Originally Posted by markdoane
I think the cost would be under $10/wheel if done by the manufacturer, using an automated horizontal balancing machine like this: http://www.schenck-usa.com/prod_hori...mach_auto.html
The bigger issue is how do you market the idea. As the manufacturer, do you want to tell the whole world that what you've been making and selling unbalanced hubs and drums for the last 75 years? Do you change over your whole product line, or do you sell two product lines, balanced and unbalanced? Does that give rise to some product liability issues if an unbalanced hub causes an accident? How will the competition respond? What if everyone starts buying disc brakes and your new balancing machine sits idle most of the time? What if the Chinese start making drums that are better and are cheaper?
I'm afraid the trailer wheel and axle business is going to disappear in the US if no one is willing to invest in new technology.
Well let's see -
First - you market it to Airstream. If Airstream demanded it and would pay - an axle manufacturer would do it. Like you said previously, if it were a requirement - they would demand it.
Second - You offer it as an upgrade. Axles are a nickel and dime business - most axle manufacturers fight for small amounts of money. Most customers, that buy axles, buy on price first.
Third - the Chineese do make about 50% of trailer drums sold in the USA - maybe more.
Forth - some axle companies do invest in technology. However the technology has to benefit the masses - I think (like shocks on a torsion axle) Airstream would be the only company that may (heavy on the may) buy a balanced drum.
It is of my opinion (based on years in the axle business) that 99% of folks would not spend $20.00 per axle to solve a problem they don't really have.
Just two cents from a retired axle dude,