1 November = All Saints’ Day. This is an National holiday in Belgium and therefore we’re closed today…
We visit the foundry where they cast all tooling… this has to happen somewhere…:)
Shin, Niels and Andy are all ready for it, safety first!
Here the styrofoam is coated and placed in to big steel cages. They fill up the cage with sand and closed to poor liquid metal in.
The styrofoam melts away, and the perfect form of the part stay inside the moulds.
The perfect start to mill out the perfect tooling for the part.
Remember there’s always three tooling necessary; Male, female and overhead. so three castings necessary for every tooling!
The grey parts below are coated styrofoam models…
In close up they look like this…. this is coated styrofoam… ready to go in the cages…
The trees growing here literally out of the restroom….:)
After casting and cleaning, some small parts might be necessary for adjustment, this happens by welding… this is how freshly cast steel moulds do look….
This is an iron pouring bucket. The pouring of liquid metal happens at night only to save on energy costs… sorry we didn’t gave up our sleep to capture that…:)
How they fill the cages up with sand, the styrofoam is already inside…
The tooling are huge as you can compare dimensions with the workers on top of it, these are regular man, no dwarfs…:)
The breaking of the sand from the metal once it comes out of the cages… a pretty dusty work…
Don’t we all like the industrial views of factories brave enough to make our parts? You bet!
We continu our factory visit report tomorrow so stay tuned!!
It’s definitely over 12 years ago since Bob started to find a right manufacturer for the early beetle fenders… He inquired in many factories, in South America, Europe and Asia. Till he found a partner at our Silver Weld Through factory…
We started the tooling in 2015, over 4 years ago, 4 long years, but the result is stunning!
May Bob introduce you the BBT tooling for the BBT early beetle fenders.
These tooling are an exclusive joint venture between the Silver Weld through factory and BBT and the fenders will be exclusively available through the BBT distribution network.
Worldwide that is….
This is what we need to press you one pair of fenders, actually the last restrike tool is not finished yet, and the tools for the headlight buckets are neither in the picture…
US$ 350.000 investment, only to bring you, the Volkswagen aficionado, the perfect fender!
See the series of tooling compared to Bob or the big 10 ton capacity forklift (or to Bob somewhere in between)…
Can You imagine the size and weight????
The VW journalists who joined me this trip went all over the place when they saw our tooling.
They captured at least a thousand pictures!!
Hot VW’s magazine editor Shin brought out his drone to capture our tooling for the tetris challenge, and for his feature in HOT VW’s magazine, this blog is written with his personal permission…
Make sure not to miss out on Hot VWs magazine that feature this trip and the fender tooling!
They need a 10 ton forklift to drive the tooling around…
This is only the female tooling of the first hit tool…
There’s 8 stampings needed , so 8 sets of tools, male, female and drophead…
Times two for left and right… that’s a LOT of castings!
… and we didn’t talk about the headlight bowl yet…:)
Next “flat tetris picture” is voted the most funny shot of the trip by all of us…
Picture credit goes 100% to Airmighty editor Niels.
Thanks for sharing this with us Niels!
Ok, now… some words… words of Thank You….and deep respect.
Especially and before all to Mr GT, the deep drawing pressing genius, unbelievable. If I was hindoe, and believed in reincarnation, MR GT was a deep draw press in his previous life. Because he was so good and stamped so well, he came back as a human being to operate and coordinate presses! Unbelievable knowledge this man has!
Second, Kevin LO my direct and daily contact in the factory; Kevin, I know You went very deep on “our” fender project, I like to thank You very personally. Also out of the complete VW community for bringing this product to us… it will help to make so much more cars so much better…
Last but no last I like to thank out of the deepest of my heart my whole BBT team, without you guys, this fender project could not had even started!
Thank You, thank You, thank You to everybody, we made it!!
The 49-59 beetle front fender is almost finished,
First container estimated to arrive @ BBT HQ February or March 2020.
Pre orders been taking now…
Dealer inquires always welcome!
Don’t delay contact BBT today…
Frederik@BBT4VW.com or Stephan@BBT4VW.com
Another day in busy China to check out the Chroming plants. Because of environmental rules this is made very easy, all plants for chroming and plating are actually in one building for the whole city area!
This building house over 25 companies…:)
the center of the wheel and the rim is always chromed separately..
Chroming is a process of several baths , I mean many baths, to rinse, coat and rinse, and rinse and rinse….:)
here the center caps for modular wheels… everything is fully automatic….
This is the real chrome actually… after the nickel…..
This is a big building… wowh, very impressive…
Food! yes, we have to feed ourselves, something they know very well how to do in China, forget about Chinese restaurants in Europe or the USA, here everything is fresh????? you choose they prepare…
and prepared it looked like this….yammie….:)
Thanks Jimmy for taking me around today
And this is my favorite part… the sharing scooter… Thousands of this scooters spoils the cities, You scan and drive… real nice, and real cool too!
Thank you to all for the great hospitality I could enjoy in China, great country…
now its time to move on, big VW show this weekend…. in Japan! Are you joining? I’m already in the plane while writing this!
Last couple of days I worked on our sprintstar project.
I visited several factories and checked who can do what… when we bring the sprintstar back, it will be a perfect wheel, without flaws… and I think I found a couple of right people here to help me out!
First the factory that will make the centers… the sprintstar center is not a mass product for a big Chinese company, so we had to find a genius with a small company who would take on the task…
Yes I still love excenter metal stamping machinesresses… I think they’re the finest machines in the world…:)
But here there’s other machines also needed for steel wheel center production, even in “low” quantities… everything under a million pieces is low quantity in China….LOL!
Here’s a tooling department only for steel wheels, a place where I feel very comfortable…:)
A center of a steel wheel with a correct Max Wheel Load is a 10 step process! That means, ten sets of tools!
Yes indeed, for only one wheel model!
We discussed also the perfection of the bolt holes, they have to be domed, not straight,and pressed out, not in!!
Thanks to Edwin for helping to set up this…
2 days talking about Sprintstars centers and steel wheels, I’m almost an expert now…:)
This “circles” will be centers soon, sprintstar centers? Can you imagine how important the diameter of these “circles” are? 1mm more or less will give a different finished result.
Lunchtime!!! In China everything they eat is very fresh, and this is the style I like the most, you choose what you wanna eat, and then they cook it for you!
In every city in China is always a lot of construction, check out how many construction cranes in just one area… can You count over ten? They’re seventeen in this picture… but you need to zoom in…:)
Ok back to work now…:)
Next factory is the factory that will make our outer rim and do the assembling
Let’s start with the assembly first, this is where they weld the center in the rim, its semi automatic, To ensure equal welds on every wheel.
Every station has two welding torches to speed up the process… it was cool to look at for a while..
This is the rim finishing line, as You can see the rims come here already preformed and been rolled to exact specifications on this line.
Here every single rim is pressure test to ensure 100% no leaking, after the test the air valve stem is punched.
Quality tests during several steps in the process, we like to see this a lot…
This company makes lot of different steels of wheels, mainly for the Australian market, look at how many different centers they have…:)
and even more…:)
Here is the center stamping, but the BBT Sprintstar centers will not be stamped in this factory..
The powder coat and paint department was checked out, but not good enough for what we need,
So what can we say after these three days… Factory 1 is approved for centers, this guy can change his name on his business card to Mr Center, but because of low production was way overpriced on rims and assembly, off course because he only like centers…:)
Factory n°2 is approved to make the rims and to the assembly, they can weld with a special procedure not to burn the chrome, The result was stunning….
And so Another day went by….
Next will be the chroming plant … maybe they can paint? … stay tuned…:)