The engine building market has changed dramatically due to advancements in engine technology without a doubt. Equipment needs have changed and continue to change along with the needs of the market, note equipment experts. The technology has had to keep up with the sophistication of today’s engines, as production engines are now on par with high-end race engines of just a few years ago, and in some cases those engines were not as precise as almost every production engine built today. To keep up with the technology, engine builders must have boring and honing equipment that meets the machining demands these engines require, or risk quality problems, which can put you out of business in a hurry.
Today’s boring and honing equipment is much more automated and precise than machines from the past, however not all shops want or need this much automation. For those who like the manual variety there are some manufacturers that specialize in this equipment, which can be a very viable option for some small shops. On the other end of the spectrum for shops that wish to be on the cutting edge (no pun intended), there are a number of higher performance computer controlled machines, with higher price tags to match, but the demand for these machines is growing.
Experts say, there’s no margin for error these days when it comes to honing. Surface finish specifications have changed dramatically in the last 15 years. New ring and piston technology has shops fitting pistons with no clearance so you had better have a good handle on surface finish parameters and what they mean, along with being able to measure them. Additionally, new coatings for cylinders have changed the way cylinders are machined. Some of the new coatings can only be honed with diamonds.
Because cylinder boring and honing is such a big part of the machining operations engine builders do on a daily basis, the equipment you use will have a lasting effect on the quality of the product your shop sends out the door. There is a wide variety of equipment from manufacturer to manufacturer that can fit almost any shop’s needs for a specific type of machine. So if your shop is cramped for space and you can barely find a lane to walk, let alone fit a large single-purpose boring machine, you may find a multi-purpose machine that combines several operations best fits your needs.
Boring, Not So
Boring out a block to accept oversize pistons or to salvage an old core or even to increase displacement is a regular operation in most engine building facilities. In performance applications, boring a block to fit hardened cylinder sleeves is opening up many new opportunities for shops capable of doing this work. Sport compact engines have been utilizing sleeves for years to better handle the high loads created by forced induction systems such as turbochargers, superchargers and nitrous oxide.