Piston designers are limited in their ability to design precisely what they want because the machinery to accomplish their ideal designs has not been available. What they need is equipment that can accurately reproduce, in large quantities, their desired shapes at speeds that keep the manufacturing cost at an acceptable level.A new CNC shape-turning system has demonstrated a solution that's ideally suited for turning piston skirts and other non-round parts. At its heart is a high-speed solid-state actuator originally developed for military applications. The actuator rod is made of a “smart” material, so called because it has the ability to change its physical shape when subjected to an external stimulus.Called Pulse-Turn™, the camless system turns complicated shapes with high accuracy at speeds substantially higher than those possible with current technology. It's a self-contained package that mounts on suitable, standard CNC lathes.