Century Inc. (Traverse City, Mich., USA) announced on Nov. 2 that one of its divisions, Century/3 Plus LLC., has successfully cast what is said to be the first ever light-weight, aluminum metal matrix composite (MMC) brake drum for a military vehicle — the FMTV.
Century has been working with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to find ways to light-weight vehicle components. Century’s drum is expected to save the FMTV up to 300 lb/136 kg of un-sprung weight, a weight savings reportedly almost unheard of for one component. The TARDEC/Century Drum weighs 45 percent less than its cast iron equivalent and lasts significantly longer.
Century’s Light-Weighting Technology enables the transition of properties found in cast iron and heavy steel to the use of light-weight alloys such as aluminum or magnesium for select components through the use of metal matrix composites. Century’s technology allows for the consistent mass production of the ceramic materials used in MMCs. TARDEC is testing the light-weight drums, which should be completed by the end of the year.
“This is an historic day and a fine example on how business and the government can work together to answer the needs of our men and women serving in the U.S. military,” said Jim McManus, new business development manager, Century/3 Plus LLC.