For those Star Wars fans, we first had our introduction to the word carbon when Han Solo was carbon frozen. Since then the word has been mystified alongside a high-tech image and for good reason. Carbon fibre delivers immense strength but at a highly reduced weight. This is why Blackstonetek (BST) have used it to create the most beautiful and hard-wearing wheels, fuel tanks, swing arms, fairings and custom-built components for iconic motorcycle and automotive brands.
In 2002, after returning from Europe, Gary Turner – a former European motorcycle racing contender – and Terry Anneke, a Microsoft marketing guru, decided to partner up and create the best carbon fibre products in the world. Over 30 000 wheels have been shipped since then. They use Aerospace FAR25 qualified materials used by NASA and Formula 1 which make their wheels the lightest in the business.
Brad Anassis, himself a local racing legend, is at the forefront of BST Marketing, based in North Riding, Johannesburg. At their 100 000 square feet facility they employ over 70 people to keep up production with two spray booths on site. They also manufacture most of the components that go into the wheels like the hubs, fasteners, spacers, sleeves, seals, components for air valves, sprockets and sprocket carriers.
The BST team have recently partnered with BASF Coatings. Sean Armstrong; sales manager Johannesburg BASF Coatings, and Wayne Botes; senior technical sales consultant BASF Coatings, have been testing different products to see how efficient they can make the painting process at BST. Their results have been a faster drying time and a high gloss finish thanks to the Glasurit 923-610 clear coat and their airdry additive. “The old process saw two layers of clear coat on the wheel, then off to the prep bay for sanding and if needed, it would be painted again. This was a two- to three-day process and sometimes once the packaging had been done and tape removed at the product’s final destination there was damage and residue left from the tape,” said Sean.
“With the Glasurit range, the wheel goes straight into the booth and is painted once. If there is polishing required it happens before being packaged on the same day and it’s ready to ship. There is no damage or residue once the wheel is unpacked either. Productivity has been greatly increased due to time and cost savings.”
Glasurit 923-610 doesn’t need flash-off time and has a short drying time in the oven at 60°C and also boasts outstanding drying properties at 40°C and at room temperature. It is efficient as it shortens process times and lowers energy costs too.
Feedback from America on samples recently sent with regards to colour and finish suggests; “Whatever you are doing in South Africa, keep on doing it. We want to roll this procedure out globally!” Excellent feedback for all involved for sure.
There are now coloured options in their carbon fibre range which is truly striking. The colour enhances the carbon fibre aesthetic while giving them a funky look and feel. You can now customise your set of wheels with ink colour finishes in blue, green, red, orange, gold or black to make them even more striking. There are also options of a standard gloss finish, satin finish and matt finish so the choice is up to you.
The team at BST have an immense passion for racing that drives them. This enthusiasm is what allows them to be excellent at what they do.
By Claire Macfie
Pics by Jay Groat