Alcoa Wheel and Transportation staged an opening this week for a new wheel manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China, it’s first in that country. "With the growth of China's infrastructure and the success Alcoa's wheel products have seen in the Chinese market over the past several years, it was a natural choice to further expand our global manufacturing footprint by building a facility that could manufacture our products locally," stated Tim Myers, president of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products.

The Suzhou plant machines and finishes forged wheels, which Alcoa produces for commercial vehicles, trailers, and buses at plants in Cleveland, Ohio; Székesfehérvár, Hungary; Naoetsu Japan; and Ciénega de Flores, Nuevo León, México.

AWTP is headquartered in Cleveland, and manufactures components for commercial vehicles, passenger cars, and defense markets. Its forged wheels are marketed as premium products, including Dura-Bright, Dura-Flange, LvL ONE and M-Series medium truck wheels.

Forged aluminum wheels are stronger than cast aluminum wheels, Alcoa maintains, because the solid grain of the metal is less prone to porosity than cast materials. The company also recently invested in research to demonstrate that aluminum wheels have a more favorable environmental impact than steel wheels.

AWTP has been marketing its forged wheels in the Chinese market for eight years, building a sales and distribution network.

"We are thrilled that our new facility is located in Wuzhong, part of the Suzhou municipal district, a city currently seeing enormous growth," Myers added.