Manufacturing - Holey truck frames


Heavy trucks are a little less heavy but just as safe and rugged because of steel rail frames provided by Metalsa Roanoke, which enlisted the help of Cam Hubbard and the High Temperature Materials Laboratory User Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. By working with ORNL, the Virginia manufacturer has refined a hole-cutting method that could cut 100 pounds to 200 pounds per truck for frames alone. This is the result of some beneficial residual effects of current hole-cutting methods. Metalsa supplies side rails and chassis components to about half of the North American heavy truck market, including Peterbilt, Kenworth, Volvo/Mack and Freightliner. Hubbard used the lab's neutron scattering residual stress mapping facility to determine the state of residual stresses associated with four different methods to cut holes in the steel. Through this effort, Metalsa hopes to eventually save up to 30 million pounds of steel per year. Total annual fuel savings on 150,000 trucks driven 100,000 miles is estimated to be 3.8 million gallons. This work was funded through the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  November 05, 2009

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