DETROIT, Mar. 12, 2014 – The Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Wheels Task Force, in partnership with Michelin, announced the winners of its fifth annual Steel Wheel Design Competition at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) at the program’s awards presentation last week. The event, which awarded scholarships to students for their designs that communicate the lightweighting and styling benefits of steel wheels, took place at the LTU campus in Southfield. SMDI is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
“The students did an outstanding job this year designing wheels that highlight steel’s lightweighing and durability benefits, while also creating their styling features to enhance wheel appearance,” said Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market for SMDI. “The competition not only proves to be a great way to show steel benefits to consumers, it also helps wheel makers and automotive manufacturers meet new fuel economy standards with lighter-weight wheels.”
The competition is an option within the LTU curriculum and is based on engineering results SMDI’s Lightweight Steel Wheel Project. Students were tasked with designing an advanced alloy steel wheel that communicates the lightweighting and styling benefits of steel in the competitive wheel market. The renderings and steel wheel features were judged by a panel of steel experts, automotive designers, engineers and wheel manufacturers on the following criteria: material celebration; changing customer perception by communicating environmental issues and performance; creativity through a unique and innovative design that maintains functionality; and an executed design concept that complements the vehicle’s aesthetics.
The winning wheel designs included:
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 23 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.
- Elizaveta Bondarenko – Designed for the GMC Terrain, Bondarenko’s lightweight 17” steel wheel features inspiration from the vehicle’s exterior design and its grill to come up with the idea to insert the mesh pattern into the wheel. This creates a unique and innovative look, as well as better aerodynamics;
- Elizabeth Steenwyk – Designed to integrate classic Volkswagen lines and a sporty feel into a lightweight steel wheel for the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Turbo, Steenwyk’s concept is a drop-center wheel, which reduces the amount of material used. It also features a groove along the spokes, where a black rubber insert with a yellow pin stripe sits. The pinstripe echoes the iconic rush exterior of the GSR to create a sportier, powerful design that better fits the Beetle; and
- Peter Corey – Designed for a Fiat 500, Corey’s 17” steel wheel features several layers, including folded-over steel for a 3-D effect, bent sides and welded sheets. The unique, lightweight design mimics an eagle’s wings when it’s swooping down from the sky.
SMDI grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit www.autosteel.org or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/smdisteel.
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Senior Director, Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4763 / 586.634.1766
Manager, Automotive Communications
Steel Market Development Institute