AISI in Collaboration with Lawrence Technological University and Michelin Kick Off Steel Wheels Design Competition

Project provides students with real-world experience and scholarship opportunities

Jan 19, 2010, 10:50 ET from American Iron and Steel Institute

DETROIT, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wheels Task Force of AISI's Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) in partnership with Southfield, Mich.-based Lawrence Technological University (LTU) and Michelin kicked off a steel wheel competition Saturday for transportation design students to develop conceptual wheels that celebrate steel.  

"This is a great opportunity for the students to gain real-world experience by working with automakers, suppliers and steel industry experts, while also helping to communicate to consumers a more accurate performance and appearance  perception for steel relative to aluminum," said Ron Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications for AISI's SMDI. "Our hope is that this project will prepare these students for their future careers, demonstrate the benefits of steel wheels and provide steel wheel manufacturers with competitive designs that can help increase their market share."

The LTU wheels project will highlight the significant gains steel wheels are achieving with automakers through innovative styling, higher profit margins, lower warranty costs, competitive weight and superior durability.

Three scholarship prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500 will be awarded to the students based on several criteria including: 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. Students are also encouraged to generate tire-tread graphics for tire manufacturers.

The project is integrated into the LTU curriculum and presents student designers with a rare opportunity to influence the growing automotive styled steel wheel market. Freshman, sophomores and juniors from LTU's transportation design department will participate in the challenge to develop two steel wheel concepts based on the ongoing LTU original equipment manufacturer (OEM) projects. The assignments include a Ford Mustang that will cater to 2025 consumers, a "2020 comeback story to Dodge cars" for Chrysler and a Chevrolet for General Motors Corp.    

Brian Clauw and Dan Magda, of Wheels and Wheel Trim for General Motors, and Todd Fletcher and Andre' Buoro of Maxion-Fumagalli Wheels provided the LTU students with insight into the technology and background surrounding the design challenge.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and through its business unit, SMDI, conducts research with its member companies in partnership with its customers to advance the use of steel in the marketplace.  

The Automotive Applications Council is a part of AISI's Steel Market Development Institute. The council focuses on advancing the use of steel in the highly competitive automotive market. For more news or information, visit

AISI's Steel Wheels Task Force Member Companies:

  • Accuride Corporation
  • AK Steel Corporation
  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • ArcelorMittal USA
  • ArvinMeritor Wheels Division
  • Chrysler Group
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors Company
  • Hayes Lemmerz International
  • Hess Industries, Inc.
  • Lacks Wheel Trim Systems
  • Maxion-Fumagalli Wheels
  • Nucor Corporation
  • PPG Industries Inc.
  • Severstal North America Inc.
  • Topy America, Inc.
  • United States Steel Corporation

SOURCE American Iron and Steel Institute