How Nissan turns engines into pieces of jewelry

Okay, I admit it’s a little bit of a play on words but Nissan does really use jeweler’s practices in prepping its hottest engines for assembly, and recently extended the practice to one of its bread-and-butter cars. The same technology used for making the cylinder bores in Nissan’s awesome GT-R muscle coupe is being transferred to the engine-development process for the 2020 Altima line. The whole process for the Altima takes place at Nissan’s huge engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee.

What Nissan’s doing is extending the practice of mirror boring to the Altima engine’s cylinder bores for significantly reduced parasitic friction and enhanced overall performance efficiency. Doing so for the big-selling Altima makes this the highest-volume application of mirror boring in Nissan’s history. The bore process involves spraying the bore with a charged metal wire that’s atomized via pressurized gas to make the material adhere to the inside of the bore, about 200 microns’ worth – about twice the thickness of a human hair. That’s what’s going on in the photo above.

Next, Nissan uses a special drill bit tipped with diamonds that are considered unfit for use in jewelry. This bit is spun at high speed inside the bore so the melted metal coating will polish to a flawlessly smooth finish, literally to a mirror’s reflectivity. First opened in 1997, the Decherd engine plant assembles 1.4 million new Nissan engines every year: That works out to an average of one every 19 seconds. You can learn all about the much-updated 2020 Altima by visiting Nissan USA’s website.

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