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Wheel University

Only HiSpec builds The Safety Wheel.

Need more details? You’ve clicked to the right page. From our deep automotive experience in Detroit, to our latest technical papers and specification information, Wheel University is designed to become and growing asset for the engineers interested in the origin and best practices of The Safety Wheel.

Engineering Imported from Detroit

One of the goals embraced by HiSpec Wheel is to bring Detroit OEM engineering practices and standards to the trailer and RV wheel industry.

From the initial concept, through development, design, and analysis, the HiSpec team uses their 30-plus years of direct OEM involvement to ensure their products meet the same standards that automotive OEM wheels are required to sustain.

Ron Williams, HiSpec General Manager, brings 26 years of OEM engineering experience, having spent much of his career working at industry leaders including Chrysler, GM, and ZF, specializing in chassis design and development. Ron was also a key member of the Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC) and was directly involved in the testing and analysis that resulted in the development of the Safety Wheel and Improved Clamp Force technology (ICFTM). Ron is also a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and participates in the SAE wheel standards committee.

Scott Holt, principal engineer at HiSpec, has 12 years of experience in automotive engineering at Bosch Braking Systems, SACHS, and Chrysler. Scott is responsible for managing the engineering functions required in the development of automotive aluminum wheels and has led the development of the company’s ISO Quality Management System. Scott is also a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

HiSpec continuously raises the bar for RV, trailer, heavy truck and niche automotive wheel design and manufacture by bringing OEM practices and standards to the wheels they supply through the implementation of ISO practices and certification, extensive testing and the development of new technology through Improved Clamp Force (ICFTM).

Recommended Practices

Within any industry there are recognized methods and procedures – recommended practices – that are necessary to promote safety and good performance. The Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC) formed a Technical Committee tasked with investigating wheel separation and providing recommendations based on their findings.

Wheel Separation Story

In mid 2004, the RV and specialty trailer industry had been experiencing an excessive number of wheel-off events and was nearly ready to abandon aluminum wheels for trailer applications. At a Washington DC hearing of RV and trailer manufacturing representatives in September of 2004, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) addressed this dangerous issue and insisted that appropriate actions be implemented to address the wheel-off problem.

Additional meetings in September and October resulted in the formation of the Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC).  The TSIC, with money contributed by members of the RV and trailer industries, began an extensive engineering analysis to find the root cause of wheel separation and discover methods to correct and prevent further incidents.

TSIC spent over $200,000 to better understand the service loads and the load capacity of the wheel/axle joint. The load capacity studies included evaluating 42 different combinations of wheels, hubs, and lug nuts. Also, the testing included evaluation of the coefficient of friction to evaluate how the different wheels interacted with the hub.

The load capacity studies measured proving ground loads using two different tandem axle trailers — one with rubber torsion axles and one with equalized leaf springs. Both trailers were instrumented with MTS wheel force transducers and the service loads measured while the trailer was pulled over a durability course consisting of smooth roads, rough roads, and peak events like pot holes. The results on the peak events indicated that for some combinations, there would be insufficient clamp loads to avoid slip of the wheel relative to the hub, which leads directly to the wheel-off event.

HiSpec Wheel founder Brad Richards and Ron Williams, General Manager, were both members of the TSIC. The two provided technical guidance to the committee and were instrumental in moving the committee forward. The “Recommended Practices” presented to and accepted by the NHTSA not only helped the RV industry to solve the wheel-off problem; they set new and higher standards for the industry as a whole.

From this massive study, HiSpec Wheel developed the principles that make Improved Clamp Force Technology (ICFTM) a reality. This engineering breakthrough was the origin of the “Safety Wheel” specifications that HiSpec adheres to today.