Being able to go behind the scenes and see how things are made has to be one of the coolest things. To be able to see the work that goes into the product makes you appreciate everything a manufacturer does.
For Impact Racing they make sure that we stay safe whether it be with a fire suit, helmet, harness or seats. Seeing what goes into a product that hundreds of people put their life on the line for is something else.
From cutting the fabric to the stitching everything is done in-house at Impact Racing.
Located just a few miles from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Impact Racing manufactures their parts. It is easy for us to open a box when it arrives, but what goes into it is what we wanted to check out.
In addition to the stitching, Impact can also do dye sublimation. These shirts were being made for the Children's Museum.
To start we got to see how Impact Racing makes all of its race suits. They have a CNC machine that allows them to cut all of the patterns. All the stitching and digitizing of the logos is done in-house. Each logo is gone through and cleaned up for the cleanest, lightest look.
Suit doesn't fit right? Chances are you did not measure right. Each suit goes through quality control to make sure everything matches the order.
One of the biggest questions Impact receives on its fire suits is the difference between their suit and a $100 suit. “Impact suits are inherently fire retardant and manufactured from aramid fibers,” said Kelli Willmore of Impact Racing. “The $100 suits are treated cotton and the fire retardancy washes out.”
From bending and welding the frame to final assembly the seats come to life. The foam gets some added protection before the harness holes are cut.
All of the suits that leave Impact’s facility go through a quality control. The order measurements are checked with the actual suit. The order sheets are also saved for later use in case something needs to be reordered or changed.
All of Impact's straps, harnesses, and limit straps are stitched by hand. The straps can be customized to whatever length you need.
Next down the line was seeing how all of Impact’s race seats are made. All the seats are assembled in-house along with the frames which are bent and welded in a separate building. The foam is reinforced where harness holes will go to make sure that the foam stays intact.
The harnesses, seats, and window nets are made in-house. Many builders will send a cardboard template of a window net. This will give the team at Impact everything they need to make a net to the exact fit.
Everyone wants to save money when building their car, but one place that you do not want to cut corners is for your safety, especially your helmet. Whether it be a fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a combination of both, each layer is laid by hand.
Each model helmet has its own mold. All of the layers are hand laid to make sure everything is done correctly.
Once the helmet has cured it is removed from the mold and sent to be cleaned up. The eye holes are cleaned out and the helmet is smoothed out. Once they are cleaned up they are sent to paint, and then final assembly.
And that is how a helmet is born. Once out of its shell it will be cleaned up and sent to paint.
In addition to making all of their helmets in-house, Impact Racing has the ability to replicate SNELL testing. “We replicate the Snell testing in-house for continuous improvement and research and development,” Willmore explained. “Impact also performs random sampling testing to quantify our manufacturing.”
Each helmet is sanded and smoothed prior to paint.
If you are looking for something different, Impact can do that too. “Suits, belts, nets, and seats can all be customized,” Willmore continued. “Helmets can have options added and frontal head restraint devices are adjustable and customized to the seat layback.”
The crown of the helmet is added with all the additional padding before the visor and chin straps are added.
A tour like this really makes us appreciate how things we take for granted are made. Next time you strap in or put a helmet on, think about all the design and work that went into keeping you safe.
For more information on Impact Racing and its products be sure to check out their website.