PRI Machinery Row Recalls 50 Years of Tooling Advances - Engine Builder Magazine

PRI Machinery Row Recalls 50 Years of Tooling Advances

Visiting Machinery Row at the annual PRI Show in Indianapolis you’ll see some mind-blowing whirring, spinning and rotating as machines like the Centroid A560 with CAD/CAM control, touch screen operation and a 24-tool automatic tool changer machine race car engines.

Machinery Row Photo 01
This Centroid A560 features a 24-tool automatic tool changer and had been sold to DirtCar driver Dustin Walker of Peculiar, Mo.

One chilly evening early in 1966, a small group of employees from Ingersoll-Rand Corp.’s home office in Manhattan took a short taxi ride to the South Street Heliport and boarded a “preying mantis” type helicopter for a short hop to Newark Airport. Their next ride was a trip to the airport at Elmira, NY in a Mohawk Airlines turbo-prop. That evening they had dinner in a quaint hotel with the plant manager of I-R’s factory in nearby Painted Post.

Show attendees lined up to watch the machining operations that could be viewed through the A560’s observation window.
Show attendees lined up to watch the machining operations that could be viewed through the A560’s observation window.

The next morning, the group toured the factory where jackhammers, compressors and pumps were made. During the tour, they watched the automatic operation of a large machine that did seven operations. It was controlled by a magnetic tape system that changed tool heads on the machine. The group stood in awe, while the head of the tool went through its paces, whirring, spinning and rotating as different tool bits snapped into place, each doing a specific job. They were seeing space age machining advances in action.

The $3,398 of savings on this MSC Vectrax single phase 13 x 40-in. engine lathe with DRO brought the show special price to $10,500.
The $3,398 of savings on this MSC Vectrax single phase 13 x 40-in. engine lathe with DRO brought the show special price to $10,500.

This author was in that group and remembers the feeling of amazement we had watching that huge machine do its thing. Well, taxicabs have changed, helicopters look different, Mohawk Airlines is history, turbo props are probably museum pieces and that 7-function whiz-bang is probably sitting in a tooling equipment junkyard in the desert somewhere between Scottsdale and Tucson.

Rottler, a designer and manufacturer of engine rebuilding machinery, had several models on display at the PRI Show.
Rottler, a designer and manufacturer of engine rebuilding machinery, had several models on display at the PRI Show.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get that same feeling of amazement from a multi-function machine tool. Just visit the Machinery Row section of the annual PRI Show (www.performanceracing.com) in Indianapolis and you’ll see some mind-blowing whirring, spinning and rotating as machines like the Centroid A560 with CAD/CAM control, touch screen operation and a 24-tool automatic tool changer, machine race car engines and parts before your eyes.

Machines & Tools, Inc’s. TS1000 Blueprint System offers engine rebuilders a versatile system with many easy-to-master features.
Machines & Tools, Inc’s. TS1000 Blueprint System offers engine rebuilders a versatile system with many easy-to-master features.

PRI ran for three days and with the crowd of attendees peering through the windows on the big mills and lathes and balancers in Machinery Row, it looked like the opening night of a “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” preview. There were actually lines to get up close to the observation windows and watch engine blocks and reciprocating parts being automatically machined with the help of patented, high-tech articulating heads and digitized probes.

CWI demonstrated its engine and turbo charger balancing machines for the race shops and engine builders at the Indy show.
CWI demonstrated its engine and turbo charger balancing machines for the race shops and engine builders at the Indy show.

Some of the machines being demonstrated were offered with special show pricing. A Bridgeport 3 Axis CNC Mill Package that included FAGOR 8055-1 3-axis Simultaneous Motion control and 3D Conversational Programming with Solid Graphics was offered for $29,999, a savings of $9,107 off the regular price. The $3,398 of savings on a MSC Vectrax single phase 13 x 40-in. engine lathe with DRO brought the special show price to $10,500.

Rottler had several types of machines on display, including its H85AX CNC Automatic Vertical Honing Machine with Hole-to-Hole Automation and its H85AXY CNC Automatic Vertical Honing Machine with Hole-to-Hole Automation and Block Rollover option. With these machines, the operations were more out in the open so that the PRI visitors got quite a show of modern engine building technology. (Engine Builder readers can see a similar You Tube presentation at https://www.youtube.com/user/Rottlermfg).

Serdi Corp.’s distinctive red seat and guide machines stood out in the Machinery Row section.
Serdi Corp.’s distinctive red seat and guide machines stood out in the Machinery Row section.

Machines & Tools, Inc., brought its TS1000 Blueprint System to PRI. It is designed to machine any block, whether it’s a V6, or V8 or in-line engine. It can do both 90-degree or 60-degree designs on the same setup with no extra fixtures or attachments required. It also boasts more than a half dozen other features including the ability to automatically machine engine parts with g-code programs generated by any cad/cam system an operator might have.

The CWI Industries booth showcased the company’s Multi-Bal 5500, which it says “sets new standards for the balancing industry.” It includes such features as total CNC manufacturing, Third Phase analysis, on machine drill corrections, touch-screen controls, a heavy metal stand and a 4,000-lb. base. Also drawing much interest from PRI’s crowd was the Norcross, Ga., company’s Multi-Bal 5000 Turbo-Charger Balancing machine.

There was no charge to watch this operator running the $64,995 VF 2SS Super-Speed Vertical Machining Center and he put on a good show.
There was no charge to watch this operator running the $64,995 VF 2SS Super-Speed Vertical Machining Center and he put on a good show.

Another Georgia company, Serdi Corp., had a variety of valve seat and valve guide machines on display. The company was giving out an informative 40th anniversary catalog that did a good job of describing all the tools and tool holders it manufactures for engine builders.

For a cool $64,995 you can equip your shop with a VF 2SS Super-Speed Vertical Machining Center featuring a 30-hp vector drive, a 12,000 rpm, inline direct-drive, a high-speed 24+1 side-mount tool changer, 1400 ipm (35.6 m/min) rapids, a 1 MB program memory, a 15-in. color LCD monitor, a USB port, a memory lock key switch, rigid tapping and a 55-gallon flood coolant system. But there was no charge to watch an operator running this contraption in the Machinery Row section of the PRI Show.

H & W Machine Repair and Rebuilding fixes used machine tools and also sells the parts needed to keep them working in your shop.
H & W Machine Repair and Rebuilding fixes used machine tools and also sells the parts needed to keep them working in your shop.

Just like engines can be rebuilt, machine tools can secure a new lease on life through the efforts of companies such as H & W Machine Repair & Rebuilding of Ft. Wayne, Ind., which had a refurbished Bridgeport Series 1 Acu-Rite Mill for sale at PRI for $29,000. Additional options were also available for that machine from the same company.

You May Also Like

Shop Solutions – January 2024

Before installing cam bearings, make sure to chamfer any oil holes and clean up back grooves of any sharp edges.

Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at enginebuildermag.com to provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops. Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Submit your Shop Solution at [email protected]. You must include your name, shop name, shop address and shop telephone number. Submitted Shop Solutions not published will be kept on file and reevaluated for each month’s new entries.

Shop Solutions December 2023

Check out the latest shop solutions from builders around the country.

The Impact of Fuel Type on Engine Performance

When it comes to choosing the right fuel for your vehicle, several factors should be taken into consideration. These factors include the vehicle’s engine design, manufacturer recommendations, intended usage, and personal preferences.

Component Cleanliness

It can’t be overstated how important the cleaning machines are in the modern engine shop. Shop owners who prioritize effective and efficient cleaning techniques will find success in a more streamlined process.

Billet Blocks and Heads vs. Cast Iron

Billet aluminum has a lower yield strength or higher modulus of elasticity, meaning it will flex, or absorb energy easier under tension or stress than cast aluminum, without incurring permanent damage.

Other Posts

Hendrick Motorsports Partners with GROB Systems

Hendrick Motorsports and GROB Systems Inc. have teamed up for a synergistic partnership to bring precision 5-Axis GROB machines to the Concord, NC campus of the 14-time NASCAR Cup Series champions.  Related Articles – Cummins Announces Next Gen X15 Diesel Engine – VP Racing Partners with Ida Zetterstrom for 2024 NHRA Season – PRI Appoints Michael Good as

PRI Appoints Michael Good as its New President

New leader brings passion for racing and business expertise to PRI role. 

17,000 Sq.-Ft. of Engine Awesomeness at Late Model Engines

During a trip to Houston, TX last fall, we gave ourselves a few extra days to check out some shops in the area. One of the shops we had to stop into was Late Model Engines. Co-owners Bryan Neelen and Pecos Loughlin have established one of the best LS, LT and Hemi engine shops out

PRI to Showcase EKarting Classic

Performance Racing Industry (PRI) will bring live racing action back to the PRI Show in Indianapolis with the PRI Ekarting Classic presented by Top Kart USA. High-performance electric karts will race on a track located on the Lucas Oil Stadium floor throughout the show Dec. 7-9, 2023. Related Articles – New Study Shows Feasibility of