Choosing the Right Supplier – Alloy Wheel Stripping

When setting up your Alloy Wheel Refurbishment business there are many important decisions to make, all of which will impact on your quality, turn around and profit. There are many things to consider when setting up your business; are you going to opt for a cold or hot stripping set up? What type of tank are you going to purchase? Have you done a risk assessment of the chemicals and your workplace and set up to ensure you have the correct PPE? Are you fully up to speed with the products on offer to you? Has your supplier discussed the pro’s and con’s and helped you to understand the options available? And are they on hand to continue to offer advice to you? In this article, we’ll look at finding the right alloy wheel stripping chemical supplier for your business. 

To begin your chemical stripping process, your first purchase will usually be the tank. When purchasing your set up, one of the first decisions to be made will be on the type of tank you choose for the chemical stripping itself. It is always tempting when someone offers you a cheaper product, that states will do the same as the more expensive one.

Which Tank?

Most of the stripping tanks on the market currently are made from 304 grade Stainless Steel. Although this is a good grade of stainless steel, it only offers around 3% resistance to acid, and not very much resistance to Dichloromethane (the base of most cold stripping chemicals). Most alloy wheel strippers have a 5% acid content. The build-up of corrosion and discolouration is obvious when using 304 stainless. These will fail in time due to the acid attack on the weld, which means a potential chemical spill. Extremely hazardous, dangerous and costly for a business. 

The higher 316 grade Stainless Steel offers a much higher resistance to acid, up to 20%, and the same with Dichloromethane. This means the presence of corrosion and discolouration will be significantly less. There will still be a build-up of green scale. However, this will be less harmful and taxing to the crucial welds than the lesser grade 304.

What Chemical?

The same goes for the alloy wheel stripping chemical itself. It is often easy to be flattered by cheaper prices, the same quality as the more expensive one offered, and again, what difference does it make, acid is acid… This is where you have been mis-lead. There are also different grades of chemicals. Virgin grade A, and recovered Grade B. What is the difference? Grade A is the highest grade, fresh, clean, never been used, so will not have the presence of water or other bulk material. This produces a cleaner product, no nasty odour and longer lasting performance. Grade B recovered material is usually product which has been recovered from chemical plants, meaning they have already been used and recycled. This means that manufacturers must filter them down, distil them and re-label as a Grade B product. 

So what is the difference when it comes to the mix of the alloy wheel stripping chemical? Well not much when it is brand new, they will both perform in a similar way for a short period of time. However, Grade B materials will not perform well for as long, will weaken up and burn out quicker. The manufacturers may also add other materials to this to bulk up the load, such as water or other, lesser solvents. But how will this impact on you, the end user? 

The lesser quality grade B product, that you have been sold at a bargain price, which seemed too good to be true – is exactly that. This product will perform the same as the higher-grade product from the offset, however, the presence of water and other lesser solvents makes this product unreliable. One batch may well be perfect, however the next one may be poor due to the inconsistency of the chemical make-up in the products, it may have poor stripping times, smell different every time and even look different. This will, when left to do so, react with the metal surfaces and cause pitting or worse, a toxic chemical reaction. The lesser product will burn out quicker, which means you will need to top up more often and you will lose productivity as the product will not strip after a few weeks. 

Some of the batches wont strip, but when you phone the supplier, they state there being nothing wrong with the mix. It will not be their mix at fault, it is their choice of raw materials, but it is you, the customer, who pays the price for their savings. Results are not guaranteed with poor chemical mixes, and as such you may well let your customers down with timescales and deadlines, adding extra stress to your already stressful workload. 

In contrast, a Grade A product will give you longevity and high quality performance, without the need to boost the mix, giving you 4-6 weeks of use, meaning you aren’t needing to top up your tank as regularly, resulting in you needing to order less chemical. If you do the maths, you will be ordering Grade B products more frequently, and subsequently spending more money. Buy cheap, buy twice. We have discussed offering the option of a “Grade B” product to our chemical list to compete with the crazy low prices some companies are pulling out of their hats at the moment, however we have chosen to continue to only supply high quality products that we are happy to use ourselves in our own workshop. 

We would not consider using low grade materials as we are too busy to be waiting around for parts to strip – we are the ONLY company to use their own manufactured products in house, so we know what you, our customer needs from a product.

Grade A material vs Grade B material

Which Alloy wheel stripping chemical supplier?

We have put a lot of time and effort into designing and developing our range of chemicals, tanks and the PPE lines we stock to ensure that you, our customer, can run your business efficiently and safely. With this in mind, we pride ourselves on being a supplier who cares. We offer you more than just a quick sale. We want to build a relationship with all of our customers, our success is only possible because of your success and we want to assure you that we are always on hand, at the end of the phone, email, social media page (often out of hours too!) to give you the support and advice you need to increase your productivity and knowledge within the sector. Ribble Technology are the only manufacturer who uses their own products in house. Look no further for the right alloy wheel stripping chemical supplier. 

Ribble Technology specialises in paint stripping and surface treatments of metal surfaces. The Sutton family have nearly half a decade experience in the chemical and paint stripping industry, from Derrick Sutton, passed on through the family, to now, John Sutton. We can guarantee the products we sell do what they need to do. We have spent years developing our products within various markets, such as aerospace, automotive and rail. Working with some of the biggest names in these industries, our product has always had to be the best of quality. This ensures reliability and performance. 

It doesn’t stop there! As we use these products, we have the same concerns as you, the customer. Which is the best set up, what is the best tank, what PPE should I use? How about insurance, risk assessment? What do I do if I have an accident? These are all questions we get asked daily by individuals and businesses who have been fobbed off by other suppliers once they have taken their order and money. It just is not good enough and as a company we are passionate about ensuring you are as clued up as possible. It is crucial! How can you be the best you can be, if you do not have all of the knowledge needed for the products you are using! Because we understand, we care. 

We have helped customer with set ups, guidance on insurance, health associations and many more, some of which have come to us for advice having purchased from other suppliers. If you are in the same boat, we would love to help you. We can give you the advice you need, please do get in touch. Our service doesn’t just stop at the point of sale.

What else can we do for you?

Ribble Technology now stock a range of plastic entry level tanks, which have been tried and tested in our Paint Stripping workshop for the past 5 years. As well as Stainless Steel wheel stripping tanks, which have been tested to their limits and beyond in our workshop for the last 4 months. All of our products have been tested against the acid they are intended for, with you the user in mind. We have also added a range of chemical protective PPE which we use in our workshop, so following your own risk assessment, you can buy with confidence.

At Ribble Technology, we do more than just a quick sale, we are a partner. We have the knowledge and the expertise to help you through the alloy wheel stripping process. From consultation, helping you choose the right set up for you, through to utilisation of the products. Whatever you need, we’ve got you. No stress, no mess, no fuss.

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