When helding one of the highly engineered Tune hubs in hand, one could without a doubt think this product emerged from a well automated process, manufactured in large scales. Otherwise, how can Tune guarantee such quality and precision?
That's what we at Starbike.com thought, and after more than 10 years of good cooperation we were invited by Sebastian Linser, CEO at Tune, to visit the hallowed halls of Tune.
In southern Germany, shortly after Freiburg im Breisgau lies Buggingen, next to the Rhine River, the french border. It´s an inconspicuous industrial area, where Tune develops and produces first class lightweight composite and alloy products. The possibly huge industrial building, one could expect, turned out as a normal sized house with an extension on the backside, to fit in all production machinery.
Sebastian Linser welcomed us at the factory site, how could it be otherwise – dressed in Tune clothing. As well as everyone else of the 30 employees we met there, by the way.
One of the few parts that are (yet) not self-manufactured
at the site, are the rims. The facilities to produce composite rims would need much more space and different circumstances. „To have accuret control about your quality, it´s good to produce as much as possible at home“, commented Sebastian „but we have competent partners in Germany, to guarantee an equal level of quality“. That was the first thing we noticed at Tune; the emphasis placed on quality.
In terms of quality, Tune is going places. Or have you ever seen a pair of spare nipples and spokes coming with your Tune wheel? No, and here ist he reason why!
After the rims passed shipment and storage as shown in the picture, they need to be assembled together with spokes and one of the Tune hubs, to become a Tune wheel. This job is done by two machines, to get the most precise and reproducible result. The first machine supports one person to mount hub, spokes and rim together to one wheel. Then the pre-assembled wheel is shifted to the tensioner, where the spokes get tightened very precisely and equally throughout the rim.
The tightening process takes a few minutes, depending on the amount of holes and diversity of rims. The tensioner can store several wheels from different types and shapes and finish all of them without any supervision. Besides a diagram-protocol that can be later used as evidence for a potential failure tracing, the tensioner sortes out the wheels which couldn´t reach the demanded quality criteria.
After beeing assembled correctly the wheels wait for packaging or other finishing steps.
And where do yo u start your tour through the alloy milling process? Correct, with the right material!
Here, Sebastian revealed a tiny bit of the magic, that´s happening at Buggingen: „We´ve made some major steps, when it comes to material research and development. The common high-alloyed aluminum is outdated, and can´t provide the properties we demand nowadays.“
All the alloy products, you know from tune are beeing milled in either one of these two CNC lathes.
After an approximately seven minutes period for the King hub, the employee can blow away all the emerged milling chips, to have a look at the finished hub. Then the hub is ejected on the backside, and ready for the first quality control.
At Tune, every product is being measured completly by hand, immediatly after the manufacturing process. That´s one criteria, how the quality output can be ruled.
Before the alloy parts are shipped to anodisation, all the burrs must be removed in order to achieve a smooth, clean look and touch. The tiny sanding stones differ in terms of shape, size, grit and color, for better handling at daily work and the best results in the outcome.
Afterwards, the quality management checks all hubs for defects so that no defective products leave the site.
Even the operating equipment is handmade at Tune!
After going through the milling area, we headed to the storage and shipping section.
The shipping area is also home to the assembly department, where, among other parts, the freewheels for the freshly produced hubs are prepared. The new parts are then sorted and stored in the warehouse area.
But, not only Tune has to store its parts somehow. We at Starbike.com deal with storage issues every day, so we had a good time with Sebastian, talking about different principles and systems.
„On the right side, we can see the largest amount of absoluteBLACK parts stock, apart from absoluteBLACK´s“, Sebastian joked, „as well as on the left side, the green boxes represent the largest stock of Speedneedle for years“. As the Speedneedle is a very exclusive and rare product, usually Tune produces on demand.
After seeing all production facilities, we were permitted to have a look at the development lab and the testing room. Ideas for new products are born, developed and tested here. The four development engineers who work at Tune do a great job. We can be curious to see what innovations Tune has in stock for 2019.
Upstairs, Sebastian showed us the office, team rooms and facilities for trying out new stuff and beeing creative. There we had a nice business talk and time to recap everything we´d seen.
What we especially liked about Sebastian, was his attitude towards decision making. You could tell, that turnover is not on top of his priority list. Among other things we could experience a new technology, that might enhance Tune´s products one day.
Born in the black forest – built to enjoy nature
Tune´s slogan already gives an answer to our initial question, how Tune can guarantee such quality and precision. Everybody seems to love what he´s doing there. Together with a well-established quality management, passion and the right philosophies, Tune in fact is capable of guarantee what the products show for 30 years now. Thank you for having us!
We are excited about 2019!