Much has been said about lightweighting when it comes steel components. On the otne hand, there are superior benefits to heavy duty construction. This is a topic we have discussed in the past especially in regards truck and vehicle bumpers. We even went back in time with some old advertisements for our ASI Division in an article we wrote discussing superior bumpers. With lightweighting, being such a hot topic, however, we thought it would be timely to revisit the subject of lightweighting vs choosing a heavy duty bumper for work trucks. There are clear advantages for each.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lightweighting Truck Bumpers

Being lightweight is not an advantage in and of itself. It does, however, facilitate some extremely valuable benefits. When it comes to vehicles, for examples, it can mean significantly better fuel mileage. According to an article on lightweighting produced by the Department of Energy (DOE), lightweighting could reduce truck weights by up to 50% by 2030. The DOE states in the article “Using lightweight components and high-efficiency engines enabled by advanced materials in one-quarter of the U.S. fleet could save more than 5 billion gallons of fuel annually by 2030.” While the numbers are impressive, you have to keep in mind this is using lightweight components throughout the vehicle and engine, not just bumpers. The DOE also says that reducing vehicle weight by 10% could save 6% to 8% on fuel. Reducing vehicle weight can also increase payload capacity, but don’t get confused. If you increase payload capacity, you are mitigating gains in fuel mileage. In other words, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can enjoy better fuel mileage and increased payload, but not both at the same time.

The concern, of course, with lightweighting, would be the strength of the lighter weight material. Modern materials and engineering, however, minimize these concerns. Durability, however, is often where lighter weight materials come up short when compared to more heavy weight options.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Heavyweight Truck Bumpers

It can help to be reminded of the main purpose of a truck bumper. That is to protect the engine in a front end collision. Sure, as years have gone by, bumpers have become more decorative and functional, serving as everything from cone holders to tool boxes. Our highly polished stainless steel signature ASI fire truck bumpers, for example, are both practical and attractive. They are also heavy duty and have become iconic in the industry. It should be noted that when it comes to protection, heavy duty bumpers will provide superior service. Heavy duty steel bumpers will generally absorb impacts better and be more durable and long lasting. Most companies want trucks to be hard working and long lasting, and generally speaking, heavy duty materials provide both aspects better than lightweight materials. When it comes to shaving weight from a work vehicle there may be better places to trim it from than protective bumpers.

Versatility is Key for Heavy Duty vs. Lightweighting 

At Wiley Metal, we fully understand the value of lightweighting. Our engineers have helped our clients for decades in creating parts that are more economical and lighter weight without compromising strength. Our clients appreciate that we have their best interests in mind and in many cases, that involves lightweighting. But we also understand when it can begin compromising durability or quality. Lightweighting certainly has its advantages, but there are circumstances where a heavy-duty bumper is still the best option.

What can we create for you? Contact us and let’s discuss your concept.