Flexible drilling

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Tube, pipe and structural steel fabricators who do a lot of drilling have a new lower cost and more efficient alternative to radial drills or standard tap/drill machines.


The XYZ Rapid Drill machines from Spanish builder CMA are unique in North America, according to its exclusive Canadian distributor, SMD Machinery Inc.

“I’ve never seen anything like it here,” explains Luc Seesing, SMD Machinery’s president. “I always seem to be able to sell the machine when I have face to face time with customers because once they see what this flexible machine can do, they understand its value and want it. We’ve just started selling this machine and have quoted several customers. One customer in Winnipeg will be installing a CMA machine in January.”

Seesing adds that the Winnipeg area manufacturer was considering another standard tap/drill machine, “but when he saw the CMA machine, he realized it was a much better machine for the flow-drill application it was using for weld nuts while being capable of running two work areas as well.”

CMA offers two types of machines – the TRD cantilever automatic bench-type and the GRD automatic gantry model.

Key to the appeal of these machines is process flexibility and machine customization. Machine construction and head design allow for several machining processes – drilling, deep drilling with chip breaking, tapping (with non-rigid tap construction), counter sinking, boring, flow drilling, jump drilling and light milling. More importantly, Seesing estimates that 90 per cent of all of the machines are customized, something that is easy for CMA to do because of how it builds its rapid drill machines.

“These machines are a great solution for shops that have to drill holes in larger, longer objects,” adds Seesing. “The only way to position the drill in a precise manner on bigger plates is on a big (and often expensive) machine centre or with a boring mill. A radial drill is not precise, or it can’t get to the position because the arm is too short. Without the CMA machine, handling can become a major issue.”

Versatile machines for a variety of drilling applications

What makes these machines unique is their ability to drill a variety of different sized parts. The TRD can perform in work areas ranging from 1542 mm x 597 mm (60 in. x 23.5 in.) to 9000 mm x 597 mm (354 in. x 23.5 in.) Maximum drilling capacity is 38 mm (1.5 in.) CAT 40 or BT 40. The distance under the spindle goes from 260 to 660 mm (10.23 in. up to 25.98 in.). The GRD model is available with a work area as small as 3000 mm x 1200 mm (10 ft x 47.2 in.) and can range to as large 12760 mm x 4000 mm (42 ft x 157 in.). Drilling capacity is 50 mm 2 in. The distance under the spindle ranges from 160 mm to 660 mm (6.29 in. up to 25.98 in.)

Perhaps more appealing than the machines’ flexibility is the price. Similar machines with less capabilities can run upwards of $800,000, whereas the CMA machines start at $100,000 and range up to $400,000, says Seesing.

Open concept drilling for better machine accessibility

Since cutting speeds and feeds are generally lower than standard enclosed type machine tools – the machines’ “through-the-spindle” coolant pressure is a maximum of 50 psi – chips and coolants exit the holes at much lower speeds, eliminating the need for an enclosed system, which would inhibit operator accessibility to the machines.

If additional safety measures such as enclosures around the head or sensors are required, they can easily be added, says Seesing.

SMD Machinery


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