IPD, an aftermarket provider of engine components for heavy-duty diesel and natural gas powered engines, announced a new patent-pending piston design for the aftermarket. This new IPDSteel piston design uses precision friction welding to create an aftermarket alternative to similar newer model engine piston designs that are currently only available from original equipment manufacturers.
This new IPDSteel design is the third in a line of IPD exclusive pistons, following IPD’s current patented and patent-pending one- and two-piece pistons.
Heavy-duty piston designs have evolved as a result of increasing cylinder pressure specifications, IPD explains. Early model engine pistons were predominantly one-piece aluminum designs, which later evolved into two-piece articulated designs with steel crowns and aluminum skirts. Ever-increasing cylinder pressures led to one-piece steel piston designs, and as pressures continued to climb, the two-piece friction welded piston design was conceived.
The IPDSteel design joins two precision-manufactured piston components made of high-strength alloys to manufacture near net shape pistons for efficiency and quality. Precision friction welding joins a steel crown to a steel skirt with integral pin bosses, creating a box structure design with an integral oil cavity improved piston crown cooling, as well as enhanced support of the ring land area (older one-piece piston designs provide a lower degree of structural support for the ring lands, resulting in the potential for cracking and fatigue within higher cylinder pressure engine specifications).
The resulting new welded piston design is stronger than the past generations of piston designs, and is better able to withstand the high cylinder pressures in modern technology engines, according to the company.
IPD innovations include patent-pending design ideas such as special manufacturing operations to reduce dimensional variation, and still use SAE design standards for key features such as ring grooves. As with many newer steel piston designs, IPD takes special care in the specification of profiled pin bores to accommodate for pin deflection during operation (a very high technology precision process in which IPD has made major investments to properly measure and manufacture precision pin bore profiles).
IPD adds specially engineered coatings (as is found on similar OE components) to reduce friction and provide proper break-in characteristics.
IPD says it's the only aftermarket alternative to OE for engine overhaul kits, offering a cost-effective alternative. It is planning to launch this new IPDSteel Welded Piston into the market over the next weeks, with initial applications for selected Caterpillar C-series engines.