What does it take to make a car great? For some, that question is easy to answer. If it has wheels, a few seats, and plays music when told to, it works. But for a select few, the search for what makes a car great is a little more intricate. For them – for us – our cars are an extension of ourselves. Here at Mishimoto, we’re a team of people who know that cars are about more than getting from point A to point B. They’re about how it feels between the two. Some cars are about power, some are about looks, and others are a combination of both, but we believe that all of them are a reflection of the love we put into them.
Based out of New Castle, Delaware, our headquarters and engineering facility encompass two buildings comprising over 50,000 square feet of work space. Most of that space is taken up by our new engineering facility that houses all of our cars, dynos, lifts and tools that we use to develop our products. Across the street from our engineering facility is a building that houses our corporate offices, customer service, and video studio. It’s pretty crazy to think that all of the work and engineering that we do now was once constrained to a facility one-tenth the size.
The Mishimoto engineering facility and the people who work within it will be our focus as we take a look at our tools, our team, and our engineering process.
Our Philosophy & Process
Our passion and love for cars are what drive all of us here at Mishimoto to create the best performance parts for your car. Our production team isn’t just made up of engineers, project managers and journalists; it’s one of the most diverse groups of automotive enthusiasts you’ll ever find. On most days, our office parking lot is a gearhead’s paradise. From Triumphs to 240s, and F-150s to Evos, our team drives just about everything. We love all of our rides, and we put that love into the parts we make here.
Our philosophy revolves around fitment, quality, and performance. The life of a typical product starts out with the stock counterpart. We first take a look at the stock parts to see how we can improve them and analyze any fitment needs. Our engineers take those specifications and begin building the prototype.
This process often begins with a 3D model that is translated into a physical prototype either through 3D printing, our waterjet, or good ol’ manual fabrication. These initial prototypes are tested on the vehicle before any production samples are made.
Once an initial design is finalized, our engineers send the design to our drafters, who create a detailed drawing to send to our manufacturing team. Using this drawing, our manufacturing team creates a sample product and sends it back to us at the R&D facility. If we find any issues, they are noted and corrected. This process continues until we’re sure that the production part will meet our high quality and fitment standards. Once we finalize our design, the product is manufactured and shipped to our warehouses, where it patiently waits for its forever home in your vehicle.
Tools of the Trade
Walk into any automotive repair shop and you’ll see welders, lifts, a few wrenches and maybe a few make/model-specific tools. Walk into a custom body shop and you’ll find a few sheet metal brakes, lathes, and presses. At our engineering facility, you’ll find all of that and more. In order to create the best-fitting and highest-performing parts possible, we employ all of the tools and equipment that a tech nerd dreams about. Let’s take a look at some of our awesome tools and how we use them.
Here at Mishimoto, we have not one, but two very different dynamometers (dynos). The first dyno is our Dynojet™ 424x, complete with a Linx system. The 424x uses a two-roller platform dyno that we use to test just about everything from two-wheel-drive cars to four-wheel-drive trucks. Our other dyno is a Dynapack four-pod system, and it is a completely different animal than the Dynojet. Instead of a drive-on roller system like the Dynojet, the Dynapack uses “pods” that bolt to the hubs of the vehicle. The Dynapack is just as versatile as the Dynojet, but for vehicles with automatic transmissions or finicky all-wheel-drive systems, we often use the Dynojet.
Our dynos are an essential tool in our development process. They not only allow us to test the effectiveness of our products, but also make sure that they are running safely with the factory systems and computer. Plus, what gearhead wouldn’t love listening to the sounds of a car at full throttle on the dyno in their workplace? Check out our dyno equipment profile for a more in-depth look at our dynos.
SuperFlow Flow Bench
Another important machine of ours is the SuperFlow SF-1020 flow bench. There are many variables in designing performance parts, and what works in theory doesn’t always work in practice. Our flow bench allows us to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
The SuperFlow SF-1020 flow bench is designed to accurately and consistently measure the amount of air that can flow through a component. We use this machine to test the maximum flow rate of our prototype intakes and intercoolers to compare them to the vehicle’s stock equipment. However, the flow bench has a second, very useful function: because the flow bench can control both flow rate and pressure differential across a test piece, we can determine the pressure drop across a prototype. This measurement is particularly important for intercoolers, as an intercooler must balance pressure drop and flow to provide the most efficient cooling in different situations.
WARDJet Waterjet Cutter
One of our more exciting pieces of equipment is our WARDJet waterjet cutter. This thing is like an industrial Ginsu® knife, but without all of that manual labor nonsense. This waterjet cutter uses a concentrated stream of water, mixed with finely crushed stone, to cut through just about any material — including six-inch-thick steel. The WARDJet’s computer numeric control (CNC) system allows us to trace a shape in a 2D design program, click a button, and sit back and watch the water jet work its magic.
Our water jet gets almost as much use as our dynos. The WARDJet is used for everything from creating prototype catch-can brackets to making jigs for our exhaust prototypes. We can produce multiple versions of the same product in minutes, which reduces waste and helps us bring new parts to you at a faster pace and, therefore, a lower price. To learn more about the WARDJet waterjet cutter, check out the WARDJet equipment profile.
One piece of tech that’s becoming increasingly popular around the world is the 3D printer; here at Mishimoto, we have four of them. Three of our 3D printers are MakerBot Replicator Z18s, and one is a Stratasys uPrint. We use these printers for a huge variety of jobs. Like the waterjet, the 3D printers get a ton of use, including printing prototype induction hoses, MAF housings, intercooler end tanks, catch-can brackets and full-sized models of parts such as washer fluid reservoirs. One major difference between the MakerBots and the uPrint is the uPrint’s ability to print soluble material. This is especially helpful for prototypes that require undercuts or complicated geometry.
3D Scanner and ROMER Arm
While we’re on the subject of 3D, let’s take a look at the newest additions to our arsenal: the FARO Design ScanArm and its little brother, the HEXAGON ROMER Stinger IIi. The FARO Design ScanArm is a techie’s dream, a 3D laser scanner capable of mapping an object’s surface 280 times per second. The FARO scanner has completely revolutionized the way we test fit prototypes. It allows us to create a 3D model of a vehicle’s engine bay, bumper, or stock component mounting points. If we can see it, we can model it. These 3D models let us test fit our prototype models before they’re even made, saving us massive amounts of time and lowering product costs. To learn more about the FARO Design ScanArm and how we use it, check out the FARO 3D scanner equipment profile.
The FARO Design ScanArm’s little brother (even though it’s actually a bit older) is our HEXAGON ROMER Stinger IIi. The ROMER arm, as we refer to it, serves a similar purpose to the FARO scanner. It allows us to make 3D models of various vehicle parts in order to create our prototype models. While it seems a little excessive to have both the FARO scanner and the ROMER arm, the ROMER arm saves us a lot of setup time for parts that are less complex and easily taken off of the car; and as any business owner knows, time is pretty important.
Now that you know a little bit about the tools we use to create our products, let’s get to the really important part: the people. As I mentioned earlier, we’re not just an office of employees. We’re all gearheads who share a love of all things automotive. Our product development team’s offices are located in our new engineering facility in New Castle, Delaware. This area is home to project managers, engineers, drafters, fabricators, and our content team. Our other building houses our corporate offices, as well as our marketing and customer support teams.
Our product development teams are organized into “cells.” Each cell contains a project manager, engineer, and automotive journalist. The project manager’s (PM) job is to do just that, manage projects. The PM makes sure every project is on track and any issues are addressed. Our PMs are time-management gurus, and I’m always amazed at how much they can get done in a day.
The engineers are the hands-on part of the cell. They are the people who take apart the cars, figure out how to improve them, and design and build the prototypes. Our engineers are experts in their field; they’re incredible problem solvers who love a good puzzle, whether it’s a complicated CCV system or a tricky intake. The engineer is also the person responsible for creating the 3D models that we use to build or 3D print prototypes. While the engineers are the ones who wield most of our fancy tools, they’re often assisted by our fabricators, who are masters of welding, CNC machining, and generally everything bad-ass.
Finally, there are my fellow content team members. Our job is to follow along with the development process, gather content and create blog posts that allow you to follow along with us. We’re also responsible for gathering feedback and answering questions about our products on our social media platforms and vehicle-specific forums. Our social media expert ensures that our content reaches you on social media. He is responsible for keeping our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter fresh and full of awesome content. All of us work as a team to make sure you know as much as possible about our development process.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of who we are at Mishimoto and how we create awesome parts for your awesome vehicles! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates on what we’re working on and to learn more about our team. As always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below!
Thanks for reading!