Welcome to our Company


capricorn AUTOMOTIVE Ltd began its life in 1998 specialising in the deep drilling and honing of complex high precision products evolving into the manufacture of cylinder liners and assembly of Formula 1 engine blocks. By the end of the 1990s capricorn AUTOMOTIVE Ltd had expanded its expertise into the production of precision forged pistons.

The company’s rapid development at the very top of the motorsport industry culminated shortly afterward in the construction of a dedicated in-house nickel-ceramic coating system for cylinder liners and the direct-metal coating of aluminium cylinder blocks.

20 years later these core competencies form the backbone of the company today providing the strong foundation that enables us to keep growing.

Today, capricorn AUTOMOTIVE Ltd specialise in the design and manufacture of high-end precision engine components for the motorsport, niche OEM automotive, automotive aftermarket and niche aero markets.

Mission Statement

There is great demand for our products and services, and we continue to grow year on year. We are Customer focused and driven by Quality, Cost and Delivery, reducing waste, inefficiency and lead times. Agile manufacturing techniques and evidence based thinking with structured process controls are at the core of our philosophy. Together as a team we embrace our challenges, and with a positive motivated leadership we will continue to grow. Continuous Improvement will lead to greatly increasing turnover, new customers, new markets and further investment.

Quality is the key to our success always aligning to global automotive quality standards

Advanced Product Quality Planning

Production Control Plans, PPAP, FAIR

ISO 9001 certified – LRQA 10124848

AS 9100 (UK end-2020)


• Precision CNC Milling 3, 4 and 5 axis machines

• Precision CNC Turning to 5micron tolerances

• Horizontal CNC Grinding

• CNC Honing & Hot Honing

• Super Finishing for DLC Coating Applications

• Bead Blasting

• Flow Deburring

• Manual Milling and Turning

• 400 Ton Precision Forge Press

• Aluminum Heat Treatment

• Nickel Ceramic Coatings

• Electroless Nickel Plating

• Electroless Nickel PTFE Plating

• TiN Coating

• Xylan/Graphic Resin Coating

• Molykote D10 Coating

• Level 3 Dye Penetrant NDT

• Prototype Design, Consultancy & Manufacture

• Latest version of Solidworks

• FEA Analysis

• Specialist Material Machining & Forging

• High Level CMM Inspection Capabilities



With over 30 years in designing in-cylinder components from road through to F1 in conventional and specialist materials

In-house expertise in required simulation techniques: FEA, inertial dynamics, forging simulation software etc.

Extensive University links to develop niche specialist skills: tribo-dynamics, contact mechanics etc, including a long lasting relationship with Loughborough University

Expert advisor / committee membership to UK engineering science and research council, British Standards Institute (BSI/ISO) and Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) regarding powertrain and in-cylinder development

Leading edge design benefits from high level of R&D undertaken and published in Leading Journals

Some examples of our Technical Competence

• Developed asymmetric piston profile form to increase upper cylinder lubrication thereby reducing friction

• Design, development and production of non-round pin bores allowing much higher contact loads to be successfully supported

• In-house high speed elevated temperature fatigue testing

• Development of specific critical surface finish and surface treatments to increase fatigue life: peening, flow de-burring



• Matsuura MC-800 VG2 3+2 Axis Milling

• Matsuura MC-550 VX 3-Axis Milling

• Matsuura MAM72-25V 5-Axis Milling + 40 pallets

• Matsuura 630H-Plus 4-Axis Milling

• Mori-Seiki NV5000-1 3-Axis Milling


• Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S574 Scanning CMM

• Mitutoyo Euro-C-A544 CMM

• Mitutoyo Euro-C-A574 CMM

• Mitutoyo 178-770 ER Surface Tester

• Rofin Easy Mark II Laser Part Marker


• Mazak Nexus 200-II MY

• Romi G15M

• Hardinge Conquest T51

• Hardinge Conquest T42-L

• Hardinge RS51 MSY

• Takisawa TPS3100S

• Takisawa TPS4000


• Studer RMY450 Cylindrical Grinder


• Sunnen SV10 CNC Hone

• Sunnen CV616 Vertical Hone

• Sunnen MMBB-1690-H Horizontal Hone

• Sunnen MBC-1804-H Horizontal Hone


• ISO-Thermal closed die aluminium forge press

• Drop Quench Oven

• Royce Ageing Oven

• 6 Station Nickel Ceramic Plating Tanks

• I2-V12 Block Nickel Ceramic Plating Tank

• Adelco A12E Universal Screen Printer


• Mild Steel • Stainless Steel • Aluminum • Brass • Cast Iron • Titanium • MMC • Inconel


Our unrivalled scope and ability enables us to manufacture of all types of aluminium, steel and cast iron cylinder liners typically for High Performance Road Cars and Motorsport. Working closely with our customers we have helped win Championships in WRC, WEC and Formula 1.


• 2618 – Typically reserved for racing use.

• 4032 – Common eutectic aluminium-silicon alloy.

• M245 – A higher-cost alloy with proven fatigue strength over 4032 material.


• 20Mnv6 / MW450 – Used in higher-load applications and where very thin walls are required.

Specialist Steel

• FDMA, S98, Stainless Steels

Standard surface bore finish:

• 0.15<Ra<0.3

• 0.1<Rpk<0.3

• 0.6<Rk<1.2

• 0.3<Rvk<0.6

• OD to a surface finish of 0.8 Ra.

• ID round to within 0.010mm

• ID parallel to within 0.010mm

• Bore size tolerance + 0.010mm / – 0

• Honing cross hatch angle 35° inclusive.


Fully designed and manufactured in-house from a range of super-clean high fatigue endurance alloys.

Specialising in high specific loads, lowest mass and lowest friction.

All pistons are optimised using FEA combined with extensive experience ranging from 350barg+ diesel through to 250barg+ gasoline engines in practically all racing categories as well as specialist OE developments.

Designed confidentially in house drawing upon significant design experience utilising material and treatments proven through elevated temperature fatigue testing to provide a significant edge over the competition:

Core Strengths

Highest design ability

Unique materials and surface treatments

enabling technologies e.g. complex pin bore forming

Precision in-house manufacture of all aspects.

All parts manufactured from equi-axed (forged billets) or fully forged parts.

Typically material, material processing and surface treatment processes offer a 35% fatigue life increase over the competition.


• 2618 – Typically reserved for racing use.

• 4032 – Common eutectic aluminium-silicon alloy.

• M245 – A higher-cost alloy with proven fatigue strength over 4032 material.


We can upgrade and recondition most types of Crankcases, and we are experts in providing high performance solutions all designed and manufactured in house working in partnership with you.

Typical solutions are:

Re-plate and hone with our Nickel Ceramic Plating, offering excellent wear resistance and low friction thus optimizing the performance of your engine.

Dry Liner or Wet Liner conversion using Steel or Aluminium custom designed liners with Nickel Ceramic Plating. This will add the same benefits as a standard re-plate and hone, but provide additional benefits on cylinder strength and cooling enabling high performance tuning to be achieved.

Honing Process options:

Cold or Hot Honing.

Torque Plate Honing (Hot/Cold).

Variable surface finish options to suit and typically inline with our Cylinder Liner Standards.

Alternative coatings and materials such as Plasma and Cast Iron can also be honed.


A forging size capacity up to 150mm with 600 tons of force with full data logging, heat treatment to 600C maintained in accordance with the procedures specified in BS 2M 54: 1991 and with a full range of polymer quenching facilities. This allows a typical forged part accuracy of +/- 0.1mm with a minimum draft of 0.5 degrees.

Forgings offer improved material sectional mechanical properties over machined from solid or cast parts. Transverse properties are increased over bar stock due to increased working in the transverse directions from multiple forging operations. This makes a forged part stronger than their equivalent machined from solid or cast part. A forged component also greatly reduces the possibility of metallurgical defects such as porosity as found in some castings.

Moving from a machined from solid part to a forging generates savings in raw material usage. Also using a near-net shaped forging also greatly reduces the machining time allowing the customer significant cost savings.


Capricorn’s in house nickel ceramic coatings are applied electrolytically from a nickel and silicon carbide solution, commonly known as nikasil.

Composition is typically 8 to 10% silicon carbide, with the particle size of the silicon carbide being sub ten microns.

Surface pre-treatments are specifically tailored to suit the substrate that requires coating.

After honing typical coating thickness is between 0.070mm and 0.090mm.

Hardness value of the plating has a mean value of 550hv with a standard deviation of 10hv, ensuring our coatings provide the best wear performance possible.

All our quality controls including plating use spc analysis to maintain optimum performance characteristics.

An example of our cross-section analysis is shown below