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Lethal Performance is Whipple Superchargers’ largest distributor, so we decided that we wanted to give all of our customers an inside look at how the best in the world do twin screw supercharging. This was my first time visiting Fresno, CA, where Whipple is based. As I pulled up, I was greeted by the big Whipple sign in front which boasts the Whipple motto, “The Twin Screw Supercharging Experts”.
As I was led through the first building I got to see where all of the supercharger pulleys, throttle bodies and intake manifolds are machined. Whipple has 4 in house CNC machines which are used to make all of the aluminum parts of their kits. In addition to the pulleys and throttle bodies all of the supercharger bypass assemblies, base plates and drive snouts are also machined in house. Once the aluminum pieces are machined they're sent off to anodizing and put on the shelf for inventory.
As you leave the CNC area you enter the dyno and installation area. This is where a lot of the design work is done for new supercharger kits. Typically, a new motor or vehicle is brought in and measurements are taken. Once the prototype pieces are made they're tested for fitment. If any changes need to be made they are noted and sent back to manufacturing for another round of prototyping. This area is also where Whipple dyno tunes their test vehicles to make sure the performance of their kits are satisfactory. Not only is Whipple able to test the performance of the vehicle with the new supercharger kit installed, they also have the tools and machines that test the performance of the actual supercharger itself. Making sure that the blower flows well and inlet temperatures are kept in check is vital to the performance of a twin screw supercharger.
Inside the installation area there is another smaller room located in front of the dyno which is sound proofed. This is where the blower dyno is located. The blower dyno that Whipple has is one of three in the entire US. This gives Whipple Superchargers the ability to continually improve on their designs. The blower dyno uses an electric motor to spin the supercharger while it's mounted to the blower dyno's base plate. There are several sensors used on both the inlet, outlet and drive to monitor the blower’s vital statistics. How much air is being flowed, what temperature the air is and how much power it takes to operate the blower are some of the most important.
Leaving the install/dyno area we enter the fabrication room. This is where all of the supercharger components are designed and fabricated. From the base plates to the supercharger plenum, all of the machining is done right here.
Moving on to the assembly room you will find pallets full of rotors, compressor housings and everything needed to assemble a Whipple supercharger kit. The compressor housings are cast aluminum. The foundry that casts the housings also casts the plenums. After the plenums and housings are returned to Whipple the ones that need to be polished get sent off to the polishing dept. John, who does the polishing, works on each piece giving it the shine that the polished customers await. After the parts are polished they go back inside to the wash room to have any debris or contaminants washed off so the parts can then be used for building kits. The male and female rotors are assembled by Chris. First, he takes them over to the assembly table and slides the rotors into their matching compressor housing. Next, he uses feeler gauges to measure the tolerance between the two rotors as well as the rotors and the housing. After the tolerances are checked the rotors are then degreed. We’re off to the other side of the assembly plant where the front drive assembly is put together. The machined snout and front case are assembled and installed onto the blower along with the base plate and bypass assembly. All of the other components such as the plenum, fuel components and hardware are pulled for each specific model that's being built in another warehouse.
It's amazing how many inlets, base plates, fuel systems and accessories are on hand. To keep track of the orders and everything that's needed for each kit Whipple uses a cart system. An order is placed on a large industrial cart which is wheeled around the warehouse until all of the items have been picked and placed on it. The final steps are done in this warehouse.
After the entire supercharger kit is assembled and all of the extra components are on the cart it's wheeled to the shipping room. This is where Whipple's shipping clerk Dennis packs up the supercharger for shipping. Superchargers are not only large and heavy but also very fragile, so packing the kits for a trip across the country or overseas is something that takes some fine tuning. This has been Dennis’ specialty at Whipple for almost 15 years.
Aside from seeing the manufacturing end of Whipple's business, I also saw some toys, like the Whipple Supercharger race boat. Built for speed this 33ft Eliminator Daytona boat has twin 1100hp EFI Big Block engines built by Teague Racing which are powered by Quad Rotor 2.3L 140ax superchargers. The boat's top speed is 165mph. If you know what that feels like on pavement just multiply that feeling by 2 as speed like that on water is simply mind blowing.
It's important to note that Whipple takes pride in what they do and are working towards being the only twin screw supercharger manufacturer in the US that makes their entire supercharger and it's components right here on US soil. At this time the only piece of the Whipple Supercharger that is not made here in the USA are the rotors. They are currently made overseas but Whipple has made plans to acquire their own rotor machine and have it installed in their Fresno, CA facility in the very near future.
The heart and soul of every company are composed of the people who run it. Whipple Superchargers is run by the entire Whipple family; Art, Dustin, Shonda, Jimmy and Candi. Not only do they share our passion for high performance cars, boats and trucks, but they are genuine and honest people.
We hope you enjoyed our Whipple tour and now have a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes at Whipple Superchargers. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about any of Whipple's products as we're here to assist you.