What Takes 5400lbs Of Steel, 4,400lbs Of Aluminum, And 31 Miles Of Welding Wire!


What Takes 5400lbs Of Steel, 4,400lbs Of Aluminum, And 31 Miles Of Welding Wire!

All the stuff the Ridetech Fab Shop made in the month of April, that’s what! After seeing a post on Facebook where the Ridetech guys posted pictures of the welding room and said that a busy welding room was a happy welding room, I had to call and ask for some specs. And those specs are crazy. Everything Ridetech makes is pretty well made in Jasper Indiana at their headquarters. Shocks are the exception, as they are built in California. But most all the other parts they make are machined, welded, etc right there in Jasper. And that 5,400 lbs of steel, and 4,400 lbs of aluminum, and 31 MILES of welding wire were all used to make all the suspension kits you know and love. 3,483 welded assemblies in fact, along with who knows how many bag brackets, plates, shock brackets, spacers, and other aluminum bits. That’s damn cool, and a lot of stuff for one month.

Here are parts before being put in the jig to be welded. These particular parts will become a Lower Control Arm.

Here are parts before being put in the jig to be welded. These particular parts will become a Lower Control Arm.

And since I’ve been to Ridetech, probably more than anyone else in the media, I just sort of walk around like I own the place. Everyone there knows me. Hell, I have my own key. Seriously. My own key. The thing that I always love most is all the welding and CNC machining that is going on. There are three guys that weld full time at Ridetech. Bryan Groeninger, Ethan Schepers, and Scott Bolden are the dudes in the welding helmets who are burning wire all day long. Josh Fleck also helps out and welds part time. The room that they weld in is super bitchin because it has it’s own ventilation system to pull out all the fumes from welding, and it also has it’s own climate control system so that these guys can be comfortable while welding. I dig it. Everything that Ridetech builds and is made of welded steel is made right here by these dudes.

Ridetech Welding Room 017

This sucker, literally, hovers over the work space to pull all the fumes away from the welder. It’s adjustable so that the welder can plate it where it makes most sense to him and is not in his field of vision, etc.

Ridetech Welding Room 001

Each of these components is part of a lower control arm. Whatever the finished welded component, they are built from components like these that are built in house at Ridetech and then put into an elaborate electronically controlled inventory and parts management system. The system stores all these components in bins, and when some are needed the automated bins are brought down so that the operator can pull the required number and put them on these rolling cards so that they can be delivered to the welder.

Ridetech Welding Room 011

Once all the components have been sourced, and they have been brought to the welding room, then the appropriate jig, or fixture, is pulled from the inventory of jigs and fixtures designed specifically for each Ridetech part number.

Ridetech Welding Room 010

Once the appropriate jig, or fixture, is located it will be placed on the cart with the components for that particular assembly. In addition, documentation as to what parts these should turn into, are provided as well. This way the welder can double check the previous steps in the process which insures quality and little or no waste.

Ridetech Welding Room 009

Here the lower control arm’s individual components have been placed in the jig and tack welded into place. During the welding process, each complete assembly will be tack welded together to insure integrity, and then fully welded in the jig. Each jig is not only built to hold each component precisely, but also to allow the part to be welded while in the jig. There is not reason to use one if the part has to be removed to be finish welded.

Ridetech Welding Room 007

Bins of goodness. These parts are for Ridetech Street Challenge Air Bar systems and are all fresh from the welders. No prep of any kind has been done to these parts since welding, but they will soon go out for cleaning and powder coating, prior to being sent off to customers around the world.

Ridetech Welding Room 005

Upper and lower control arm sets, also getting ready to be prepped for powder coating.

Ridetech Welding Room 004

Because people’s lives depend on good quality welds in a suspension component, this photo is a good example of proper heat transfer due to good weld penetration. Note the blue rings on the side brackets where the tubing welds to them. Also note the upper 4-link mount at the bottom left of the photo. That is the color you should see in steel that has been properly prepared and properly welded.

Ridetech Welding Room 003

As a guy who has been welding for more than 35 years, I can tell you that welders hate to see a weld get ground down or painted. They are too sexy this way! Ridetech doesn’t grind, but they do paint. We can’t blame them, but I would sure like a clear coat option for my suspension, rather than black.

Ridetech Welding Room 002

More Air Bar links. Remember, all the components that are being used to make each link, or control arm, or whatever, is made by Ridetech. We dig that, because it makes it fun to see parts being made and then made into something even bigger.

If you ever get near Jasper Indiana, walk right in the front door of Ridetech and tell them Chad from BangShift sent you. Seriously. They will give you the nickel tour in a heartbeat. Bret, BJ, Jason, Darren, Snaps, Mick , and all the guys are the real deal. There are dozens of people working there that care about the products they build, and about each other. Ridetech’s founder Bret Voelkel has lived in Jasper his whole life. He supports his employees, and local businesses, but sourcing everything he can right there in Indiana. That’s pretty F’ing cool in our book.

And business at Ridetech has been booming. In fact, last month was their best yet. In celebration, and to show his appreciation to all of the staff at Ridetech, they will be having a Filet Mignon and Lobster lunch tomorrow at the shop. Food is one thing they also know about real well at Ridetech. Bret feeds his people well!

For more information on Ridetech parts, or to look up the address so you can go visit, click the big red button below.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT RIDETECH.COM

 


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