High-end Brands Invest in Wheelbuilding
PURMEREND, the Netherlands – The image of building wheels on Holland Mechanic machines is changing rapidly. Initially wheelbuilding machines were regarded as useful for mass production only. Product development at Holland Mechanics was driven by shortening the production time by seconds, but also at improving quality.
“A growing number of high end brands are contacting us to learn about the advantages and quality of our HM ProLine Carbon Edition,” explains Wouter van Doornik of Holland Mechanics.
“Once we can demonstrate our machine we can persuade our customers of the difference in quality between hand built and machine built. High-end branded wheel sets like American Classics are convinced of the quality we can provide them.”
Automatic wheelbuilding is also much more efficient as it requires less time to produce a wheel set. The difference is so big that it is already profitable for small OEMs with a volume of 3,000 units annually.
Product development in the past decade, with new spoke designs and new materials such as carbon rims changed the point of view towards wheelbuilding. This market development made the industry shift its perception regarding the benefit of machine built wheels.
During a demonstration of a machine Holland Mechanics shows the difference, with the data generated by the computer, which speaks to the advantage of machine building. A wheel is a coherent entity with many different parts which all interfere with each other when building manually. This problem becomes even bigger with all new spoke designs and carbon rims.
Today you simply need a computer to handle all the data. “We have put in a lot of effort and invested in R&D to develop a machine with powerful processors which can deal with all the data,” said van Doornik. “As a result we dare to claim that machine built wheels are better than hand built ones. In fact we can prove it with our computer.”
A more detailed report on production machinery is in Bike Europe’s May edition.