Before product design of a wheel is carried out, a vast amount of research is undertaken to understand the requirements of the wheel in its particular market. GKN work closely with customers to provide solutions for various applications and operation requirements.
GKN’s product developed team has adopted the APQP framework, first introduced to the automotive industry. DFMEA and PFMEA were created as application tools and are applied to product development in order to ensure every phase in the development process is controlled.
The structure of a wheel is better understood by combining results from lab testing, field tests, straight gauge data and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). When all of this data is combined and analyses, high stress areas in the wheel can be identified and this helps to improve their overall design. FEA is also used to better understand the critical areas of a wheels structure.
The highest quality material is used on all of GKN’s wheels. This material is crucial to the structure and durability of the wheels, and GKN ensures all material used is of the highest quality.
All rims are checked against the most up-to-date international standards to guarantee all dimensions of the rim are correct and will fit the correct tire. All of GKN’s rim profiles comply with two or more of the following standards: TRA, ETRTO, JATMA and ISO.
The fatigue performance of a rim is an important factor in its design. Counter measures have been put in place in order to lower the possibility of fatigue in the rim and GKN undertakes investigations to ensure the best possible rim. The endurance of multiple materials and different surface finishes have been studied in depth and improvements have been made on the fatigue performance of the rim.
Carried out under strict control plans, the bead seat band, gutter band and back band are made from forged rims and are roughly machined before assembly of the rim base. The centre band is produced from a steel plate, the main processes are circling, welding and machining before assembly of the rim base.
Assembly is completed by welding the gutted band, centre band and back band together and then machining to the specific requirements needed.
All parts of the surface of the wheel are shot blasted to improve the condition of the surface and the wheels overall performance. The Shot Blasting process is completed before the painting to ensure a clean surface.
GKN only uses certified raw material. Chemical components and mechanical performances of raw materials such as the centre band are tested against control plan requirements. A detailed plan was created for every aspect of the Inspection phases, this Inspection Plan includes the required dimensions and certified calibrated tools as well as an illustration of the required dimensions. Chemical components and mechanic performance of raw material are tested and certified.
A weld test is carried out before formal production. For each wheel a typical welding process and control plan will have been created – every weld is thoroughly checked. Ultrasonic inspection and x-ray inspection has been adopted to ensure no weld defects are present.
At GKN, our paint must be deemed to meet certain specifications or it is blasted away and repainted. The paint is tested for hardness, adherence and thickness to ensure it is of the highest quality.