A family-run company from Milton Keynes, UK, has set the standard for quality refurbished alloy wheels and is now going global. Wheelabrator is proud to have played a role in developing the best and most efficient process for this up-and-coming application.
Ten years ago, when working at a vehicle preparation centre for a major car manufacturer, Pete Dobson witnessed countless brand-new alloy wheels being replaced and scrapped due to minor defects. There was no accepted standard process available at the time to repair or refurbish wheels.
Partly due to the absence of a good process, manufacturers weren’t keen on refurbishment and preferred to swap and scrap instead.
Unhappy with the idea of all that wasted material and convinced there was a better way of giving alloys a new lease of life, Pete started to investigate processes for refurbishing alloy wheels and set up his own business: Supreme Wheels.
By 2010, the company was employing six people and processing 20 wheels per day.
But Pete was already thinking bigger. Knowing that he held the unique answer to a widespread problem, he invested heavily in advanced equipment that would allow him to refurbish wheels on a much larger scale.
This increased capability and capacity led to contracts for the „defleeting“ of thousands of cars per year and piqued the interest of car manufacturers.
Fast forward to 2016 and Pete’s venture is going global, now employing 44 people, processing 200 wheels per day and selling his sophisticated multi-step re-engineering process worldwide.
An important part of Pete’s strategy early on was to invest in equipment that could achieve better qualities and higher outputs than he actually needed at the time, leaving room for growth, but also allowing him to guarantee the quality and process control required by manufacturers (earning quality refurbished wheels a place on the ‚approved used’ forecourt).
Wheelabrator machines play a key role in this, along with advanced CNCs and coating equipment.
Supreme Wheels uses Wheelabrator wetblast cabinets to clean wheels before processing and for preparing wheels before powder-coating.
Repeatability of results and fast processing speeds were key factors in the decision to purchase the machines and Pete sees them as integral parts of the high-quality process he is now renowned for.
As part of their on-going expansion program Supreme Wheels have now ordered a Wheelabrator RT1500-2-1000 Rotary table machine which will further expand their ability to prepare wheels for final finishing.
Pete explains: "We always knew there would be huge demand for alloy wheel refurbishment once we could prove that our process delivers impeccable results. We needed to show that our alloys are truly re-engineered by virtue of a rock solid, trackable process. That’s why we invested in machines that may have looked like overkill at the time. We were set up for quality and volume straightaway, because we knew that if we could offer quality, volume would follow. Using Wheelabrator blast equipment instead of inferior manual processes is a case in point."
Due to its high-profile, demanding customer base, trackability is important at Supreme Wheels, which is why every step of the process is done in-house, from cleaning through to coating.
Every wheel leaves the workshop structurally sound and fully certified. In addition to contracts with fleet partners, the company offers a UK-wide retail service for customers who want their alloy wheels refreshed or upgraded.
This includes superior paint jobs, as well as diamond cutting, returning the alloys in a better-than-new condition.
Thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, including automated Wheelabrator machinery, Supreme Wheels can turn the majority of wheels around within one day.
Through a combination of ingenuity and ambition, Pete Dobson may well have changed the world of alloy wheels for good – and saved tens of thousands of wheels from the scrapheap.