the MMC technology from Century-3 Plus in 2015 to develop its lightweight Gunite wheel end components. The Gunite brake drums are part of Accuride’s component lightweighting initiatives to help the trucking industry comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming Phase 2 greenhouse gas regulations.

The company has invested in processes and technologies to keep its customers compliant, Dauch said, and with lightweight technology like MMC, it is positioning itself to meet future regulations as well.

The MMC technology combines cast aluminum with a selectively reinforced MMC wear surface to form a durable but lightweight brake drum. The drum can fit a range of applications, including commercial vehicle, off-highway, and military.

Expected benefits of Gunite MMC brake drum development include significant weight reduction, longer product life, reduced stopping distance, better performance and increased payload.

At around 61 pounds, the MMC aluminum brake drum that Accuride is developing can reduce weight by as much as 100 pounds per axle over standard cast drums. In a 3-axle Class 8 trailer, the savings can add up to 300 pounds.

In addition to the weight reduction, the MMC brake drum has also demonstrated more rapid heat dissipation, improved braking performance and a longer lifespan than traditional cast drums, per the company.

Accuride anticipates it will take 18 to 24 months of development to ramp up to commercialization of the lightweight drum technology.

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