Eaton Corporation announced the first commercial application of its Crutonite alloy will be the exhaust valves on Caterpillar Inc.'s C15 heavy-duty on-highway diesel engine beginning in 2008.
Crutonite, the trade name for the all-new alloy co-developed with supplier partner Crucible Materials Corporation, is comprised of less than half the amount of costly nickel as traditional high-temperature alloys, but offers comparable strength and wear and corrosion resistance. Eaton's Crutonite was recently named a finalist in the 2008 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence) Award competition.
"We have developed a unique material solution to an industry issue," said Judy Altmaier, vice president and general manager, Eaton's Valve Division. "Crutonite provides great performance and an affordable price at a time when the cost of nickel is skyrocketing."
According to the London Metal Exchange, the cost of nickel surged 165 percent from the fall of 2006 to fall of 2007. This spike greatly affects the overall manufacturing costs of high volume engines like the C15 that previously required engine valves to be made from alloys that were 70 percent nickel.
Before agreeing to change the engine valve alloy, Caterpillar conducted thorough tests to ensure that Crutonite would be able to withstand the real world durability needs as each C15 engine is expected to perform flawlessly for more than a million miles.
Eaton, the world's largest independent manufacturer of valves and valve actuation products, has a history of developing alloys to meet market needs including Eatonite, which was designed to offset the high cost of cobalt in the 1980s.