A new range of premium forged aluminium wheels that use Alcoa blank technologies is being launched by Solomon Alsberg. The blanks allow these wheels to be substantially lighter, reducing both unsprung weight and total vehicle weight. Available in sizes from 19 to 22 inches, the new Eco Super Light range is expected to prove popular for a wide range of demanding applications, from race cars to high performance road cars, where its low mass and substantially reduced rotational inertia will improve handling, sharpen steering response, improve acceleration and reduce both fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.
The weight savings enabled by Alcoa’s blanks are remarkable – the 19” wheel weighs just 5.9kg compared with 11kg for a typical cast alternative. Alcoa is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of light-weight wheels for premium vehicles. The aerospace-derived metallurgy of the Alcoa blanks combined with the superior grain structure created during the manufacturing process, provides the strength and durability required to create ultra-light and highly elegant designs with thinner, lighter sections.
By producing the new wheels from standard, pre-shaped blanks, Solomon Alsberg can create a wide range of stylish designs in relatively low volumes. “Working with Alcoa has allowed us to make state-of-the-art wheel technology available in this exclusive market sector, without any significant limitation on our creative freedom,” explains Alexander Razinkin, marketing director of Solomon Alsberg Ltd. The ability to create different wheel styles from a single blank allows the rapid and cost-effective launch of multiple forged wheel programmes.
The importance of wheel weight is highlighted by David Yates, commercial manager for Alcoa Auto Wheel Products, Europe. “The negative impact of unsprung mass on ride and handling is well known, but as wheel sizes increase the rotational inertia also becomes important,” he explains. “A lot of energy is needed to accelerate and decelerate a heavy wheel. A fast-rotating rim also has a significant gyroscopic affect that affects steering feel and response. Taking weight out of the wheel, particularly the rim and spokes, reduces energy consumption and improves vehicle acceleration, braking, handling fuel economy and emissions.”
“We are delighted to be building on our established relationship with Solomon Alsberg,” concludes Yates. “Our blanks allow them to create stronger, lighter wheels in a range of styles, helping them to deliver a very competitive range that offers something new and compelling in the demanding high-performance and luxury market sectors.”