TipperLite®: the aluminum alloy optimized to build tipper trucks

Tipper trucks are heavy-duty vehicles, transporting sand, gravel, agricultural products or demolition waste on construction sites or mines. The continuous transporting and unloading of loose, often sharp goods demand the utmost of the tipper body, and in particular of the bottom plate. Improving the abrasion resistance is one of the biggest challenges in tipper truck engineering. In collaboration with a number of tipper truck manufacturers, Aleris developed TipperLite®, a 5000 series aluminum alloy optimized to build tipper trucks. TipperLite® offers excellent abrasion resistance and combines high hardness and strength with superior bending capacity.


A special alloy design process

The challenge was two-fold: developing a material with high hardness and strength and with excellent abrasion resistance. In order to increase the strength of the material, Aleris R&D tested several new chemical compositions to reach higher mechanical properties. It took some time to find the right balance between the different components, but an alloy of aluminum, silicon, iron, magnesium and manganese and some other elements turned out to be the best chemical composition for TipperLite®.

The rolling process also plays an important role in determining the strength and hardness of the material. Aleris R&D has extensively tested the parameters in order to find the right hot rolling process. Temperature has an effect on the structure of the material and the degree of thickness reduction also has an influence on the hardness of the material.

“Our plant in Koblenz invested heavily in the production of hot rolling. Thanks to this state-of-the-art equipment, we can optimize the rolling process for different alloys. It allowed us to further increase the hardness of the material and its resistance to wear. TipperLite® is a high strength material with proven, excellent abrasion resistance,” says Theo Bot, Marketing and Product Manager at Aleris.

All material samples (ranging from 5 to 10 mm in thickness) have been tested in an external test laboratory in Germany. TipperLite® showed excellent results in both the Erichsen1 and Taber2 wear resistance tests.


Outstanding bending capacity

For tipper truck manufacturers, it is also important that the alloy can easily be processed and combined with the other materials, for example used in the sides of the tipper. TipperLite® has outstanding bending capabilities which lead to more design freedom for manufacturers. 

Tipperlite® can be bent to angles of more than 90° with the radii indicated. Furthermore, it is ideally suited for welding in combination with common filler metals. The new material can be built into existing designs (as a drop-in-solution) or be incorporated in newly developed products. Thanks to these specific properties, Tipperlite® can be combined with all other existing alloys without problems. This allows for producing bottom plates that are larger than the standard truck width. With Tipperlite®, bottom plates with a maximum standard width of 2500 mm are possible.

Using Tipperlite® allows tipper truck manufacturers low-maintenance costs because it requires less repair work due to its enhanced durability.

Benefits of TipperLite®   

• Excellent abrasion resistance
• High hardness and strength
• Superior bending capacity
• Ideally suited for welding
• Excellent corrosion resistance
• Durable/extended service life
• Low maintenance and repair costs
• Higher level of design freedom due to excellent processability
• Property profile geared to specific needs in tipper truck construction