Grainger & Worrall (GW) is working in conjunction with JLR and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to develop a new type of cylinder block that uses plasma coatings to reduce the weight and size of engines.
Downsizing and lightweighting are two challenges being addressed by GW’s work as part of the Alive6 consortium. As part of the project, GW has developed the manufacturing process of an all-aluminum cylinder block onto which a low-friction, plasma metal coating can be reliably sprayed. This innovation removes the requirement for cylinder liners, which are replaced with the application of a plasma coating directly onto the parent cylinder bores.
Edward Grainger, MD at GW, said, “We have worked closely as part of the Alive6 team to develop a casting process and associated supply chain to support this leading-edge technology. Developing and manufacturing a cylinder block casting suitable for the plasma technology has required us to fundamentally re-assess the metallurgical properties of castings. This has involved us exploring elements such the structural strength of the cylinders as well as the porosity and adhesive properties of the alloys to deliver a successful project outcome.”
Grainger also commented on the Alice6 project: “The consortium has been an enabler to us in understanding how to design, develop and manufacture castings for the plasma spray process. Our involvement has created know-how and developed a supply chain to deliver cylinder castings suitable for this exciting new technology.
“This project has been valuable for the business, providing us with a significant leap forward in our understanding of new casting methodologies. The plasma coating process fits perfectly with our vertically integrated manufacturing capability, which comprises CAD design, casting, machining, plasma coating, honing and final assembly.”
November 2, 2016