The Swiss factory of the KFZ Stahlrad brand is now completely reoriented to the secondary. Local wheels are not supplied to conveyors, but due to the large volume of production (2.5 million units per year) they satisfy the needs of car dealers and spare parts stores both in Europe and outside the EEC. The geographic location of the manufacturer does not bother anyone: product prices are competitive. And the quality is Swiss! The representatives of the Austrian company KROMAG Metallindustrie GmbH, sales director Michael Lenikus and executive director of the plant Manfred Vidhalmu had to answer for him. It was Vidhalm, the technical specialist, who accounted for most of the questions. He assured that the quality problem is basically absent, since the materials themselves are controlled at the plant, each of the operations, there is control “at the exit”. In addition, the external control carried out, for example, by the TUV Technical Inspection Service, should be taken into account. Inspectors can visit any KFZ wheel seller, select a drive, and test. If any of the parameters is rejected, the manufacturer (i.e. Vidhalmu) faces a gigantic fine. Marriage (it is extremely rare, but it happens) does not go outside the factory - a defective wheel can only be scrapped.
Creating a new rim (experts say just “wheels”) begins with working at a computer in KB Creating a new rim (experts say just “wheels”) starts with working at a computer in KB
How difficult this is, you understand when you walk along the conveyor. Heavy production. Around clang and rumble, ears have to be protected. The smell is also not easy to call, but there are no respirators on anyone. Not a single woman. The work is physically exhausting, workpieces or finished wheels have to be manually shifted, somewhere raised above the head. True, after a day of work, a couple of days off is given … I became interested in shooting welding, a worker, who was attached to the machine, patted me on the shoulder. He showed in the eyes - you will go blind! He thanked him with a nod and ran on - the group went forward along the conveyor belt, which seemed endless. Only discs are made here, but their number and nomenclature - 400 items - are amazing.
This Afro-Swiss (or Afro-Italian) seemed to me like a DJ from a fashion club This Afro-Swiss (or Afro-Italian) seemed to me like a DJ from a fashion club
Do you know how many main operations in this production? Almost 40! It all starts with giant reels of metal tape. They are unwound and cut into blanks from which rims are formed. Then they are welded in a special way, the seams are ground … The geometry, strength, and tightness of the disk depend on the quality of welding. Meanwhile, other machines under the control of other workers are making central parts. Here on one squeeze something like a steel plate, on the other multi-ton press make ventilation holes. The press falls on the “plate”, cutting metal mugs out of it, rises up and falls again on the substituted “plate” … Bach - this is the neighboring press working, cutting down the central hole. A welding machine is already cracking somewhere … And so on, right up to the painting and the last control point. And the packaging in cardboard boxes was entrusted to the machine. Not the most important operation.
A Chinese worker, according to Manfred Widhalm, director of the plant, has been working for many years. And How! I barely managed to get the focus - the Chinese worker was moving so fast, according to the director of the plant Manfred Widhalm, he has been working for many years. And How! I barely managed to focus - I moved so fast
Finally, they showed the laboratory. In addition to the "local" products, steel wheels of Asian manufacturers are invited to visit it. Chinese fakes, simply put. Some seemingly almost the same as KFZ, but their quality does not meet the minimum requirements adopted here at the factory, and indeed in Europe in general. Due to overt or covert defects, they can be fatally dangerous. An unbalance or destruction of the wheel leads to an accident, which, it turns out, is not a horror story at all - there are certain statistics. Alas, the “Asian automakers” do not care, as well as unscrupulous sellers. According to Vidhalm and Lenikus, the European market is protected from the Chinese threat - thanks to the same TUV, but in Russia there are different rules. Therefore, each buyer decides independently whether it is worth overpaying for the same-looking wheels, only with the TUV certificate attached to them, we seem to be worthless. We already know the answer.
This gray-haired master reminded Papa Carlo. Only in his hands is steel and work more serious instead of wood - final quality control, such as our quality control department. This gray-haired master reminded Papa Carlo. Instead of wood, he only holds steel and work more seriously - the final quality control, such as our quality control department
Swiss precision, Italian beauty
The Swiss factory Ambrosetti Rader AG is located in the industrial center of Manno, near Lugano, considered the third largest financial center of the country. Despite its political affiliation with Switzerland, the canton of Ticino is mostly Italian. He joined the Swiss Union as early as 1512, surrounded by white crosses on a red field, but they still speak Italian and prefer Italian cuisine … The combination of cultures provides a unique atmosphere: it is like you are simultaneously in two different countries. The writer Hermann Hesse and musician George Harrison lived and died in Lugano, here in 1956 they held the first Eurovision Song Contest.
KFZ wheels are labeled as OE (Original Equipment). That is, they meet the requirements of automakers, which relate to a variety of parameters, up to the thickness of the coating layer, measured in microns. The production range includes about 400 part numbers (options) for most automobile brands - from Audi to Volvo. Including Lada.
In the office part of the plant, blanks and samples of finished products Ambrosetti Rader AG are displayed
Estimated cost of KFZ wheels is about 1200 rubles. for 13-inch products for Lada cars. Disks with a diameter of 14 inches are from 1400 to 1700 rubles., 15-inch - from 1700 to 2500 rubles. Wheels for SUVs with a diameter of 15 inches are estimated in the range of 3000–4500 rubles. The minimum cost of 16-inch KFZ (for a C-class car) - 2600 rubles.
Five arguments for a set of wheels for the winter and one against
• time saving
If you have a second set of wheels, you can “change” a car when it’s convenient for you, without wasting time in the lines of tire fitting. There is nothing to talk about waste of nerve cells.
• Saving money
Buying a second set of disks and installing tires on them will require significant one-time costs, but they will eliminate the need for additional costs every spring and autumn. A rough estimate shows that spending pays off in about three years of owning a car.
• Wheel and tire safety
When assembling / disassembling the wheels, a physical impact is exerted on the sidewalls of the tires and partly on the rims. Hence, both obvious and hidden defects are possible. Experts believe that the tire becomes unusable after four shifts (visits to the mounting table).
• Convenience of storage
Tires without wheels can only be stored in an upright position to prevent sidewall deformation. It is permissible to stack tires on disks, for their storage in a “pile” only about 1 sq. m
• Dimension selection
Automakers have several options for wheel dimensions for each vehicle. Due to road conditions in Russia in winter, it is better to choose wheels with a minimum seating diameter and tires with a maximum profile height.
• Argument against
You will have to learn how to handle the jack and the wheel wrench. Stop! Here, there must be an argument “against” … But it turned out - “for”.