IAME factory visit

Since Karting magazine’s last visit in 2006 to the IAME factory in Zingonia, near Milan’s Bergamo airport, there have been several improvements worth a mention and of course new engines to see.  With its 55 employees the factory can turn out up to 7,000 engines per annum including the new KZ 125cc gearbox engine, and a new line of watercooled MiniMoto engines.  These jewel-like power units come in either 40cc or 50cc varieties producing 12 or 14bhp respectively at 16,000rpm.  “We decided to start at the top end of this sport,” explained Technical Manager Andrea Bossaglia.  Already there are a few being raced in the UK, supplied through importer John Mills Engineering.   The other UK importer for IAME engines is Simon Wright Racing Developments.

This CNC machine is a new addition since our last visit four years ago

The KZ engine is being developed by the UK’s Jack Hawksworth on the International scene and is steadily being improved as the season progresses.  Shelves full of the X30 Shifter version with on board starter motors were on display in the factory as well as the standard CIK model.  It’s noticeable how small the gearbox part of the engine appears compared with rivals and the gear lever is mounted high up.  Compared with other KZ engines, the Parilla is provided with ground teeth in the gearbox, helping efficiency through low friction and the cylinder has a cast iron liner instead of the more usual Nikasil.  This allows for extremely precise port shape and position, making production performance differences minimal and also helping with maintenance, especially after a piston seizure.

X30 engines which are popular on the continent

Since the article in the June 2006 magazine from George Robinson and Chris Walker’s visit, two new CNC machines have been installed.  One is a 5-axis used for liners and the other is a 4-axis for crankcases.  The dyno cells have been overhauled and upgraded and a new dyno installed, capable of taking anything from a 60cc up to a KZ engine.  Temperature, humidity, winter or summer, all conditions can be simulated and repeated reliably.  Both air cooled and water cooled engines can be accommodated.

IAME is very involved with the Sudam classes in South America, and has most of the market for these 125cc engines which have now shifted to water cooling.  The older engines were CIK homologated, up to 31.12.09.  These countries have not converted to the KF philosophy, the feeling being it would be too expensive for the local economy and so are now undertaking their own national homologations.

The new dyno which can simulate any possible conditions

Not (yet) being promoted in the UK, the X30 engine is very popular in many European countries, being a 125cc water cooled TAG engine, and many shelves were filled with them at the factory.  IAME is a very serious endeavour, very dependent on the health of kart racing in all its facets, and of course they are continually improving and developing engines.  Work has been going on with electronic fuel injection, this being only economically viable for the more expensive engines.   Low emission is a target for everybody these days, and IAME have experimented with the use of E85 bio ethanol fuel and catalytic converters.  However the engine must run very lean and it is not so easy to optimise with simple carburettors.  Also the ‘cat’ runs very hot and so must be very much protected.

I would like to thank board member Filippo Fagnani, Technical Manager Andrea Bossaglia and Marco Moretti for facilitating the visit to Italy.  As George Robinson explains in the June 2006 article, IAME has its roots at the very birth of European kart racing, starting from the Moto Parilla motorcycle factory.  IAME was formed in 1968 and over time absorbed Siro, Komet and BM brands as well as of course Parilla giving an almost unrivalled heritage in kart racing engines.