A CUSTOM ALLOY WHEEL
Manufacturers prefer the use of steel and aluminum in the making of wheels. A custom wheel is composed of two parts; the inner piece known as the center and the outer piece commonly referred to as the barrel. The Inner piece bolts into the car while the outer piece holds the tire. These are the parts that are fused together to form the wheel. This is the same process used by most independent spare parts manufacturers in making wheels, particularly truck wheels. The popularity of steel in the manufacturing of wheels can be attributed to its ruggedness and ease of repair. That is why it remained a choice material among manufacturers. Aluminum is the second material used in the manufacturing of wheels. Aluminum wheels excel is sales than any other type of wheel; this is not unconnected to its lightweight, unprecedented heat dissipation and ease of adaptation for almost any kind of design. It is the preferred choice for many buyers. Moreover, aluminum wheel can be manufactured through various technologies, each with its unique benefit.
ONE-PIECE CAST CUSTOM WHEEL
One Piece cast wheels are created by adding molten aluminum to a mold, consequently, the molten metal adopts the shape of the cast after it hardens. There are three methods of casting mold;Low Pressure/Gravity Method, Counter Pressure method, and High Counter Pressure Method (HCM). Each of the three methods are presently in use by modern day manufacturers. However, the choice of the method used is influenced by the weight, strength and finish initially specified in the design. Costly cutting-edge method produces lighter and stronger wheel, consequently increasing the cost of production and the market price of the output wheel.
TWO-PIECE CUSTOM ALLOY WHEEL
There are varieties of 2-piece wheels available in the market. Two-piece wheels are more abundant in the market and much cheaper than the average 3-piece wheel. However, the 2-piece wheel cannot be used in the various diversified ways that a 3-piece wheel allows. A 2-piece wheel is manufactured by pressing a center into spun barrel and welding them together. There are a few manufactures that bolt the center of 2-piece wheels into a cast or cast/spun rim section.
There are several difficulties associated with two-piece wheels, prominent among these is the poor quality of the outer, commonly referred to as the barrel. Wheel manufactures only manufacture the center of the wheel and do not manufacture the barrels. Unfortunately, as of now, there is only one manufacturer for the barrels and that particular manufactures quality, integrity and value of their product is poor, thus putting the two-piece wheel at the very low end of the market.. To make matters worse, the two-piece wheel is limited with little or no finishing options other than being polished. 2-piece wheels have a high development and production costs associated with the manufacturing process, and are only sold in small volume. Compared to 10 years ago, the two-piece wheel has become a dinosaur.
ONE-PIECE FORGED / BILLET WHEEL
One-piece forged wheel is the ultimate when it comes to custom wheels. A solid billet of aluminum is forced between the Forging Dies under a very high pressure. Ultimately, the final product is very dense, strong and extremely lightweight. The cost of manufacturing, state-of-the-art equipment, tools and development place this kind of wheels in a class of its own and the market price is also on the high side. In this kind of wheel, Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) mills are programmed to add cosmetics and the bolt circle to exact tolerances. One piece forged wheel is the ultimate choice In your quest for custom wheels. The are of the best quality, strength, elegance and extremely lightweight.
HIGH DENSITY ALLOY (HDA™)
HDA™ (High Density Alloy) was the result of Boyd Coddington Jr. and his manufacturing experience in the forged hot rod and muscle car wheel industry, and Greg Weld from his dominance in building one piece forged PRO Motorsports Racing wheels. When they Combined their 5 decades of experience in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, engineering and forging thousands of 6061 alloy wheels, HDA was born. initially , HDA was developed to be able to produce a better engineered 8-lug truck wheel that was lighter, stronger and truer than any other custom forged wheel on the market.
This technology is uses an assemblage of two to three components to produce a finished wheel. There are multiple methods used in manufacturing multi-piece wheels. The Rim section of three-piece wheels is usually spun from disks of aluminum while Centers can be forged or cast using any method. Spun rim sections enhance customizing wheels for special applications that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. The rim section is bolted to the center and the wheel is consequently sealed by applying a sealant in or on the assemblage area. The 3-piece method was developed in the 1970s for racing but its application has since been diverted to cars. The 3-piece wheels are more rampant in the 17” and larger diameter.
GRAVITY CASTING A CUSTOM ALLOY WHEEL
This elementary form of casting is achieved by by pouring molten aluminum into a mold without any special equipment; only the earth gravity is used to fill the mold. The production cost of gravity casting is low and is a good method of casting designs when weight reduction and visual appeal is of utmost concern. Inasmuch as gravity is used to fill the mold, the aluminum is less dense compared with other methods of casting. However, gravity casted wheels require higher weight to achieve the required strength.
LOW PRESSURE CASTING A CUSTOM ALLOY WHEEL
Low pressure casting proffers an output with improved density over and above the gravity method though the cost of production is somewhat higher. This method utilizes positive pressure to move the molten aluminum faster into the mold thereby leading to improved mechanical properties. It is the most commonly approved method for production of aluminum wheels sold in the O.E.M market. Some companies evolved a more durable output option that involved the use of higher pressure via special casting equipment to output lighter and stronger wheels at a higher cost of production. Summarily, Low-Pressure Cast offers a product that is strong and lightweight at a moderate price.
SPUN-RIM, FLOW-FORMING OR RIM ROLLING TECHNOLOGY
This process evolved from the low pressure type of casting. The process is further enhanced by a special machine used in spinning the initial casting and heat the outer portion of the cast. Finally, steel rollers are pressed against the rim area to pull the rim to its predefined width and shape. The trio of heat, pressure and spinning output a rim area with strength comparable to forged wheel without the high cost associated with forging. This technology is not new as it has been used in the production of racing wheels for formula One and Indy Cars. Quite a number of special wheels produced for O.E.M high performance vehicle use this type of technology that result in strong and lightweight wheel at a reasonable cost.
HIGH LIGHT TECHNOLOGY (HLT) CUSTOM ALLOY WHEEL
The High Light Technology (HLT) is derived from F1 Racing produces wheels that are very light and extremely strong. This method is used in the manufacture of racing wheel make use of rollers to simultaneously compress and elongate the material along the barrel of a low-pressure cast aluminum wheel to obtain the desired result.
The HLT technology coupled with the flow forming process synergize to create mechanical features similar to those of forged wheels. This lead to a considerable reduction in the wheel weight and enhance structural rigidity as opposed to standard cast wheel.