What Does It Take To Make a Wright Barbell?
It’s a great feeling to walk through the manufacturing facility and see all the hard working people making Wright brand fitness equipment. We're so used to going to work every day and seeing products being made that we rarely stop to think about it. When we slow down and reflect on what it really takes to make these products it's pretty amazing!
Of course, we have machines that our operators have to be trained on, but the process doesn't begin there. The process begins with sourcing and buying great high-quality steel. The steel goes through a rigorous but efficient process that ends with a beautiful USA made weightlifting barbell.
Today, we're going to explain what it takes to make a Wright weight bar in 6 steps.
Step 1—Buy Great Steel
First, we have to source the best steel available. Since we're a small company we’ve made a commitment to make our barbells here in the United States to control costs. In addition, we’re headquartered in the “Steel City,” so we source our steel directly in Birmingham, Alabama. We work closely to determine and develop the requirements of the steel needed to make the shafts with just the right whip but have the strength to return the barbell to straight. We discovered that the chemistry of the steel coupled with the heat treatment required something beyond the ordinary steel that you can just walk into any distributor and pick up. We moved to negotiating production lot sizes and lead times so we can make the most affordable USA made barbell. Being that it is Special Steel, we produce 40,000lbs per production run.
Step 2—Verify Stock
Shafts: From the time the shaft steel arrives at our factory door, it will go through 8 different processes and 11 different quality checks before it will be part of a finished barbell. First, it is checked for straightness within .010” (that’s 10 one thousands of an inch). The steel cannot move forward in the process until it is straight.
Sleeves: We follow the same standards for the sleeves. The steel has to be verified to ensure the proper length, wall thickness, and hardness. Once the sleeve production begins, it must also go through 11 quality checks.
Step 3—Process The Steel
Shafts: Once the steel is approved, it’s ready for processing where it will go through 6 processes. It is machined on each end and then knurled to the specification for whichever barbell is being produced. All machining is verified with dial calipers, lengths, depths of cuts and knurling. We all know there are many different preferences on the aggressiveness of the knurl on a barbell. In the case of knurling, the depth of the knurl doesn’t always correlate to the aggressiveness. Our goal is a medium knurl. We accomplish this by setting a tight range of depth of the knurl. Each knurl is measured on each barbell. Each shaft will pass a total of 11 quality checks.
Sleeves: After the steel is verified it is then cut to the proper lengths. Each sleeve will go through 6 processes. Cutting, pressing, machining the inside, machining the outside, coating, and assembly. Each sleeve will also have 11 different quality checks performed. In these quality checks, we ensure the outer and inner dimensions are correct. We ensure the machining looks correct, the weight is correct, and finally that the coating is correct.
After the steel is machined to the Wright specs it’s time for coating! Last year, we transitioned all shaft coating to CERAKOTE. This coating is 10 times more resistant to corrosion of the sweat and oils the barbell will come in contact with. The sleeves are coated with either CERKOTE or zinc. Zinc can still be black or clear, while CERAKOTE can be almost any color. We offer both because while we know the sleeve’s coating will begin to wear almost immediately, the zinc will not be as noticeable.
Step 5—The Bushing/Bearing
We make our bushings. On our newest versions of our barbells, we make the composite bushing, machined to .001” tolerances. These bushings alone have 5 different quality checks they must pass in order to be used on a Wright Barbell. While we do not make the bearings, the bearings are equally quality checked. The bearings must be within the .001” before they are allowed to be used on Wright barbells. These are pressed in using a CNC Hydraulic Press just before the final bar is assembled.
Step 6—Assembly and Packaging
As soon as the barbell shafts and sleeves are ready they are moved to the assembly area. Here, depending on the model, they are assembled with a series of keepers and retaining rings. Then the bar is placed into a ¼” heavy duty walled cardboard tube. Then, we add two wood plugs on each end and secure with screws.
Now the weightlifting barbell is ready to ship or deliver to the customer.
At Wright Equipment, we are passionate about manufacturing high-quality products for the functional fitness and weightlifting industries. Barbells have been around for many years, and many come from other countries other than the USA. We feel that with our manufacturing talents we can manufacture a Made in USA barbell equal or better than any barbell on the market and still give the customer a price that is affordable and competitive with even import bars. We take pride in being efficient and we love manufacturing barbells! Put that together and you can offer athletes the best Olympic Barbells that last a lifetime.
Check them out at: https://wright-equipment.com/collections/weightlifting-barbells