31. August 2023

RONAL GROUP and LEONHARD KURZ demonstrate the future of wheel design

Härkingen/Switzerland, 2023/08/31 – The RONAL GROUP, together with KURZ, a specialist in surface finishes, have developed aerodynamic wheel inserts with various decoration options, ready for series production. This is achieved using an innovative and sustainable hot stamping process. The project will be presented at the KURZ booth at the IAA Summit in Munich from September 05 to 08 2023.

The IAA Summit will take place within the framework of IAA MOBILITY 2023, the leading global platform for both the mobility of tomorrow and the fields of sustainability and technology. As ever, the central topic is electromobility, which also brings with it new requirements for components such as wheels and tires.

Aerodynamic wheels offer a significant advantage for electric vehicles: The use of plastic inserts in the outer part of the wheel does not generate any great increase in weight, plus they also provide lower air resistance. This in turn not only ensures a lower noise level, but also enables more efficient aerodynamics, leading to a better range, especially for e-vehicles.

The fact that these aero plastic inserts can also be stylish and customizable is demonstrated by the German thin-film specialist KURZ in a revolutionary project example in cooperation with the RONAL GROUP. “We have developed an innovative solution for refining aerodynamic wheel inserts that combines design and function. With the help of the new hot stamping PERFORMANCE+ process, slender curved structures can be decorated perfectly with great efficiency,” explains Sebastian Roan, Advanced Business Development Manager Automotive in the Plastic Decoration business area at KURZ. “The process is particularly suitable for decorating complex multidimensional geometries and can be fully automated.”

Nor was the sustainability aspect forgotten in the development: An efficient process reduces CO2 emissions and ensures a low reject rate. In addition, users of the process benefit from lower energy consumption than with classic hot stamping, since hot stamping PERFORMANCE+ requires no preheating of the material. In addition, because the decorative layer is thinner than a human hair, it is assured that the component can be recycled. The innovative design elements are already available for series production and are also suitable for use with recycled plastic materials.

“We are pleased that we have been able to implement this project together with KURZ as a partner. The new decoration process from KURZ in combination with our wheel designs and technologies opens up almost limitless design possibilities, such as matching the wheel and the insert by means of the foils,” explains Raphaël Ballu, project manager at the RONAL GROUP. “We already offer our customers, both in the OEM sector and in the aftermarket, a range of technologies that can be used to customize wheels. These include lasering, colored clear coat (Color Tinted), Multi Color Rim (MCR) for multicolor design of aluminum wheels or plastic applications in various designs. With the new KURZ decoration technology, we can expand our portfolio and make our products even more elegant.”

A range of wheels with various different inserts can be seen at the LEONHARD KURZ company booth in Hall A2 (Booth C32) at the IAA Summit from September 05-08, 2023 in Munich.

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Copyright images: LEONHARD KURZ