Future of Engine Building: The Road Ahead for Machining - Engine Builder Magazine

Future of Engine Building: The Road Ahead for Machining

The future always seemed so far away for some reason. You had cartoons featuring flying cars and movies about aliens and galaxies far, far away.

The future always seemed so far away for some reason. You had cartoons featuring flying cars and movies about aliens and galaxies far, far away.

But now, well, the “future” we all thought was so distant is basically here, practically before our eyes, and it looks a little different than we thought. Some things have more or less come true – except the flying cars, unfortunately.

Technology tends to grow exponentially. Each new technology spawns the ideas for many new technologies and so on. In some ways, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in a short period of time. Barely 100 years ago, Henry Ford was just beginning to discover the advantages of mass production. From there, everything else, one could argue, grew out of the necessity to keep up.

Once we had people in affordable cars – a motoring public – the transportation industry grew at an alarming rate. And when aviation got off the ground, so to speak, it was an even faster evolution. Tooling back then was rudimentary at best compared to today, but what will it look like in 2020?

To understand where automotive machining may be headed in the next five to 10 years, we first have to look at the past and where it came from and how it evolved to where it is today. Your father’s machining equipment was fine for its day, when machining tolerances were, let’s say, a little more lenient. But trying to use that same machine today may lead to more trouble than it’s worth.

Some of the early supporters of what was then Automotive Rebuilder, and is now Engine Builder, began making equipment for the fledgling automotive industry and the need to rebuild engines and bore cylinders on a frequent basis. Driving was much more of an adventure in the previous 100 years, as roads and infrastructure were not designed for interstate traveling. If you drove from Cleveland to Chicago, your engine may have needed a rebuild after the trip.

Today it is well documented that our industry is plagued with cars that last 200,000 miles or more and are unlikely to need a rebuild in that time (if maintained properly). Technology has taken the auto industry to new heights by producing better engines and vehicles, but what is the next step for engine builders? Stock engine rebuilding has been declining for years, and some believe that the used engine market has now surpassed the custom engine rebuilder’s (CER) efforts as well as, to some extent the production engine remanufacturer (PER).

The CER now views the main competition as the recyclers and not the PERs. Diesel and industrial engine rebuilding has taken up some of the slack in down times, but not all of it. Shops with updated, modern equipment will be more likely be able to find new markets and take advantage of opportunities in existing markets.

For the automotive machine shop, there are a lot of questions about what the future will hold and how much new tooling will be required for the road ahead. Chances are, if you have not already upgraded some of your machine tooling in your shop in the last five years or so then you are on the verge of falling behind.

The race to survive and thrive is still as fierce as ever, but the machines may be slightly different in the future. However, it is unlikely that there will be a drastic change in the next five years, according to machine tool experts we spoke to, but more of a gradual evolution will take place.

Before 1945, machine tools were all operated by hand controls. And in many shops around the country, hand controls were the norm for a very long time. By 1952, numeric controls were coupled with computer power instead of punch cards and accounting machine calculations. The machines were enormous, but the idea was a good one, albeit, a very expensive one. It was so expensive that the government was the only customer in the beginning. However, as the technology evolved, the size and price of the machinery continued to drop.

[inpost_gallery post_id=3599 group=”1″]

You May Also Like

NMRA/NMCA Announce Augustine Herrera as National Tech Director

ProMedia Events and Publishing, the parent company of the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals and NMCA Muscle Car Nationals, has announced Augustine Herrera as the new NMRA/NMCA National Tech Director. His duties include overseeing fair competition in both drag racing series and leading the on-site tech staff at all national events.  “Augustine joined our team in

ProMedia Events and Publishing, the parent company of the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals and NMCA Muscle Car Nationals, has announced Augustine Herrera as the new NMRA/NMCA National Tech Director. His duties include overseeing fair competition in both drag racing series and leading the on-site tech staff at all national events. 

Shop Solutions November 2021

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Cam Center
Holley Classic Truck Battery Tray and Hold Down

Holley Classic Trucks can battery trays for 1981-1987 C/K Series trucks and Blazer/Jimmy/Suburban manufactured to precisely mimic the factory look with all of the original holes and contours. Related Articles – Rocker Arm Tech – Part 1 – Automotive Specialty-Equipment Retail Sales Reach New High – Rebuilders Choice Made from heavy-gauge steel and EDP coated

Holley Battery Tray
Rocker Arm Tech – Part 1

In this episode of Steve Tech, Steve Morris breaks down the fundamentals of rocker arms, rocker arm stands and valvetrain rocker arm geometry. Class is in session! Related Articles – The SCAT Story – Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story – Performance Rocker Arms

Automotive Specialty-Equipment Retail Sales Reach New High

Despite what occurred throughout 2020, the specialty-equipment industry showed resilience with industry retail sales climbing from $46.2 billion to a new high of $47.89 billion in the U.S., according to the new 2021 SEMA Market Report. Related Articles – Future of Engine Building: Converting the Masses – AAIA Offering Free Webinar on Health Care Reform

Other Posts

Rottler Report with Jeff Gunther of Gunther’s Machine & Rebuilding

Jeff Gunther of Gunther’s Machine & Rebuilding recently got a new Rottler SG9MTS.

Designing a Better LS Engine

After a customer wanted a Steve Morris Engines’ SMX in an LS version, Steve saw the upside and potential in the market, and a challenge to build a better LS.

Take a Tour of PAR Racing Engines

During a recent trip to Spartanburg, SC, we had the opportunity to stop in PAR Racing Engines, a well-known race engine and machine shop owned by Scott Duggins. Scott showed us around and we definitely came away impressed. Related Articles – Wagler’s New Billet Duramax for Drag-and-Drive – Demon Motorsports’ Turbocharged Toyota 2JZ Engine –

The CNC Landscape Continues to Grow Inside Engine Shops

Several manufacturers named automation as one of the biggest continuing trends surrounding CNC equipment these days, and it’s clearly a key contributor to a CNC machine’s ability to do more without human interference.