In their simplest form, wheels are pretty simple, but performance racing wheels are a complex set of calculations and engineering principles that are unavoidable. Weld engineers have at their disposal more design, engineering and testing tools than any other racing wheel manufacturer. Using programs such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and engineering concepts such as Rotational Moment of Inertia (RMOI), WELD engineers have designed and engineered wheels from 10” to 26” in diameter for virtually every type of application, including the more than 30,000 part numbers listed on our website.
Located in Kansas City, USA, WELD is as an engineering driven company that lives the racing application through leading edge designs and real world results. The company is not trying to reinvent the wheel, just perfect it. For nearly five decades, the WELD Wheels brand has been known throughout the automotive aftermarket as the premier aluminum race wheel manufacturer in all forms of motorsports – and we intend to keep it that way.
Please use our Tech Pages as your technical resource for all things wheel-related. If you have a question and can’t find an answer in our FAQ’s or technical bulletins, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our Technical Sales Representatives.
FEA: Finite Element Analysis – the collision between art and science.
Wheel construction is at the intersection of art and science. The scientific element appeals to that little engineer inside most racers, and the art element appeals to well, that other side – we like our wheels to look like performance wheels.
Finite Element Analysis, or FEA, is a tool that WELD engineers use to navigate that intersection between art and science, and is the type of stuff some of us would have paid more attention in high school science if we would have known how it applied to cars and racing.
Listen to our engineers talk about FEA, and you come to understand that a wheel can be too strong in some areas, and removing mass in that area spreads the load more evenly across the surface, which makes the product as a whole stronger. The goal is to make the wheel as strong as necessary for the intended application but at the lightest possible weight, and with a factor of safety in place. The answer to making it lighter – and stronger – is not always obvious. In other words, drilling more holes to lighten a racing component is neither science nor art. Weld racing wheels incorporate a lot of 3 dimensional contours that other wheel manufacturers may not. These contours appeal to the artist, but also serve an important role in spreading the load, or in FEA terms, minimizing the “hot spot”.
Once the part is loaded and constrained in the computer, the engineer applies various loads, which from our racing experience, reflect the real word racing environment, and the result is a color coded digital wheel as shown above. Sometimes the results surprise us, other times it tells us what we expect. What we do know is that every time we do it, we learn something, and what we learn on an oval track wheel may also apply to a drag wheel or street/strip product. The trick to FEA isn’t buying the software; it’s knowing how to simulate the stress of real world driving experiences. Of course, there is no substitute for real physical testing, so the WELD engineers put each new wheel design through a series of tests to confirm what the computers have already told us.
Designing a performance wheel that is first-in-class in all critical attributes; weight, strength, RMOI, concentricity, yet still good-looking – requires an artful eye, experience, software and everything in between. Sounds complicated? It is, and that is why decades of engineering experience make WELD the leading manufacture of forged performance wheels.