Accuride has introduced Steel Armor, calling it a “ground-breaking advance” in coating technology for commercial vehicle steel wheels. This proprietary new three-phase coating process employs enhanced corrosion-fighting properties that extend steel-wheel service life by up to two additional years, as compared to standard coatings currently in use in the industry.
Steel Armor’s premium rust protection leap-frogs other wheel coatings with its ability to dramatically reduce fleet maintenance costs, Accuride claims. The new powder-coating technology employs a proprietary protection process that provides sharp-edge protection, which means reduced corrosion on wheel edges, where rust tends to form first. These areas include flanges, hand holes, bolt holes, and hub holes on stud- and hub-piloted steel wheels. The coating contains the growth of corrosion by blocking rust at the point of entry when gouges, chips, scrapes, and scratches expose the metal. Other coatings, according to Accuride, won’t stop rust from getting underneath paint and expanding across the wheel’s metal surface.
To prove the point, Accuride says it exposed wheels coated with Steel Armor to a broad range of corrosion performance tests that eclipsed traditional industry testing standards, completing 12 independently performed tests in all. These included industry-standard salt-spray and chip-resistance tests, plus exacting cyclic corrosion testing methods commonly used in the automotive industry that are better able to determine product performance in strenuous road and climate conditions, such as UV transmission and Xenon testing.
Accuride has also upgraded how the new coating is applied, having invested more than $6 million to upgrade powder-coating capacity at its Kentucky and Mexico wheel facilities. The new coating lines are now being installed and will launch commercially in the first quarter of 2014.