Learn how RIMEX manufactures perfectly round, robust & long-lasting wheels with these step-by-step descriptions and photos.
The process begins with cutting high-quality steel plates into strips of various thicknesses. These strips serve as the foundation for the different components needed for wheel assembly, such as back-sections, gutter-sections, centre bands, and bead seat bands. The cut strips then go through the bevel machine, or the ‘nibbler’, where bevels are applied to the plate’s edges. These bevels create a v prep groove when combined with corresponding bevelled edges.
Next comes the rolling stage, where the cut and bevelled plates are individually placed onto the rolling machine. Through a cold rolling process, these plates are transformed into their specified diameters. RIMEX takes pride in its ability to roll thick steel plates, as this is a core capability that only a few manufacturers possess.
After rolling, the rolled plates are tack-welded in preparation for fitting. The assembly of the wheel or rim base is crucial, as any discrepancies in the fittings could result in an out-of-round gutter or poorly fitted back section, ultimately leading to an oblong wheel. RIMEX custom designs machinery that ensures a perfect marriage between the sections, guiding the parts together in preparation for welding. The ultimate goal is to create perfectly round wheels that offer longer product life.
Welding is the next step in the process. The rolled strips are welded at their butt joints to form complete cylindrical shapes. Wheel assemblies typically consist of a centre band with a mounting disc and two gutter sections. These components are tack-welded together before undergoing final welding. The joints to be welded are pre-heated to raise their temperature and prevent deformities and cracks due to thermal shock. To achieve precise and high-quality welds, RIMEX uses submerged arc welding. This machine welding technology buries the joint and welding arc in flux, filling the joint with weld material and bonding the steel together according to prescribed welding practices and specifications. Submerged arc welding also conceals the bright welding arc and prevents welding gases from entering the atmosphere. This allows workers to monitor the process without wearing hoods and respirators. The result is precision welds that meet or exceed industry requirements.
The road sections of the wheel are welded at both their inner and outer diameters to ensure full penetration. Full penetration is critical to eliminate any built-in weaknesses. By welding the sections together prior to forming, RIMEX avoids the common issue of high and low spots found in products from other manufacturers. After welding, the assemblies proceed to the deburr station, where the welds are ground and blended flush with the surrounding steel surfaces.
Throughout the entire manufacturing operation, RIMEX conducts in-process and final-process inspections to maintain quality control. These inspections include phased array ultrasound checks to detect cracks or voids inside welded joints. Additionally, a test involving the spraying of magnetic particles onto welded surfaces helps identify any cracks or voids by observing their movement when a magnet is applied.
These and other non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques ensure wheel assemblies that leave RIMEX facilities are fit for a lifetime of duty in the harsh operating environments of mine sites and industrial sites in Australia and around the world.
Machining is a crucial step following welding. RIMEX uses state-of-the-art CNC machines to sculpt the welded assemblies into formed sections. Precision machining ensures completely round sections with extremely tight tolerances on all wheel parts. This level of precision allows for 100% contact between the tyre and wheel components, preventing damage due to slippage and indexing. This results in longer wheel and tyre life. After machining, additional operations are performed, including drilling the bolt pattern into the mounting disc and installing RIMEX Defuzer valves according to customer specifications.
Before painting, RIMEX products undergo shot-blasting and thorough cleaning to prepare for paint application. Identification plates and RFID tags containing manufacturing information are installed at this stage. The assemblies are then placed on chocks on a cart rail system leading into the paint booth. Together with other parts to be painted, they travel into the booth where they are spray painted with RIMEX’s multi-part paint system based on customers’ colour preferences.
Once painting and drying are complete, Defuzer valves are fitted as required, and assemblies are banded together. A final QC inspection ensures that all standards have been met before completed assemblies are handed off to Warehousing and Shipping for processing. At this stage, they are either separated into inventory or loaded onto pallets and shrink-wrapped for shipping. Palleted assemblies are securely loaded into containers or flat deck trucks for transportation to their final destinations.
After undergoing this rigorous production process, RIMEX successfully achieves its goals of manufacturing perfectly round, robust, and long-lasting wheels that can withstand the harsh operating environments of mine sites and industrial areas in Australia.