Vrooming away

Vrooming away

Weistec Engineering powers Mercedes – AMG automobiles to ensure superior performance levels | By Matt Bailey | Mercedes-AMG automobiles exude sporty styling,luxury, 14 toolsand, above all, impressive power. But some AMG owners, although quite satisfied with the luxury and style,crave even more power – lots more power.These Mercedes-AMG owners increasingly turn to Weistec Engineering to take their cars to the next level of performance.Co-owners Michael Weiss and Steve Atneyel started Weistec Engineering in Santa Ana, California, to satisfy their own appetite for speed and that of other Mercedes-AMG owners. “My background is mechanical engineering,”explains Weiss, the company’s technical director.

“Steve and I worked together in the performance aftermarket, and really enjoyed what we did. Although we worked on American cars, mostly Mustangs, we drove Mercedes for our personal vehicles. We saw a niche in the market for offering performance products for these cars, and hence we put our heads together, worked out a game plan, and came up with Weistec.

They make and install performance products for Mercedes-AMG vehicles. Supercharger upgrades, turbo charger upgrades,exhaust systems, transmissions,ECU tuning solutions, drive lines – everything that allows cars to develop more power and better drivability.

He explains, “More power means engines producing anywhere from 500 horsepower to well over 1000 horsepower; depending on the platform, how much power the customer wants and whether racing or CARB legal (California Air Resources Board) is the priority.” Except for their racing products,Weistec components are 50-state emissions compliant.

15 toolsWeistec engineers its products specifically for the E55 AMG model with the M113K engine, the SLS AMG model with the M159 engine, and the ‘63’ model AMGs– like the CL63 AMG and E63 AMG – with M156 and M157 engines. All components are designed with the concept of carrying over the Mercedes style to their products,so they have the look, fit, and excellence of design and materials found in OEM parts.

For example, the company’s superchargers use high-quality castings that closely match the Mercedes style. They turn upto 18,000 rpm and produce more than 10psi boost. Their racing engine superchargers produce over 30 psi boost at more than 30,000 rpm. They are engineered for high performance and dependability,with components precision-machined to exacting tolerances on Weistec’s Haas VM-3 CNC mould making VMC and ST-30 turning centre.

The superchargers fit the engines precisely,and work seamlessly with supporting Weistec components to efficiently get the power to the wheels. And the company’s ECU tuning solutions get maximum performance from the supercharger system.

“One of the main things that differentiate us from our competitors,” points out Steve Atneyel, director, operations, “is that we have a very good system in terms of putting the hardware and the software together to get everything running right. That’s how we get our products CARB legal. There is a lot of OEM integration, so we really have to think everything through. Some manufacturers just do hardware, and some just software. We do both, and we put them together very well.”

Weistec depends on their Haas CNC machines to make their precision,zero-compromise products and meet the commitment to their customers. “I think the whole experience with Haas, from dealing with the local sales representatives, was very good,” acknowledges Weiss. “They were knowledgeable and very helpful. They asked to see the parts to get an understanding of what we do, and they were focussed on what we needed and the best way to accomplish that.”

Table size, spindle speed, every detail was discussed thoroughly and Haas helped with all of that. They finally decided on the VM-3 mould making VMC and the ST-30 for turning.The VM-3 came standard with most of the options that they wanted, which cost less than adding the options they needed to another model that they were previously considering.

“These are our first CNC machines,and we are very pleased with the machines and the service,” quips Weiss.“We really like the parts catcher on the ST-30 delivering parts through the door to a tray without shutting down,” he adds.“That saves a lot of time. The VM-3 has probing, programmable coolant nozzle,extra lighting and a lot more. The machines we have are perfect for our operation. We really put the machines through a beating,and the reliability has been excellent. We do not just cut aluminum all day but a lot of stainless steel and some Inconel, with a high load. Many times, we push the tools to their limit,” affirms Weiss.

16 toolsThe ST-30 does most of their parts, as they make so many pulleys and round parts. Atneyel points out, “But many of these get a final op on the VM-3, so we use multiple fixturing in the mill. Our head machinist has a reputation for thinking outside the box and finds a way to make a common fixture to support several similar parts.”

“Normally, the table has low-quantity,multiple fixtures mounted on it,” asserts Weiss. “We are a high-quality manufacturer,so sometimes we need thirty of something cut, anodised, and on the shelf quickly.”Weistec employs high technology wherever possible. They often make rapid prototypes on their in-house 3D printer, before using the machining centre to make a test part. Larger, more complicated 3D models are sent out for rapid prototyping.

Using the 3D prototypes to verify placement and design concepts reduces costs. It permits an inexpensive model to be made and tested, with the flexibility to allow quick changes, before requiring more expensive machining time and materials.In addition to the usual QC measuring instruments, the Weistec Quality Assurance Department is equipped with a Faro portable 3D measurement arm with both laser optical scanner and touch probes.

A computer-generated scan can produce measurements as close as five ten-thousands of an inch (0.0005″). Scanned images can be rotated and manipulated onscreen to display how a component will appear when it is installed in the vehicle. They also scan the engine compartment without the engine installed, and use the images to check for interference. Scanned images of the engine with new components installed are “fitted” into the scan of the engine compartment to locate areas where the designs may need adjustment.

“This ‘reverse engineering’ is necessary,because Mercedes does not make models or design information available to the aftermarket. Using this technology provides faster measurements and helps ensure the parts fit and work together freely,”concludes Weiss.

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