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Rheinmetall Automotive books €200M order in China for lightweight pistons

China-based Kolbenschmidt Huayu Piston Co. Ltd. (KSHP) (belonging to Rheinmetall Automotive AG) has received an order from one of the world’s biggest car producers with a lifetime volume totaling more than €200 million for modern lightweight pistons for gasoline engines with ring carrier and coolant gallery technology.


Lightweight gasoline piston with ring carrier and coolant passage.

The pistons form part of KS Kolbenschmidt’s Liteks program. The design caters to direct-injection and multi-turbo engine technologies. The convex pin boss abutting surface hub in conjunction with the newly configured connection to the piston skirt provides for well-balanced piston crown support which, in turn, better distributes strain concentration over the entire combustion surface.

These are particularly low-weight, low-friction components. The pistons owe their weight reduction to alloy KS 309 and the design engineers’ consistent exploitation of this material’s specific advantages. Thus the wall thickness of the piston crown was reduced by up to 30%. The increased size of the ring zone undercuts is made possible by an optimized casting tool design.

Friction was lowered by fine-tuning the basic piston structure and optimizing piston profile, which is asymmetrically barrel shaped. On the thrust and anti-thrust sides, differing and variable ovalities have been used along the skirt height. Skirt width has also been reduced. As a result, friction is now down by 28% under full-load conditions and 7% under part load.

The pistons meet strict requirements for reduced fuel consumption and emissions, enabling them among other things to meet the latest exhaust emission standards in China.

Developed by Rheinmetall subsidiary KS Kolbenschmidt, the components will go into production at KSHP in Shanghai starting in 2022. The order runs until 2028.

Made for a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, in the future these pistons will be used in all of the customer’s new four-cylinder series in China. The customer will mount them locally at three of its engine plants according to the “local for local” principle, thus benefiting from the efficiency of a relatively short supply chain.

Another important criterion for the award was KS Kolbenschmidt’s extensive global network of locations and the Chinese subsidiary’s close cooperation with Rheinmetall Automotive headquarters in Neckarsulm.

On site in Shanghai, KSHP also has a local tech center staffed by more than thirty highly qualified engineers. The center offers direct service to automotive manufacturers and covers all customer requirements, making the company a valued development partner for both local and international OEMs.


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