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Old 12-08-2016, 05:18 PM   #1
Mach V Dan
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Default Mach V Dan Visits TWS Motorsport in Japan

Earlier this year I took a little (okay, not so little) trip to Japan, where I visited the wheel forging foundry of Tan-Ei-Sya Wheel Supply, otherwise known as TWS. Tan-Ei-Sya is Japanese for (roughly) "Excellent Forging," and that is indeed what they do.


TWS Headquarters


I saw these clever trucks all over Japan. The whole side comes off for easy access to the cargo.

The wheel foundry is a complete soup-to-nuts manufacturing facility, starting with logs of raw aluminum, and ending up as finished forged wheels in boxes, ready to ship out for distribution. Along the way, they wheels undergo more than 35 individual processes, only a few of which I can even describe, much less have photos of. But after my tour I have a new-found understanding of why true forged wheels cost so much.


Future wheel stock.

When I say "true forged," I mean wheels forged the old fashioned way, which is using a very powerful press to shape the wheels over a die. TWS has two forging presses. The more powerful of the two exerts 8,000 TONS of pressure on the wheel. Yes, that's 16,000,000 pounds of force. By way of comparison, the Eiffel Tower weighs about 10,000 tons.


The big forging press.

The resulting wheels are extremely strong and extremely light. Forging aligns the metal grains along the direction in which the wheel is formed, so the strength of the aluminum is very high relative to traditional cast, or even "flow-formed" or "semi-forged" wheels.


Once the forging press is withdrawn, the heated wheel bursts into flames! There's as lot of fire and smoke and steam. It's dramatic and exciting to watch.

After the actual forging, there are a bunch more shaping processes to do things like make the drop center (so you can get the tire on the wheel), forming the lip, and stuff like that.



Further CNC machining gets something that's more recognizable as as wheel, or in this case, a wheel center. Many TWS designs are two-piece wheels, with forged centers attached to a forged aluminum rim.





The fit between the center and the barrel is so tight, the barrels have to be heated for the center to drop in. Here are a couple of wheels sitting on inductive heaters for that purpose.



TWS makes a lot of racing wheels. These centerlock wheels are for Japan's Super Formula series, I think.

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Old 12-08-2016, 05:18 PM   #2
Mach V Dan
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Here are some more centers and barrels waiting for assembly:




Quality control is a huge thing for these people. The wheels have to pass Japan's JWL and VIA standard. I bet you don't know the difference is between those two! JWL certification is a system where the manufacturer sets up specific tests and performs them in-house. VIA is an outside laboratory where the wheels are shipped off and tested by a third party. Both are quite rigorous, and to pass them both requires extremely strong product.

Here's a wheel that has been sawed up to examine and quality-check the wheel after the forging process:



Here are some more cut up for testing:




The finish quality is amazing. Even before painting, the wheels gleam.






Quality checking:




Some finished product:



17" T66-F wheels. One the lightest wheels you can buy. The name comes from a special alloy TWS developed just for this wheel. Some of these wheels may be in the Mach V showroom today! Note you can see the special knurled strip around the barrel where the tire bead will sit. It's intended to provide a higher friction surface to keep the tire from rotating against the wheel.




The showroom has an amazing display of wheels of all different styles and colors.



Paint samples:


Last edited by Mach V Dan; 12-08-2016 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:18 PM   #3
Mach V Dan
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This is the newest style, the T66-GT. The deep blue paint finish is also new:




Out in the parking lot were some cars sporting the company product, including...


Toyota 86 racer on 16" T66-F. TWS' parent company is Osaka Toyopet Group, and they sponsor a whole racing program.


Toyota Sera. Rare!


R-32 Nissan GT-R. So nice!

Now that I'm back in the U.S., we have a few of the T66-F wheels on hand. We've got 17x9" 5x100. 15.75 pounds each.



Also 18x9.5" 5x114. 16.85 pounds each.





So that's my TWS wheels story. These are pretty expensive wheels -- up there with the Japanese names you know like Volk Racing. But I can now say from witnessing with my own eyes that they are definitely made using a tremendous amount of care and know-how, and they deliver in terms of strength and weight.

Thanks for reading this.

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com

Last edited by Mach V Dan; 12-08-2016 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:36 PM   #4
whoioncewas
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What are those last ones pictured and can I get them for my car?
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:22 PM   #5
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoioncewas View Post
What are those last ones pictured and can I get them for my car?
Which ones are you referring to? I've been editing these posts, so I'm not sure...

We have in stock the 17x9" T66-F in 5x100, and 18x9.5" T66-F in 5x114. Click the links for product info. Other ones we can order. Send me a PM if you would like.

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com
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Old Yesterday, 02:24 AM   #6
OrbitalEllipses
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Sigh, I really need some 19" T66-F in 5x114. I see the newer T66 wheel has better 19" fitments as well.
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Old Yesterday, 09:50 AM   #7
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrbitalEllipses View Post
Sigh, I really need some 19" T66-F in 5x114. I see the newer T66 wheel has better 19" fitments as well.
There's a standard size of 19x9.5" +45. Other 19" widths and offsets can be produced but it would take a good bit of time.

What exact fitment are you looking for?

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com
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Old Yesterday, 10:31 AM   #8
Obviously Tyler
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Wow, they're lighter than my RPF-1s in the same size. New wheel goals.

Interesting read, thanks for sharing.
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Old Yesterday, 07:41 PM   #9
OrbitalEllipses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan View Post
There's a standard size of 19x9.5" +45. Other 19" widths and offsets can be produced but it would take a good bit of time.

What exact fitment are you looking for?

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com
9" 50ish offset, 10" 40ish offset. Though dropping ~$4K is kind of...well, I'm opposed to the idea. Their IS-F/RC-F/GS-F off-the-shelf fitments are kinda meh. Don't want a low offset 10" rear nor do I want half inch widths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obviously Tyler View Post
Wow, they're lighter than my RPF-1s in the same size. New wheel goals.

Interesting read, thanks for sharing.
These are among the lightest quality forgings one can buy before jumping to something like HRE.

Last edited by OrbitalEllipses; Yesterday at 07:48 PM.
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