Some of the world’s finest racing, performance and luxury cars feature wheels manufactured by HRE Performance Wheels, based in Vista, CA. HRE specializes in built-to-order wheel sets of one- or three-piece forged aluminum wheels.
The wheels are available in various offsets, widths and finishes—providing each customer with wheels that have a unique style and appearance. Known for their strength, lightweight design and superior engineering, HRE wheels are sold through select high-end car dealerships, specialty retailers and performance companies worldwide.
On average, a set of HRE wheels costs about $8,000. The wheels also can be used on SUVs.
At the Vista plant, wheel production involves numerous manufacturing and finishing operations. Safe handling throughout production is necessary because even the slightest damage could result in a rejected product.
All wheels are moved between workstations on 10 carts made of plastic-coated steel pipe and metal joints from Creform Corp. HRE has used Creform components over the years to assemble various types of material-handling devices, including flow racks, roller conveyors, workstations and automatic guided vehicles.
Recently, the company purchased the carts and assembled them specifically for wheel transport. HRE likes that the carts’ inner steel pipe is durable enough to support the wheels and the plastic coating is soft enough to protect the wheels during transit.
Each cart has a weight capacity of 500 pounds, enabling it to hold eight wheels. The cart is 20 inches wide by 70 inches long by 65 inches high. Pipe comes in various colors so carts can be color-coded for quick process identification.
Workers move the carts from station to station, removing the wheels for processing, then placing them back on the carts. Each wheel fits into a designated space to prevent nesting and the possibility of contact with another wheel.
Within this space, the steel pipe cradles each wheel by the outside diameter of the rims.
This allows for quick identification and easy loading and unloading of the wheels.
The carts feature upper and lower levels, as well as outside upright supports on either end that act as push-pull handles to maintain a high degree of stability. Further stability and safety are provided by six 5-inch-diameter urethane casters. Four casters feature brakes for secure positioning, while the other two provide swivel support.
Creform also offers plastic-coated pipe with channels (in light grey and black) or male or female ribs (in grey and ivory). The ribs can be mated to form double pipe, which is also available preglued.
Eight types of metal joints are available. Four joints connect to one pipe, and four connect to two pipes. H-2 joints connect two pipes to face downward, while H-3 joints connect two pipes to face upward. The H-7 joint connects two perpendicular pipes.