We are no stranger to supply issues when it comes to sourcing various pieces and components for our parts, but we can only imagine the kinds of logistical nightmares that APR encounters when dealing with their sales volumes. Like us, APR is working hard to move as much production within arm's reach, and their recent addition to their Auburn, Alabama based facility brings their total up to 78,000 square feet of VW / Audi / Porsche goodness under one roof. That is a staggering amount of space, and at the moment it is being put to use on APR's newly released line of Cast Downpipes for the various 4 cylinder turbocharged engines. With the passing of the baton to Mangrove equity group, there has come a lot of speculation regarding the hard goods that APR attaches its name to, and in the center of that speculation is their exhaust components. Despite the mud slinging, and all of the internet dirt, one thing is crystal clear- APR is stepping its game up and letting their newest products speak for themselves.
It's easy to go after the biggest name in the industry- APR is an easy target. When you're on top everyone is gunning for you, and many people want to see you fail. None of that changes the fact that APR consistently is a leader in both innovation and also production, able to deliver well engineered products to market long before designs leave the competition's drawing board. APR has invested vast sums of money into their state of the art equipment as well as building out a globally expansive dealer market. In an effort to keep that network informed, and show off a bit of those shiny R&D toys, APR invites all authorized dealers to their facility for a distributor conference each year.
This year, in addition to demonstrating 3D scanners, and fancy new go fast bits, APR took the time to go back to the basics with the dealers to ensure proper diagnostic procedures were being followed. All too often we have a recently flashed customer leave the shop only to call back a week later with an "issue with their software". In reality the car in question is generally long overdue for basic maintenance, or was not properly equipped by the customer (despite our recommendation) with simple preventive upgrades.The customer blames the software without properly diagnosing other common factors like the ignition system. Apparently some of the dealers have been making these simple mistakes as well and APR took the time to make sure everyone was on the same page. To further help the diagnostic process, APR has in the works an adapter (pictured above) that can be fitted the turbo housing to allow for compressed air to pressure test the boost system and identify where leaks are coming from, another common mechanical issue that often is blamed on software. It's thorough attention to detail like this that further separates APR from the competition.
Here's a look at APR flexing their technological muscles. The 3D scanning tools they have put to use cost upwards of 6 figures, yet they allow APR to digitally map the exhaust tunnels of each specific vehicle giving them a perfect replica of the space with which to design their exhaust around without having to weld a single piece of metal. To some this may seem excessive, but those are the same people that are OK with the occasional exhaust rattle or extra labor charge for installation.
Above is an example of a before and after cast downpipe elbow. The one on the left has been tumbled in-house to remove any surface imperfections and to give it a more finished and uniform appearance. This process also prepares the part to be welded without any additional finish work being necessary. Using APR's laser scanning tools, they are able to check tolerance on cast production parts like these and any that are out of spec by even 1% are rejected.
According to APR , production capability is an estimated 25 units / day with the potential to scale to 40+ with minimal staff increase.
There isn't any official word on the parts pictured above, and we're not sure we are even supposed to be posting these photos- but you can speculate for yourself what the future might hold for forthcoming APR turbo-back exhaust systems.
A panoramic view of the new wing at APR. We've been in dirtier hospitals.
A cat section being assembled on a jig. These sections are designed to be modular to allow for a variety of configurations to suit street or track applications. Nothing groundbreaking but the pictures show the level of simplicity and quality.
Cast sections take all of the guesswork out of production leaving very little possibility for error. That means a great fit every single time right out of the box.
Here's a look at some of the rapid prototypes that APR was able to use in the mock up and design process. APR has been utilizing 3D printing long before MakerBot was a household name. Another example of how they are on the forefront of technology, and how they put that to use to create the highest quality products.
Lots of raw material ready to be turned into more horsepower for your car. We're told that with the production process being in house, APR can turn around an order that comes in from raw material to shipped finished product in 24 hours.
This machine automatically feeds and brushes the tubing to give it a uniform appear while the machine next door then auto feeds and cuts the tubing to size. While these machines may seem potentially extravagant and unnecessary, they ultimately cut production time down immensely giving APR the flexibility to produce parts to order as quickly as possible.
A quick look at the APR employee parking lot.
Some might recognize this, but for those that don't- this is the Achilles of the 3rd gen engines. This impeller shaft has a weak point where it necks down at the compressor. These are prone to snapping with only moderately modified and even stock applications. Fortunately APR is close to releasing an alternative for the stock snail, hopefully good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 400+ ponies with a more than reasonable price tag. We won't comment on that in too much detail, but we will say we are very much looking forward to it.
Yet another forthcoming product- APR has addressed the vital fluids in these latest engines. To manage oil temps they have developed their own proprietary oil cooler kit, complete with a specific oil filter. No further details on this either, but again it seems like another promising product development
And lastly, for those who have been holding out hope for the rumored APR wheel line, you might have to keep holding on. It seems that this venture has been shelved (possibly permanently) to make way for more practical products consistent with APR's current offerings. With the market as saturated as it is, we hardly blame them for that decision. All in all it was another informative and impressive trip down south. It's hard to believe anyone can look at level of quality and planning that goes into these products and question any aspect. There will always be something to nitpick, but it is getting harder and harder to find anything we'd want to change. We have a long history of installing APR products and to date they are the only company who have delivered a product that consistently fits without issue.