An insight into the ATS Wheel manufacturing process and lightweight wheel technology.
The ATS product range comprises alloy wheels for passenger vehicles which are manufactured using both low-pressure casting methods as well as forging technology.
ATS introduced this pioneering low-pressure casting technology in 1970 and has been constantly redeveloping it since.
Using the newly-developed racing wheels manufactured in the low-pressure casting method, ATS won the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in 2010. At the Formula Three season finale in Macau, ATS equipped cars achieved first, second, third and fourth places.
Lightweight technology in all vehicle components leading to weight reduction and therefore a reduction in emissions is a key focus for the industry.
ATS combines a variety of methods and technologies, some of which have been developed in-house, to optimise the weight and strength of the alloy wheels manufactured using low-pressure casting methods.
Alloy wheels which are put under significant loads undergo a joint optimisation process in the company‘s own coating systems. This process also improves the material properties at the same time.
Coating Technology equipment and infrastructure
Strain hardening technology
This innovative method represents a cost-effective alternative to the FlowForming process – with similar levels of weight reduction on the wheel. This technology can be combined with existing weight reduction designs. The process is based on hardening the material whilst, at the same time, smoothening surface harshness in highly-stressed areas of the rim well. Critical process tensions are also converted into compressive stresses.
Strain hardening technology
Hollow-spoke casting method
Hollow-spoke wheels are manufactured using in-house developed casting machines with an additional sand core. Alloy wheels which are manufactured using the low-pressure casting method in accordance with the hollow-spoke principle have less rotating mass than full-spoke wheels. Stability and load capacity are increased at the same time.
Hollow –spoke casting method
The FlowForming manufacturing technique allows ATS, alongside the already-established company lightweight construction methods, to offer lightweight construction which has been tried and tested in the automotive industry.
By manufacturing alloy wheels using FlowForming technology, parts of the wheel rim are rolled out in a second processing phase. A large majority of the machining is dispensed with, which means, on the one hand, the raw materials can be saved (compared to conventional manufacturing methods) and, on the other hand, undergoes a second compaction phase as the alloy material is rolled out. This allows parts of the alloy wheel to have lower wall thicknesses whilst still being extremely stable.
An example is the 8.5 x 19“ ATS Racelight wheel which is manufactured using FlowForming and weighs only 9.9 kg. FlowForming technology alone contributes to a 10 % reduction in weight.
In comparison with conventionally-cast wheels on the market, FlowForming manufactured wheels save approximately 4 kg per wheel. That‘s 16 kg per car! This is particularly important for a range of driving dynamics in the unsprung mass area.
ATS Racelight wheels