The Forged Hybrid Wheel for Commercial Vehicles, a Robust Design for Augmented Product Service and Performance 2015-26-0068
A “WHEEL” is one of those auto component in a vehicle which necessitates equal attention from safety, ergonomics and aesthetic perspectives. A conventional tube type wheel for commercial vehicles is made of steel with steel side rings (multi-piece construction). In course as headway in wheel design the single piece wheels were developed which used the tubeless tires. These wheels were made available in both steel and aluminum versions. Wherein the aluminum wheels were lighter in weight than steel, aesthetically more appealing and had other significant advantages. Despite the advantages of these tubeless tire wheels, the end user had to invest for both wheels and tubeless tires to replace conventional tube type steel wheels. The retro-fitment calls for higher exchange cost of wheel and tire and this process stands to be more capitalistic to the end user wherein the payback period was longer. To overcome this monetary situation and without renouncing the advantages of aluminum material, the “FORGED HYBRID WHEEL” was developed to be used with tube type tires. This wheel has a basic construction of forged aluminum wheel base and steel side rings for locking the tire. Surface treatment on the mating surface of steel and aluminum ensures the minimal wear in the hybrid construction. This wheel overcomes the investment on tires, since the existing tube type tires can be used while replacement, and offers all the advantages of aluminum usage such reduction in un-sprung mass of the vehicle which leads to weight saving in buses and trucks to around 41 % as a component and around 18 % in net as wheel and tire assembly. Reduction in weight of the steering system through wheel weight reduction lowers the driver fatigue. As a consequence of reduced weight the fuel economy increases on an average 3% to 5%. Higher emissivity of the material of the product results in dissipating heat generated during service faster (almost double that of the steel) thereby improving the tire life still further. Having in view the cost difference between aluminum and steel, the pay back for the investment can calculated to less than a year. Not only with the tires but also this product does a cooler service with other mating parts thereby improving their life and performance. Real time simulation using the road load data also unravels the superior fatigue life of this product as compared with the steel counterpart.