Powersports is a subcategory of motorsports and includes any vehicle where the participant isn’t enclosed but rather sits in a saddle-type seat. Vehicles such as ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, personal aircraft, and jet skis are all powersports vehicles. So where do aluminum forgings fit into powersports? In this article, we discuss how aluminum forgings benefit the powersports industry and also what the future of aluminum and powersports will look like.
HOW ALUMINUM FORGINGS BENEFIT THE POWERSPORTS INDUSTRY
When considering the needs of a powersports vehicle, there are a few benefits that come to mind: strength, minimal weight, flexibility, and finish. Aluminum offers them all, which is why this alloy is the number one choice for powersports vehicle components. Let’s take a look at each of these benefits:
- STRENGTH – The aluminum that’s used in manufacturing is not in its purest form. Pure aluminum is quite soft and has a natural chemical reactive makeup, so it’s mixed with other elements such as magnesium, zinc, copper, silicon, or other alloys. This mixture gives aluminum a strength-to-weight ratio that outperforms steel. When aluminum is forged, the grain structure of the billet is transformed from being straight to flowing along the curves and contours of the part, enhancing strength up to 30%. In applications where speed is important, aluminum is preferred over steel.
- WEIGHT – Aluminum is a popular choice for powersports components. It’s strong, durable, and light-weight properties make it the perfect choice when light weight components are needed. Lighter weight increases speed and performance. An aluminum forging creates a part that is stronger than aluminum billet or an aluminum casting.
- DESIGN FLEXIBILITY – Designs and needs change often and quickly in the powersports industry. If you need to change the design of an existing part for a new model year, 3D modeling technology is used to make any necessary changes fast so the forge tooling can be modified in our in-house tool and design shop.
- FINISH – Forgings have no porosity, so when a part is polished, buffed, or ground before it’s anodized, painted, or polished, pockets and voids should be nonexistent, leaving a very smooth surface finish. This is not true with a part that is cast.
THE FUTURE OF ALUMINUM FORGINGS IN POWERSPORTS
Lightweight aluminum forgings will always be part of the powersports market where speed and performance are needed, including the electric vehicle (EV) market. Cerro is here to support the emerging EV market. As vehicles become more energy efficient, the combination of strength and minimal weight is the reason aluminum will be a major factor in this market. Check back soon for Cerro’s blog on electric vehicles.