As world leader in the manufacture and supply of off-highway wheels, GKN Wheels supplies manufacturers worldwide and is recognized for the quality, reliability and performance of its products.
Following major advances in process technology, the company’s product range has been enhanced, with its latest multi-piece wheel delivering a number of significant benefits for the original equipment manufacturer, operator and maintainer.
This new approach, with the wheels manufactured through a hot induction forming (HIF) process, has enabled GKN Wheels’ engineers to produce wheels specifically for high load-bearing vehicles and high-pressure tires, with the wheels achieving a lifespan 50% longer than conventionally manufactured, multi-piece wheels.
The revolutionary and now patented process achieves greater manufacturing accuracy, allowing material to be placed where it is needed (and taken out where it is not), leading to an increase in rim strength. And with the main contact areas machined at the end of the process, a 100% round wheel with perfect stress distribution is guaranteed. The process also means that the contact points between the wheel and tire bead are perfectly smooth, with the rim design featuring extended flanges to further protect the tyre.
John Madsen, GKN Wheels & Structures Director of Engineering, says, “Our Hot Induction Formed wheels deliver outstanding performance, with their special design having been developed to meet the very exacting requirements of the most demanding commercial environments. As part of the development process, we subjected the wheel to rigorous testing, both off-site and on-site, with a number of manufacturers operating laden and unladen vehicles over extensive periods of time.
“GKN Wheels is bringing the wheel to the market in 2019. Known as Infini-Forge, it is capable of withstanding high loads and with improved life-expectancy, we believe the wheel is a great solution for high-load and safety-critical applications, with its benefits translating directly into increased durability and therefore vehicle up-time.”
The company’s engineers also paid close attention to the surface of the wheel, with each product finished with a powder coat surface finish applied through an electro-coat process to guarantee complete coverage of every part of the surface. Typical applications include reach stackers, AGVs and underground mining vehicles, as well as airport tow/tug tractors and mobile cranes.
Madsen continues, “Operating in extremely demanding environments, a vehicle breakdown of any description can severely affect both operational and financial performance, but with tire-pressures of 10 bar, a failure of the wheel or tire could have catastrophic consequences. In Infini-Forge, we have developed a product that not only delivers technically, but also provides a reassurance of quality and safety, major considerations when the consequences of failure are so severe.”