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Wheel of fortune

Wheel of fortune

16/06/2008 | Channel: Construction, Manufacturing

Titan Steel Wheels' quality off-road wheels have made the company the first choice for global OEM manufacturers

Titan Steel Wheels is a part of Titan Europe plc, and is one of the world's most well respected manufacturers of wheels for offroad vehicles. The company is a supplier of wheel solutions for OEM manufacturers operating in the agricultural, construction, military, and mining industries.

Titan Europe plc is an international engineering group, which, aside from providing wheel technologies, is a global manufacturer of undercarriages, ground engaging tools, wet brake systems, tyres, and wheel and tyre assembly packages. If it moves off road on tracks or tyres Titan will have a solution. Alongside Titan's expertise in the aforementioned industrial sectors, the group is also a specialist provider of bespoke applications, as well as offering customers an extensive array of after-market services. The business has a worldwide manufacturing and distribution network, with facilities located in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, USA, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Australia, and China.

Titan Steel Wheels is a firm fixture within the construction industry, and the majority of its wheel solutions have been designed in conjunction with OEMs and manufacturers operating in the sector. Steel Wheels solutions are primarily used on heavy-duty mobile cranes, wheeled loaders, and both rigid and articulated dump trucks. The global scope of the Cookley-based operations cannot be underestimated: 80 per cent of the company's sales are exported worldwide to clients in Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Australia, and the Far East.

Through focusing on the needs of customers, and applying the findings to its processes, Titan Steel Wheels is one of the most knowledgeable, capable wheel manufacturers on the market, priding itself on offering quality product.Working closely with OEM manufacturers is a high priority, and this process is a vital component of the company's research into new technologies and products. At Titan's manufacturing facilities, the organisation has installed all of the most advanced machinery and instruments, such as CAD, CAM, FEA, microprocessor controls, plasma cutting machines, and robotic laser guided welding. Equally, all products come with phosphate, e-coat, and powder coat paint technology, which ensures long life and high levels of resistance against atmospheric corrosion, chips and scratches. This is no easy task considering the machines these wheels go on operate in the most hostile of conditions. Steel Wheels is continuously upgrading its facilities to meet the ever changing needs of the customer. Recently the company has invested in new paint facilities, CNC machining centres, and of course the workforce who are on a journey into the world of lean manufacturing.

Focusing on the solutions Titan Steel Wheels provides, the company has a strong presence in the construction industry, most notably in the earthmoving and mining sectors. Indeed, the business supplies OEM equipment to a veritable who's who of
global construction companies, such as Caterpillar, Terex, and Demag. The harsh and hostile environments that earthmover wheels must operate in means that Steel Wheels' solutions must be rugged and reliable, and this also applies to wheels on dump trucks, graders, and wheel loaders. Wheels used on mobile cranes must be able to perform on both highways and on crosscountry surfaces, and continuously evolve in terms of design, as the machines themselves change and develop.

Within the industrial sector, Steel Wheels supplies product primarily for forklift trucks, military vehicles, and straddle carries, for companies like NACCO, Linde Heavy Truck Division and Kalmar. In regards to the products it can physically provide, Steel Wheels is a respected manufacturer of three piece and five piece wheel sets, and has been producing wheels on the site at Cookley in Worcestershire for 97 years. Obviously the site has changed somewhat during this time, but this history makes Steel Wheels the most experienced multi piece wheel maker in the world.

Titan Steel Wheels has developed the Integrated Flange wheel series as a response to the major advances in the vehicles required by end users in the construction sector. Using the latest CNC production techniques and advanced manufacturing processes, including laser guided welding technology, the IF range offers clients superior performance and quality. For example, IF wheels reduce tyre slippage through greater contact between the tyre and integral flange. The wheels also offer less tyre chafing through having no separate loose flange, meaning there is less interface between the tyre bead and the wheel rim. Finally, IF wheels provide improved performance through greater accuracy in the roundness of rims, combined with the use of high strength low alloy materials that maximise fatigue life.

The quality of Titan Steel Wheels solutions has seen it strengthen its market position in Europe recently, where it is the sole supplier to the growing auto-crane market. The auto-crane application really puts the Steel Wheels product to the test. Unlike a regular application where the vehicle is loaded and unloaded the autocrane wheel is fully loaded all the time. The vehicle also needs to be capable to go on or off road and at speeds up to 85km/h. If that isn't enough then it needs to be able to do this at -40C. As Titan Europe's commercial director John Wheelwright comments: "The auto-crane market is very important for us because it demonstrates in one product everything that is important to Steel Wheels. It shows technical excellence and innovation to develop and manufacture a product of this type. It is product like this that keeps us ahead of the competition and the first choice for OEMs when it comes to wheels.”

In April 2008, Titan Steel Wheels received perhaps the finest accolade available for the third time - a Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation, presented by HRH The Duke of Kent at the company's Cookley site. The business received the award because of the success of the auto-crane wheel , which recognised the £3 million that has been invested in tools, equipment, and testing to produce the range. John explains what the accolade means to the company: “Everyone at Titan Steel Wheels is to be congratulated for their hard work and determination which has undoubtedly contributed to our success. The Queen's Award is internationally recognised and it serves as both testament to the great workforce we have here and the strong partnerships they and indeed the rest of the Group, has built up over many years with our customers across the globe.”

Chris Akers, managing director of Titan Steel Wheels added: “This outstanding achievement comes as the result of our renowned technical ability and innovative approach to problem-solving. Therefore, this award is testimony to the continued efforts of the dedicated, talented and determined workforce at Titan Steel Wheels. It also demonstrates the continued strength of British industry and how the West Midlands continues to contribute to this strength.”

In May 2008, Titan Steel Wheels also achieved ISO 14001 environmental certification - the international standard that provides guidelines for companies to instigate effective Environmental Management Systems. Chris Akers, outlines the significance of the accreditation: “Achieving this standard is fantastic news for everyone at Steel Wheels. Along with other quality standards that Steel Wheels already holds, ISO 14001 is now becoming a customer requirement, so achieving this keeps us ahead of the game. Following our environmental policy has helped deliver some great cost savings and is an absolute must for our company's continued success. Today we should all feel very proud. Not only do we make the very best wheels in the world, but now we can say that in doing so we are considering our impact on the environment.”

Titan Steel Wheels Ltd
Employees 450
Industry Earthmover wheels