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HomeBusiness TipsYour Step-by-Step Guide to the Piston Manufacturing Process

Your Step-by-Step Guide to the Piston Manufacturing Process

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There are some specific methods of producing pistons. The materials used in the manufacturing process play a crucial role in getting the perfect outcome. You should consider some significant factors before initiating the manufacturing process. You should maintain the product’s quality. You should also take all the necessary measures to protect the environment during manufacturing. 

Pistons are used to convert energy into mechanical work during combustion. Aluminium is a preferred material employed in the piston manufacturing processThe main reasons for using aluminium are low density, high thermal conductivity, high reliability and superior recycling ability. There are mainly two methods of manufacturing pistons. These two methods are the casting and forging of pistons.Cast piston manufacturing is cheaper due to the simpler method. It is also one of the most common manufacturing processes. But, the forged piston method involves a complex manufacturing method using an aluminium alloy of high strength.

Did you know? A standard piston typically consists of 12% silicon alloy and 1% each of copper, nickel, and magnesium. 

History of the Piston

The piston dates back to before the industrial revolution. But, the development of piston technology gained momentum in the 17th and 18th centuries. John Ramsbottom invented the modern piston ring in the middle of the 19th century. Initially, pistons were made of steel. Later, aluminium was manufactured with a mix of steel for the struts. Silicon came onto the market and replaced steel struts. But it was brittle in nature. These days, nickel alloys, along with aluminium alloys and silicon, are used to make it strong.

Piston Manufacturing Process
You have to follow a specific process for piston manufacturing. You should follow the guidelines properly to get a good result. The steps involved in the piston manufacturing process are described below.

Step-1: Production of the Rod

The first part of a piston begins by producing an aluminium rod. There are many benefits of using aluminium while producing the rod. Aluminium is lightweight, rust-proof and easy to cut. Although the rod is long at its inception, a saw cuts it into smaller pieces at different lengths. The small pieces of this rod are called slugs.

Step-2: Use of the Punch Press

A punch press is heated when the slug passes through the oven.A slug gets heated at the same temperature as a punch press. After removal of the slug from the oven, place it into the punch. The press uses almost 2000 tons of pressure to turn the slug into the shape of a piston. The piston is kept cool in the air for an hour. 

Step-3: Use of the Oven

Once the slugs cool down, they pass through the oven twice. The slug passes through the oven to strengthen the metal. The first time, it passes through at a higher temperature. Then it is passed through a better temperature for stabilisation.

Step-4: Cutting the Excessive Metal

The next step involves cutting the basic form of the piston using the lathe. This process is necessary to give the piston a finishing shape. Piston manufacturers create tiny holes on the sides to allow oil to pass. The lathe presses three rings into the top of the piston.

Step-5: Drilling the Wrist Pin

Apart from creating three tiny holes, one big hole is required to enter the wrist pin. The big hole is drilled on both sides of the piston. It helps to attach the piston to the rod during piston assembly. 

Step-6: Shaving Both Sides of the Piston

After drilling the wrist pin, a milling machine shaves up a few centimetres from each side of the piston. Shaving occurs when a large hole is drilled to enter the wrist pin. Shaving off metal reduces the piston’s weight. A milling machine shaves the metal off the sides of the piston beside the area of three rings to achieve the final form.

Step-7: The Final Step

The lathe removes a few more millimetres from the top in the final stage. It helps the piston expand when heat builds up inside. The sharp edges get smooth. Later a machine smoothes the holes through which wrist pins are inserted. It helps the wrist pin fit perfectly.

Factors to Consider During the Piston Manufacturing Process

Piston manufacturers should pay attention to certain factors while manufacturing pistons. These factors are:

1. To Maintain Quality and Standard

You should maintain the piston quality. There are some specific standards to follow while using these materials. Aluminium alloys are divided into specific categories, including various compositions. These compositions are Si, Cu, Mg, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn, etc. There is also a specific hardness between 90 to 140 HB. The tensile strength should range between 165 to 275 Nmm2 for different categories.

2. Environment Friendly

You should adopt an environment-friendly piston ring manufacturing method. You should minimise pollution in the manufacturing process. You should get the consent of the State Pollution Control Board to initiate the manufacturing process.

3. The Market’s Potential

You need to analyse the market of the piston. It should have the maximum potential. For example, India can provide a viable piston market due to the rising automobile industry. There is an expected 10-15% of automobile sales growth rate. Therefore, pistons occupy a large market in India. You can compare the growth rate of piston sales before manufacturing. It helps you estimate the probability of success rate in this market.

4. Materials

There are multiple options for choosing the raw materials while manufacturing pistons. You should decide which material is more likely to be in demand in the market. You should also consider the product where the pistons will be used. Aluminium alloys are preferred when making pistons targeting gasoline and diesel engines. This is because aluminium alloys have unique characteristics like low density, high thermal conductivity and high reliability.

5. Proper Use of the Materials

After deciding on the materials you will use during the piston manufacturing process, you should also know the proper ratio of the materials. You should be well aware of the materials’ ratios and the amount of heat. The composition and heat should be perfect to get the perfect result.

6. Conservation of Energy

You should emphasise conserving energy. You conserve energy when you maintain proper heat and insulate the furnace properly. You should ensure that the least energy is wasted in the manufacturing process. 

7. Production Capacity

Production capacity is also a critical factor to consider before initiating piston manufacturing. Calculate the capacity and initiate the process accordingly. You should first calculate the capacity based on per day. It will be more convenient to calculate it on an annual basis.

Also Read: An Overview of the Briquetting Process (Techniques, Types and Uses)

Functions of Piston

The piston plays a vital role in the automobile engine. There are mainly two types of engines where the piston is used extensively. These engines are gasoline and diesel engines

Some of the functions performed by pistons are:

  • The main function of a piston is to transfer force to the crankshaft through the rod.
  • It also acts as a seal.
  • The piston pin allows gas to escape.
  • The connecting rod of the piston helps to transfer mechanical work.
  • Pistons carry the mixture of air and fuel until the combustion cycle stops.
  • Pistons also use an oil control ring to regulate oil flow.

Types of Pistons

There are many types of pistons. These are Dish Pistons and Flat-top Pistons.

1. Dish Pistons

A dish piston looks like a dish. Its outer edges curl up towards the outside. It is easy to maintain and use. It is used on engines in which high compression is not required.

2. Flat-Top Piston

Flat-top pistons have flat tops. The small surface allows for a huge amount of force. It can help create efficient combustion. There is also a possibility that these pistons cause a high explosion level in the chamber.

Main Parts of Piston

There are some major parts to a piston. Each of these parts plays a different role. 

Some of these parts are:

1. Rings

Piston rings are attached to the recessed area of the piston. There are three piston rings. 

2. Bearings

The bearings are important parts of the piston. These are attached to the pivotal rotation points. These semicircular metal pieces fit into these points.

3. Pin

The piston pin is also known as the wrist pin. The pin is mounted to the rod, which helps the piston ring bushing. The main role of the piston pin is to offer support to the bearing so that the piston can function effectively.

4. Head

It is the top surface of the piston. It connects to the combustion gases, which allow the piston to experience high temperatures. This part of the piston receives pressures and temperatures to expand the gas.

5. Rod 

The rod connects the piston to the engine crankshaft. It helps to move the piston in the chamber. It is designed to withstand mechanical strain. Therefore, the rod is very sturdy.

Also Read: Your Guide to Connecting Rod Manufacturing Process: Casting vs Forging


Pistons are essential parts of an automobile engine. It helps the engine work effectively. You can use various materials in the piston manufacturing processYou should, however, choose the material based on the type of engine used. You should choose the material based on engine types. Aluminium alloys are the most common materials required to manufacture pistons. You should also consider certain factors while manufacturing the piston. The first and most significant factor is to consider the protection of the environment.

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