VOLUTION® Alloy Wheels
A proprietary wheel design is the visiting card of every exclusive car tuner. HEICO SPORTIV presented its first own light alloy wheel – the VOLUTION® Classic – back in 1999.
VOLUTION® is a globally protected name for all HEICO SPORTIV designer wheels. The various VOLUTION® wheels are distinguished with the series designation V. (Roman “5”) for the five-spoke design, VII. (Roman “Seven”) for the seven-spoke design, and X. (Roman “10”) for the filigree ten-spoke version.
The challenge in developing a VOLUTION® light alloy wheel lies not only in creating an optically attractive rim design, but also in developing a wheel with minimum weight and maximum stability. Ultimately, the aim is to minimize the revolving mass, and thereby improve the Volvo’s driving dynamics.
With the program’s numerous combinations of dimensions and colors, customers are truly spoilt for choice; but they can nevertheless always rely on one thing: that each application is always perfectly tailored to the model concerned.
Often, reputable manufacturers’ wheel rims are plagiarized in Asia and sold at a fraction of the original price. On closer inspection, however, these reproductions often reveal serious defects such as in the quality of the materials used. HEICO SPORTIV’s light alloy wheels for all models up to and including the Volvo XC90 heavyweight are certified for strength and come with an expert appraisal under §19 of the German Vehicle Registration Act (StVZO) or a General Operating Permit (ABE) for hassle-free entry in the vehicle documents – only then can light alloy wheels be legally used.
Another condition for legal use is that all dimensions – such as the wheel diameter, rolling circumference, rim flange distance and rim offset – fulfill the latest EC wheel guidelines and are successfully certified by an independent technical assessor such as TÜV.
At the beginning, however, all we have is a blank sheet of paper. After the protracted design process is complete and the strength and dimension parameters have been specified, the carefully calculated tools and molds are produced for the final wheel rim. The first wheel rim prototypes output by these casting tools undergo a series of grueling physical tests which, while not required in all markets, are still performed to fulfill our high quality aspirations:
Bending Fatigue Test
This test studies material resilience of the aluminum structure while the wheel rim is firmly clamped and exposed to continually changing forces.
Here, the material quality of the aluminum composition is checked for purity and consistency.
Endurance Rolling Test
Here, the durability of the entire wheel (i.e. with tire) is charted during cornering and straight running. Both the rigidity of the wheel rim flange and spokes, as well as the bolt hole loading and central borehole, are checked. In this way, fracturing, damage, and even air leakage can be ruled out.
Rim Flange Test
The main criterion here is the rim flange tension during a simulated high-risk drive simulating a wide range of driving conditions. Critical areas include the spokes and the area around the valve shaft which must not shear, e.g. in the event of curbstone contact.
Various weights are propelled directly at the wheel rim to simulate a curbstone impact at 40 km/h. The weights – which can be anything up to 1,000 kg depending on the vehicle class – are released from a height of 230 mm. During this test, we also measure for air leakage, and the air leakage volume over time.
Torsion Test (interplay / distortion)
This endurance test analyzes the tangential forces acting on the wheel during acceleration and braking, the main focus of attention being that hairline cracks do not develop. During this test, the wheel rim is clamped to a test bench without tire to simulate the forces and determine the twist ratio.
The wheel is sprayed with a concentrated salt solution for 384 hours. Before the test, gridlines are affixed to the rim flange, spokes and rim well, allowing us to systematically determine any form of wheel rim corrosion during the trial in any area of the wheel rim. Several areas of the wheel rim are damaged intentionally (to simulate e.g. stone chipping), allowing us to verify later the resilience of the damaged aluminum wheel and confirm that it has not corroded.
Finally, all wheel / tire combinations are mounted on each vehicle type and checked regarding current wheel guidelines, clearance and wheel coverage. Only then can an application be submitted for certification. The KBA (German Federal Motor Transport Authority) is authorized to conduct random field trials to verify that the wheel rims produced for the TÜV tests are of the same quality as those produced for the street. Should discrepancies arise, the KBA can recall all the wheel rims at the manufacturer’s cost – analogous to a carmaker’s product recall.