SMDI Collaborates with Lawrence Technological University and Michelin to Kick Off Second Steel Wheels Design Competition

Project provides students with real-world OEM experience and scholarship opportunities

Oct 11, 2010, 11:02 ET from Steel Market Development Institute

DETROIT, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Steel Market Development Institute's (SMDI) Wheels Task Force, 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 luxury wheels that celebrate steel.  

"Working directly with steel industry experts, automakers and wheel manufacturers, the students will gain real-world experience, while learning to communicate to consumers a more accurate performance and appearance perception for steel relative to aluminum," Ron Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications for SMDI, said. "This project gives students a solid step in preparing for their future careers, demonstrates the benefits of steel wheels and provides steel wheel manufacturers with competitive designs that can help increase their market share."

The LTU steel 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 $1,000 to $2,500 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.  

The project is integrated into the LTU curriculum and presents student designers with an opportunity to influence the growing automotive styled steel wheel market. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from LTU's transportation design department will participate in the challenge to develop two steel wheel concepts for the luxury market based on the ongoing LTU OEM projects or vehicles already on the road.

Todd Fletcher of Maxion-Fumagalli Wheels and Brian Clauw of Wheels and Wheel Trim for General Motors Company LLC will provide the LTU students with insight into the technology and background surrounding the design challenge.

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), 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 non-traditional steel markets. The Automotive Applications Council is a part of the SMDI and 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

- Chrysler Group

- Ford Motor Company

- General Motors Company LLC

- 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 Steel Market Development Institute