Whitepaper: Optimum Performance Starts on the Shop Floor


Ross Racing Pistons manufacturers custom and off the shelf high-end forged aluminum racing pistons in El Segundo, California. Since 1979, they have been among the most trusted names in durability for high-performance pistons and are at the forefront of piston technology. Their products can be found across all forms of racing, including Top Fuel, Drag, Circle Track, Off-Road, Diesel, Boat, Motorcycle, Land Speed Racing, and more. Ross Racing Pistons maintains exacting tolerances on pistons by using the newest, most stable, and most accurate machining equipment available, along with an extensive range of forgings. Optimizing the process includes the equipment used to clean their products. As a result, precision and new parts make their customers’ engines run at their best. 

That’s why they came to Graymills. 


In making their leading high-performance pistons, Ross Racing Pistons uses honing oil in the manufacturing process. Honing gives their products the precision necessary for optimum performance in racing engines. However, the parts must be clean of any grease and debris from the manufacturing processes before shipping to the customer. Their reputation is on the line, and when a customer opens a set of Ross Racing Pistons, they expect a flawless clean part. 


The team at Ross had been hand-cleaning each part to remove the honing oil. But unfortunately, it was a labor-intensive process. Employees were performing wash cycles, multiple rinse cycles, and drying while being exposed to harsh cleaning chemistries at elevated temperatures. Chris Madsen knew there had to be a better, less labor-intensive way to clean parts, so he began researching his options. 

Their cleaning process lacked efficient automation. However, the biggest concern for Ross Racing Pistons was the quality of their product. Their products must be free of oil and with a finished shine. The cleaning process was affecting their customers’ satisfaction. This project was as much about their reputation for delivering the highest quality pistons available on the market as it was about the bottom line. 

An investment in new equipment is never to take lightly, and the Ross team didn’t either. But, as with many operations, changing processes and equipment comes with concerns. As a result, there was a considerable amount of time dedicated to researching their options.


As a first step to finding a new solution, the Ross Racing team connected with other manufacturers to learn how they cleaned their parts. Through their research, Graymills was the name that kept coming up. Graymills’ reputation for high-quality parts washers and ability to create solutions uniquely tailored to the customer’s process was what drove (no pun intended) Ross Racing Pistons to Graymills. With the guidance of the Graymills’ outstanding technical team, Ross Racing Pistons chose a cleaning system with an Ultrasonic Liftkleen with a large-volume filter and oil removal, an agitated heated DI water rinse, and a dryer—all equipped with automated timers to fit their cleaning needs precisely. 


The Graymills technical team was able to identify the issues and match the Graymills equipment to meet their needs. Next, Graymills went onsite for installation and in-person training. The Ross Racing team was trained in one day, and their new cleaning system was fully operational. Technical Sales Manager. Chris 

Madsen says, “They (Graymills technical team) asked a lot of questions, and I felt they did their homework.” He was “absolutely satisfied” with the final cleaning process in place and with the unparalleled services provided by Graymills. 

Ross Racing has been positively impacted by using more efficient cleaning equipment and processes. Today, each tech can tend to other duties between each cleaning cycle. In addition, it reduced the task of cleaning parts from 2-3 people to 1. As a result, the cleaning cycle time has been substantially reduced. 

The Ross Racing Pistons team is more productive by being able to focus on other duties, but it also removed the employees from the constant heat of the wash cycles. (Facility is not climate controlled, so this was a significant employee impact.) Reduced manual labor hours needed for cleaning allowed for more tasks to be performed between cycles, increasing overall productivity. Graymills Parts washers resulted in a 60% reduction in cleaning time with substantially better results. 

The best part may be that their products look better than ever. So even though the bottom line was not a driver for improving their cleaning processes, it was ultimately the most notable result. 

Ross Racing Pistons have proven the quality of cleaning processes and equipment can affect manufacturing beyond the task at hand. Manager Chris Madsen, says “ I would recommend Graymills. Their products are great quality, and the staff is accommodating.”

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