BIRTH OF A CARBON FIBER WHEEL
Manufacturing is all about controlling process precisely. Sometimes the prototype works perfectly, but there are still many defect products produced. Why? Because the manufacturing process is not well controlled, especially for the products made from carbon fiber, most of the work is done by hand. We have over one hundred skilled workers producing high quality carbon parts every day, they follow exactly our quality control process to make every single product. Here is how they work:
0. The Carbon Fiber We use
We use exclusively the material from Toray® Japan, Toray is the technology world leader in the carbon fiber industry. Their material is used by the largest airplane companies. The exact model we use for the rim is T700S, which provides the rim a high tensile.
1. Carbon Fiber Cutting
Trimming is the first step to produce a carbon fiber part, what we get originally is a carbon sheet in 1 meter width, for the sake of saving material, we input the shape we need for the product and let computer to do the math, the computer returns a result of how to use the most of a carbon fiber sheet.
Following the computing result, we use the cutting machine to do the work, the machine will follow the input data exactly and tolerance will be controlled under 0.1mm.
Molding is the key step in the whole process, if this is not handled well, the output will be useless and it will be throug away.
After laying up, it looks like we have a rim shape, but the material are not stick to each other. The carbon fiber sheet is already mixed with resin, after heating up the mold, the resin will melt and combine the layers of carbon into a strong mixture.
And there is an air bag inside the rim, we inject air after we put the rim in the mold, the full filled air bag will make sure the pressure is equal on the whole inner surface of the rim, that means the inner surface rim will be smooth, although it can not be seen.
When the rim come out from the mold, a new rim is born, but it’s still a rough work, it has over flow resin around it caused by the pressure of the air bag, and the outter fiber is not covered, so we have to trim the workblank and then make coating over the outter layer fiber, to protect the fiber from the exposure and rainning condition.
Under the coating is where the decal applied, the decal is only 0.3mm thick, after we make the coating over the decal, the decal will not get exposed, which also makes it has a integral looking with the rim and will never get lost or scratched.
5. Inspecting & Testing
The recommended tire pressure for our wheels are 120psi, but before we ship every single wheels, we will install the tires and make the pressure at 160psi, wheels are needed to pass this test before they get shipped.