Alloy wheels are critical components that require special attention in order to be powder coated safely. During manufacturing, alloy wheels are Heat Treated to increase their strength. Improper stripping, prepping, or heating during the powder coating process can alter the Heat Treating and affect the strength of the wheel.
Apex Custom Coating has developed techniques to ensure that the integrity of the Heat Treating is not affected during the powder coating process. We frequently powder coat wheels, some valued up to $1800 each, that are tested on the racetrack at speeds approaching 200 MPH.
The first step in our process involves gently removing the existing coating from the wheel in a chemical stripping bath. This avoids aggressive "sand blasting" that may alter fine detail of the wheel and leave an overly rough texture on the metal.
Some high-end wheels - commonly Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Tesla - have a thick layer of primer under the top-coat that requires special tools and techniques to remove. Without complete removal of the primer, the wheel cannot be properly coated.
After the original finish is completely removed, the wheel is then checked for defects. Street wheels often have damage, or "curb rash," around the edge of the rim. Most damage of this type can be completely removed with a process known as "metal-finishing."
Next, the entire wheel is media blasted to achieve the optimum texture for maximum adhesion and durability. Special attention is paid to areas that are most vulnerable in normal use and during tire changes.
After media blasting, the wheel is cleaned in a 5-step process, rinsed with deionized water, and treated with a special liquid coating that protects against corrosion.
Powder is then electro-statically applied with our state-of-the-art powder coating equipment. With the exception of mounting surfaces or critical areas, the entire wheel is coated - inside and out - creating a completely sealed barrier against corrosion.
The wheel then enters our industrial convection oven for curing. Unlike conventional ovens, convection ovens circulate hot air to evenly heat the part. Convection heating avoids the possibility of localized overheating, discoloration, and uneven curing.
Proper curing is the final, and extremely important, step in the powder coating process. Under-curing the powder significantly reduces durability while over-heating can reduce the overall strength of the wheel.
You can be confident that every aspect of the powder coating process will be done to the highest level when you have your wheels powder coated by Apex Custom Coating.