ActOn Case Studies

How to Polish Alloy Wheels to a Bright Finish

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If you want to keep automotive wheels looking like new or if you are a manufacturer who needs to polish alloy wheels to a bright finish, then we recommend reading this case study.

Most of the online tutorials show you how to manual polish wheels. This includes in general going through many steps such as cleaning the rims, prepping and sanding the surface, buffing the rims with different wheels, manually polishing and in some cases coating.

As the automotive industry is rapidly evolving towards more efficient vehicles where automotive components have to be durable and fuel economic, we have developed automotive surface finishing solutions which benefit the industry by reducing processing times and producing a repeatable and quality product. One of these automotive finishing applications we have developed includes achieving a polish finish on alloy wheels.

Project Background

We have been recently approached by one of our customers to develop an efficient process to polish alloy wheels to a bright finish. Our client also needed to replicate the finishing application in-house.

The Solution – How to Polish Alloy Wheels to Mirror Finish

At ActOn Finishing we have developed, in partnership with major manufacturers in the automotive industry, a high quality, repeatable finishing solution to polish alloy wheels in just a few hours.

For this application, we have also designed the AWP188 wheel polishing machine – suitable for achieving a highly polished finish on both automotive and motor bike wheels. Some of the key benefits and features of this machine includes:

  • Design includes system to clamp wheels with different sizes (up to 24’’/ 610mm). Both forged and casted wheels can be processed in the AWP188.
  • Reliable and repeatable finish each time.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Cost and time saving in comparison with manual polishing wheels.
  • Compact design
  • Durable machine due to design, good quality materials and workman ship knowledge
  • Proudly manufactured in Britain

Hence we carried out finishing trials in the ActOn AWP188 and we polish the alloy wheels in a 3-stage process:

Step 1: Cut down

  • The CDF process allows customer to process 300 parts/ batch in 3 hours.
  • The stainless steel jewellery is highly polished.
  • The process can be replicated for other jewellery pieces manufactured by the customer.

Wheels go through the grinding process using an aggressive plastic media and LQ16 which is a concentrated cleaner and polishing compound. Depending on the initial condition of the surface the process time can take up to 10hours. For this project we only needed 5 hours to cut down the wheel.


Step 2: Smoothing

After the surface has been cut down it needs to be smoothened and prepared for the polishing stage. This is achieved using a medium abrasive media and LQ16 compound.


Step 3: Polishing

The final stage includes polishing the wheels with ceramic polishing media and LQ9. This media is great for achieving a bright highly polished finish while LQ9 has been formulated for polishing both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.


  • The process delivered bright polish alloy wheels in a considerably reduced time, and the dimensional integrity of the part was maintained. A complete end-to-end solution.
  • Our customer has purchased the AWP188 finishing machine and consumables, which allows him to replicate the finishing process in-house.

Before / After


Interested in Finding out More?

To learn more about ActOn’s finishing technology for Automotive industry click here.  For further information regarding the finishing process contact our technical team.


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