Tungaloy provides expert tooling support for the extreme engineering challenges and tiny time frames faced by racing teams.
High-performance race teams push everything to the extreme. Drivers get every drop of power they can squeeze out of their cars; engineers shave every ounce of weight out of every component in the vehicle; and machinists fabricate complex parts from difficult materials facing critical deadline pressures.
“I’ll go in on Monday and they’ll ask for tooling advice on a part they need to make by Tuesday to get on the car and racing by the weekend,” says Steve Jodrie, Tungaloy America Inc.’s sales engineer who works with Team Penske, the legendary race team that has racked up 547 pole positions and 480 wins in its 52-year history.
Working with the race team is different from working with the typical machine shop, Jodrie says. Every machining center, coordinate measuring machine (CMM), and piece of metal fabrication equipment is new and state-of-the-art. And unlike some smaller shops that struggle to find talented machinists, Penske’s shop is full of veteran gearheads who want to work on the extreme challenges that racing offers.
“They’re not worried about billing a tool to an individual job or tracking every investment in technology. They’re focused on the engineering challenge at hand,” Jodrie says. “So, I never have to worry about the capabilities of their equipment or people. On the other hand, those capabilities mean they have much higher expectations on what we can deliver.”
As a partner to the racing team, Tungaloy offers expert advice and cutting tools to address the challenges Penske faces. Typically, that means improving the quality and durability of each component, and most importantly, getting them through the shop quickly.
Recently, team engineers asked for Jodrie’s advice on a series of aluminum suspension pieces they were milling with solid carbide tools. Penske tailors suspension parts to each race to tune each car’s performance to the characteristics of each track and expected weather conditions. So, team members must constantly fabricate two unique components for each car.
“I was able to show them an indexable tool to cut the part. It supported deeper depths of cut and higher speeds. On a 4-hour part, the new tool was able to get them down to just about 2 hours,” Jodrie says.