Michelin partnering with college contest to design steel wheels

Jan. 1, 2020
Michelin is among the sponsors of a competition among college transportation design students to develop conceptual luxury steel wheels under the auspices of the Steel Market Development Institute?s (SMDI) Wheels Task Force.
Michelin is among the sponsors of a competition among college transportation design students to develop conceptual luxury steel wheels under the auspices of the Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Wheels Task Force.

The competition is underway at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield, Mich.

“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,” reports Ron Krupitzer, SMDI’s vice president of automotive applications.

“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,” he says.

“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,” Krupitzer explains.

 

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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 General Motors’ wheels and wheel trim division will provide the LTU students with insight into the technology and background surrounding the design challenge.

Founded in 1932, the private university with 4,500 students pioneered evening classes and now offers a growing amount of weekend and online programs. The 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with sessions also being taught in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. It has partnerships with universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

For more information, visit www.ltu.edu and www.autosteel.org.

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