Fiat Powertrain is upgrading the CNC systems of 20 machine tools critical to its crankshaft and cylinder block production, in support of engine manufacturing at its Campo Largo, Brazil, plant. The goal is to extend the machines’ service life and minimize future maintenance downtime.

Each machine requires a custom upgrade kit comprised of a high-performance CNC unit, servo drives, and motors, specifically designed by NUM to speed installation and improved diagnostics and spare parts handling.

As part of Fiat Chrysler, Fiat Powertrain operates several manufacturing plants around the world, including four in South America. The Campo Largo plant, near Curitiba, Brazil, manufactures 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter E.torQ flex-fuel engines for medium-sized cars that can run on petrol or ethanol.

The E.torQ series was developed by Fiat Powertrain and started in production at Campo Largo in 2011. The engine block has cylinder head fittings separate from the cylinder jackets. The threads are positioned in the upper part of the water jackets, with the connections between the jackets and the outer dimension of the cylinder kept apart from the cylinder head fittings.

Set up by Chrysler and purchased by Fiat in 2008, the Campo Largo plant is described as one of the most modern in South America, and currently produces about 230,000 engines annually. It is outfitted with numerous multi-axis CNC transfer machines, machining centers and specialty machine tools, including a wide range of Cinetic-Landis crankshaft grinding machines, Heller machines for the external milling and grinding of crankshafts, and transfer machines produced by Comau, a Fiat subsidiary – for engine block machining.

In total, the plant’s crankshaft and cylinder block production involves 20 CNC machines with more than 120 feed axes. Each of these machines was originally fitted by a NUM 1050 series CNC unit, with NUM MDLU1 servo drives and NUM BMH series servomotors.

As the CNC systems aged, Fiat Powertrain became increasingly concerned with the likelihood of increased downtime. Troubleshooting and sourcing spare parts, as well as performing general machine maintenance, was threatening to take too long and impact production throughput. Since mechanically the machines were perfectly serviceable, in 2012 the company decided to extend the life cycle of the production lines by upgrading all 20 machines with modern CNC controllers, drives and motors.