Five-, seven- or a different multi-spokes wheel? Cross-spokes or double spokes? “The most important thing is passion,” explains AEZ chief designer Christian Haderer. Passion and a love for detail characterise Christian’s work on a daily basis. “Ever since my teenage years, I have been passionate about two things – cars and design,” says the designer. As a manufacturer of safety-relevant components for cars, passion is one of the main pillars at AEZ. This “life motto” is reflected in all developmental steps, from the first draft to the finished product.
AEZ production „Made in Germany“
During the entire manufacturing process, all light alloy wheels undergo continuous tests according to the highest quality criteria for dimensional accuracy, material homogeneity, surface condition, density, and in the packaging line for visual defects. New designs and wheel developments are inspected by the TÜV Austria and the TÜV Nord for maximum load-bearing capacity prior to production approval.
Essential steps done by hand
Despite a high level of automation, the human factor is essential in the complex production process of AEZ rims. The manufacture of alloy wheels is carried out by low-pressure casting where liquid aluminium is pressed from the lower part into the permanent mold – the rim mold – using a tubing. This is followed by the precise removal of ridges in a post-treatment step done entirely by hand. Ridges are sharp edges that are formed during casting. In the next step, bolt holes and the valve bore for the air valve are formed. Alongside high-tech testing methods, the additional visual quality check carried out by the respective supervisor plays an important role.
In an eleven-step pretreatment system the alloy rims are cleaned to shine, technically pre-treated and then coated in a separate powder cycle with a 100-percent recovery.
The abbreviation stands for “Salt Resistant” while the number refers to the 3-layer process – primer coat, paint coat, finish coat. The primer is always an ultra-hard powder paint in black or light-grey, applied electrostatically and then “baked on” at 210°C for 45 minutes. As the actual “colour carrier” a modern wet coating is applied at roughly 180°C. As a transparent sealing and first line of defence against environmental influences, premium clear lacquer is the finish coat.
It’s 49 meters wide, 100 meters long and 24 meters high, and inside of it there’s sheer chaos. We are talking about the ALCAR Group’s high-tech high-bay warehouse in Balve, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This is where up to 700,000 passenger car wheels wait to be shipped to trade partners all across Europe. The premise is to relieve trade partners by largely taking on their warehousing and performing just-in-time deliveries of wheels. That’s our passion.
Our passion. Your wheel.