The Inside Story

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For three decades the Weel family businesses have been deeply involved in manufacturing products to serve the automotive cooling industry. The PWR Performance Products brand had its start in modest surroundings back in 1987 with Kees Weel manufacturing automotive radiators in a small factory on Queensland’s Gold Coast in Australia. With demand for their radiators growing, he formed the K&J Thermal Products company, and within ten years K&J Thermal Products had grown to be the leading manufacturer and supplier of automotive cooling products in Australia employing over 120 staff with offices in every major city and region of Australia.

In 1996, Kees with his son Paul Weel saw an opportunity to invest in a new segment of the automotive cooling market. The demand for high quality, light weight, performance aluminium cooling products was growing and Paul Weel Radiators, better known today as PWR Performance Products, was created to fulfill this need. The market was ready for a product that was measured by its performance, and backed up by a flexible manufacturing facility capable of designing and adapting configurations of coolers to custom specifications.

As PWR founder Kees Weel states “Every step of the manufacturing process is done in-house – we braze all our own cores and carry out our own fabrication. As far as I’m aware we are the only dedicated competition Radiator manufacturer who produce all aspects of our own heat exchangers, from core manufacture right through to complete assembly fabrication. This gives us flexibility of design, whilst maintaining quick turn around to our customers all over the world.” As a specialist manufacturer of competition Radiators, Intercoolers and Oil Coolers for high end race and performance automotive applications, the PWR brand has fast tracked it’s way to become a prominent name in top tier Motorsport, with notable successes in many categories including Formula 1, NASCAR, WRC, Dakar, Australian V8 Supercar, etc.

PWR Performance Products has become the technical partners of choice for leading race teams around the world.

PWR Performance Products is headquartered in South East Queensland Australia and supplies around the world. The multi million dollar, state of the art manufacturing plant a controlled atmosphere brazing furnace, CNC machine shop, R&D and design department, large fabrication capabilities and in-house wind tunnel that allows PWR to lead the world in cooling research and development with a dedicated focus on competition heat exchangers.

Every aspect of the manufacturing process is controlled completely within its own facility, which enables PWR to offer its global customers quick turn around and the unique opportunity to customize its products to suit their specific vehicle needs. PWR can assist individual race teams or vehicle manufacturers in the design process and selection of the most suitable core design to enhance the desired characteristics by referencing variable configuration data obtained from in-house testing.

PWR have a large range of existing heat exchange components regarding tube styles, fins, turbulators , etc, which enables the company to offer many configurations of heat exchangers. PWR have a full time wind tunnel testing division that can test core configurations in a real world environment. PWR’s General Manager Engineering Matthew Bryson states, “PWR definitely has a distinct competitive advantage by having access to its own in-house wind tunnel. By varying air velocity and coolant flow rate we can provide the customer with real world results in terms of heat transfer, coolant pressure drop and airside pressure drop that is specific to customers requirements”.

PWR also recognises the radiator as more than just a heat exchanger when in a race car environment. “In many formulas of racing the heat exchanger’s weight and aerodynamic characteristics have a huge impact on the performance of the vehicle”, says Matthew. PWR takes all of these factors into consideration when working with their customers in the design process. By engineering different tube styles with multiple fin styles and densities (potentially within the same core) PWR’s engineers are able to tune the performance characteristics of its heat exchangers. This allows them to maximise the downforce, drag or pressure drops to the customer’s requirements as well as providing the necessary cooling. “For example, weight and drag reduction is a significant factor in open wheel categories, but in applications such as NASCAR, building air pressure in front of the radiator can create opportunities assisting downforce,” says Bryson.

The extensive R&D program is not limited to in-house testing. PWR cooling solutions also get comprehensive on track testing with some of the worlds leading race teams, which helps validate its internal research and drives continual improvement of its products for the benefit of its technical partners and customers. Performance and reliability is critical to the success of a race team at the highest level.

The infrastructure at PWR’s world headquarters makes it possible for PWR to achieve a flexible approach to manufacturing which will inevitably maximise the worth that a customer receives from PWR Performance Products. Kees Weel describes when dealing with a customer “we like to point out when entering into a business relationship, that we don’t want to just sell them a radiator, we want to sell them a business relationship that means the customer can use our engineering department to purpose build exactly what they want”.

PWR is not a one size fits all business model. PWR understands that different applications have different requirements and PWR work very hard to tailor make cooling solutions that will work for each individual customer. This inherent company philosophy caters for rapid prototyping and provides the adaptability that is required for a large variety of applications. Paul Weel believes PWR’s success story is rooted in the foundations of a flexible holistic approach to manufacturing, “ what’s so unique about the PWR brand is when we’re dealing with a customer, we give a customer a lot of different variations of how a Radiator can be built for them, which gives the customer the PWR engineering advantage”.

With PWR offices in the UK and C&R Racing in the USA the PWR brand is now recognised globally as a designer, manufacturer and supplier of technically advanced high performance cooling solutions. “We offer our customers a technical partnership with a passionate and enthusiastic approach, and a shared competitive determination to win” says Paul Weel.