You may be curious as to what goes into manufacturing our WHEELUV™ Alloy Protectors. In this article I will give a behind the scenes view of how our protectors are made.
Firstly, all our WHEELUV™ protectors are made by our bespoke machinery, located in Nottinghamshire. In fact, our whole manufacturing process is based in Nottinghamshire.
The WHEELUV™ Inventory Management
Everything starts with our inventory management systems. Stock levels are forecasted, and manufacturing runs are planned to a tee. Every stage of the manufacturing process, including quality control (more on this later) are tracked and managed on our systems. This allows us to efficiently manage our production and be ahead of demand, so our customers don’t have to wait for their protectors.
Our Bespoke Wheel Protector Polymers
The polymers used to create the protector and structural clip are entirely bespoke to us. They are the same type of polymers that is used to make train buffers – yes, they’re that impact resistant!
Our polymers are modified and are made with colour specific masterbatches that include metallic and non-metallic pigments that make the colours that are unique to us, with class leading anti-UV modifiers added. We use polymers with slightly different grades and properties for the protectors and clips due to the different functions they have.
Injection Moulding Circular Components
Our bespoke polymers are injection moulded into a circular shape, which is carried out to ISO 9001 (excuse the quality assurance jargon!) by a machine that is bigger than a normal living room and can exert 200 tonnes of pressure. Excess plastic from the injectors is then trimmed by hand.
3M VHB Adhesive Tape Production
WHEELUV™ alloy protectors are fitted to the wheel using a strong, technically advanced, premium grade 3M vhb adhesive tape which is attached to the protector in our manufacturing process. The tape is manufactured on rolls that are over 1 meter wide, and they are converted using precise slitting machines to the 6mm width required for our protectors. This is carried out to ISO 9001 quality standards.
Surface Preparation of the Wheel Protectors
Before the adhesive tape can be attached to the protector, the surface of the protector needs to be prepared. The parts are placed on a custom-built machine that applies gas plasma to the surface of the injection moulded wheel protectors to get them excited (in other words ready to be stuck!). To do this our machine uses 2x 6,500 volts of electricity to form a gas plasma out of the air. The image shown, courtesy of Tantec UK, shows the gas plasma machine in action.
Application of Adhesive Tape to make WHEELUV™
Now that the tape is ready to be applied, it is loaded onto, you guessed it, another customer built machine. Our machinists load the parts onto these machines for the tape to be applied onto the injection moulded polymer wheel protector.
Heat Treatment for the Best Quality Wheel Protectors
To increase the strength of the bond between the tape and the polymer, and reduce the manufacturing lag waiting for curing, we bake our parts in highly accurate commercial ovens. This guarantees the quality of the protector – tape bond.
WHEELUV™ Quality Control
Now this is the fun part when manufacturing our protectors – for at least every 1 in 100 units, we destroy the protector to test the strength of the bond between the tape and the polymer. This means any problems are discovered before any wheel protectors leave our factory. This is just one of the quality checks that happens throughout our manufacturing process. We have similar checks in place at every stage.
Wheel Preparation Wipe Manufacture
The chemicals for our wipes used in fitting the protectors are ordered in bulk. We these are repacked using specialist machines into wipe form, carried out to ISO 9001 standards again.
Assembling WHEELUV™ Alloy Protector Sets
Now we are at the stage where the protector kits are assembled and sealed in individual packets before labels and barcodes are applied.
Not only do we manufacture in Nottinghamshire, but we also warehouse our protector kits here too.
Dispatch to our Customers
The final step! The products are picked, and orders are given one final quality control check before they’re dispatched. Our warehousing and fulfilment are also carried out to ISO 9001, which is why all our deliveries require a signature.
So, if you have read the whole of this article, I do not need to tell you there are many steps to the manufacturing of our WHEELUV™ Alloy Protectors. We pride ourselves in operating a highly efficient, high quality manufacturing process, and we believe in creating the highest quality products that are manufactured properly with no corners cut.