Wabash National finalist for manufacturer award

Wabash National Corporation has been selected as one of four finalists for steel producer SSAB’s Swedish Steel Prize. Wabash National is being recognized for using advanced high-strength steel in its RIG-16 rear impact guard, released in February 2016, which provides superior performance in rear underride collisions.

“When innovative design meets groundbreaking material technology, we can really stretch the limits of product performance,” says Dick Giromini, chief executive officer at Wabash National. “We’re honored to be recognized for our innovation and industry leadership with this award nomination for our patented RIG-16 rear impact guard.”

Although the company’s rear impact guard has exceeded U.S. and Canadian standards since 2007, the optimized design of the RIG-16 utilizing SSAB’s advanced high-strength steel provides enhanced performance to protect passengers in rear impact collisions. Testing was corroborated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which recognized Wabash National with a TOUGHGUARD award in March 2017 after demonstrating underride prevention of a midsize car in full-width, 50 percent overlap and 30 percent overlap impact scenarios, the company says.

“We spent more than two years in research and development before releasing our RIG-16 rear impact guard in early 2016. We prototyped several designs with other materials, but could not have met all our design criteria without advanced high-strength steel. It significantly improves the overall strength and energy absorption of our rear impact guard; has minimal weight impact; and maintains existing levels of cost of ownership for customers,” says Robert Lane, vice president of product engineering, Commercial Trailer Products.

Wabash National has been collaborating with supplier partner SSAB Americas for over four years, redesigning key areas of Wabash products to leverage all of the benefits that high-strength steel offers, particularly in the areas of lightweighting, which improves fuel efficiency and payload capacity for customers, the company says.

If Wabash National wins the Swedish Steel Prize, it would be the fifth U.S. company to do so in the award’s 19-year history, the company says. The award comes with an $11,000 prize, which Wabash National would donate to the National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing crashes and injuries on our nation’s highways by promoting safe driving behavior through greater public awareness.

The Swedish Steel Prize winner will be announced at a ceremony in Stockholm on May 11. The independent panel of judges, consisting of prominent experts from the Royal Institute of Technology, Swedish industry and SSAB, assessed 102 award nominations from 32 countries based on their applicability, profitability, environmental benefits, performance, innovation and creativity.

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