Case Studies

AutoDrill Case Studies

Application Example

Just a few days ago, we received confirmation from a customer we had quoted that they were indeed going forward with their upgrade project.

It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but we thought you might want to read a bit about what a typical AutoDrill customer does and purchases.

First, the customer told us they had two separate applications.  One required a multi-drill head and the other would be a single spindle unit.

Four Spindle BCD Multi-Drill Head

Four Spindle BCD Multi-Drill Head

2140-2 With ER16 Collet Chuck

2140-2 With ER16 Collet Chuck

Here are the specific details:

  1. The first application was relatively simple as far as the process went. The customer wanted to drill four holes at one time. The hole size would be anywhere between 1/8″ )0.125″) to `1/4″ (0.250″) in diameter and would be drilled through 1/8″ thick aluminum material.  The catch was that the customer wanted to drill four parts at once. They would nest the parts on their fixture next to each other in a way that allowed the AutoDrill multi-drill spindle head to perform a perfectly spaded square pattern.  The customer had preciously used single spindle Suhner brand drills but wanted to try something a bit more modern.  We quoted a model 2240-2 AutoDrill for the stroke, a MS4C-13 gang drill head for the four hole process, and a three phase, 1 HP motor set-up that allowed the customer to choose an RPM rate from 862 RPM to 4200 RPM from the factory.  Speed changes are easily accomplished with simple belt and pulley swaps if needed. Their control system was a special dual pressure set-up pneumatic control that allows the customer to set a different downward line pressure from the retract pressure. The controls will be triggered by a PLC running 24VDC signals to a solenoid provided by AutoDrill.  Finally, a pair of proximity sensors (NPN/PNP dual compatible model) were added to the drill to inform the PLC of “proof of return” and “end of stroke” positions.
  2. The second application was a bit less critical as far as the initial set-up by the customer, but a bit more critical because of the process itself.  The customer wanted to drill a single 1-1/2″ (1.500″) hole through a plastic material. Because of the nature of the job, the exact material type was unknown and could range from PVC to HDPE or even some of the more exotic plastics.  The customer’s tool has a 1/2″ (0.500″) shank on it but sometimes comes with a hex shank.  Seeing as the shank changed from time to time, we decided to quote a standard key-type chuck.  We quoted a model 2240-2 AutoDrill for the stroke, a KT500J33 key-type chuck for the hole process, and a three phase, 1 HP motor set-up that allowed the customer to choose an RPM rate from 862 RPM to 2100 RPM from the factory.  Speed changes are easily accomplished with simple belt and pulley swaps if needed. Their control system was a again a special dual pressure set-up pneumatic control that allows the customer to set a different downward line pressure from the retract pressure. The controls will be triggered by a PLC running 24VDC signals to a solenoid provided by AutoDrill.  Finally, a pair of proximity sensors (NPN/PNP dual compatible model) were added to the drill to inform the PLC of “proof of return” and “end of stroke” positions.

The final cost of the equipment to the customer was less than $9,000 and delivery of some products will be in less than one week. Delivery will be made by simple UPS Ground shipping.

AutoDrill would love to help solve your high volume drilling needs.  Our quotes are 100% no obligation and basic PDF, DXF and/or DWG drawings of equipment are available with the quote in most cases.

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

A Typical Application Example

A quick write-up from one of our application engineers:

We do simple drilling in most cases.  No CNC, no feed calculations, just an air stroked automatic drilling machine with a supplemental hydraulic feed control that is manually adjustable.  You look at the chips and determine whether you need to go faster or slower, etc.  RPM rates are usually conservative but slightly adjustable.  It’s a purpose built machine for most people.

So…  I’ve got a return customer who loves our product.  We were initially nervous about selling to this guy because of the difficulty of this projects, but it turns out he implemented drill bushings and all other types of stabilization that made it a huge success.  …And we were transparent with him about our concerns from day #1 but he admitted that after many calls, we were the people who would actually work with him and provide a custom solution for an affordable cost.

Anyhow…  He calls me a few days ago with a new challenge.  He needs to drill six holes in one stroke.  7/8″ diameter in ductile cast iron. Nothing fancy, just needs thru holes for mounting a flange-type part.

Problem is, the largest machine I have is a 3 HP unit (sometimes 5 HP on special jobs). It can only create 1000 lbs. of thrust at 100 psi shop air and we really don’t like pushing it with more air because the components inside have not been tested under heaver loads in a production atmosphere.  We’ve run as high as 1600 lbs. of thrust for a number of tests, but tests are different than real life, day in and day out use…

So, after the standard “Well, you know we need to really think this through because it’s once again a uniquely challenging application.” statements, we dig into it.

His cycle time isn’t critical but being able to press a button and walk away is.

We came up with a staggered length head design that we believe will work for him.  In essence, the machine will only see the load of two holes at a time as the “bits” will pass thru the part before the next two engage, etc.

We are likely quoting a 6″ stroke machine with a full 6″ of hydraulic feed control. Air stroked at 120 PSI shop air. Drill bushings. Guide rods to further stabilize the heavy multispindle drill head (maybe spring loaded to decrease some of the weight load too). ER40 style spindles and collets – maybe ASA.  3 HP with a gear reduction system running around 375 RPM (conservative). Pneumatic stroke controller (FRL, start button, tubes, fittings, starter bottle of oil – Press the button and the drill will stroke forward to a limit switch and then retract and wait for the button to be pressed again.)  3 phase motor – panel and additional controls by the customer.

If he needed a faster cycle time, we would have face mounted the multiple spindle head onto a motor and gear reducer combination and suggested he have someone build him a hydraulic slide mechanism… We’ve done that many times successfully but prefer to avoid making the slides themselves.  Those big slide jobs excite me as I really enjoy the larger drilling devices.  …But they are rare these days.

…Still working on the details with this customer, but it is just another example of what gets placed in front of us on a daily basis. Cost is still reasonable since there isn’t much customization going on here, just some creativity…

Any random comments, questions or critiques? Give us a call or shoot us an e-mail!

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

Custom Gear Driven Drill & Tap Head

Example of Similar Head

Drilling Fossilized Woolly Mammoth Tusk

In April of this year, we received one of those calls that just makes your day.  You know, the kind of call that grabs your attention and makes you glad you do what you do.

You see, our customers come from a very diverse background of business.  There are AutoDrill products working in radioactive atmospheres. There are AutoDrill products stirring blood samples for a medical company. There are AutoDrills spinning baked hams while they are spiral sliced.  ..We even have a few out there drilling steel, aluminum, etc.  Can you imagine? <grin>

So it was that on April 29th that we received a call from a company that makes custom grips for 1911 handguns and some other very specialized items. The specialized grip for the 1911 we help them make is fossilized Woolly Mammoth tusk material.  …And at the time, they needed to drill two holes in it. The initial discussion went something like this:

“Good afternoon, AutoDrill.”

Q – “Can you offer a multi-drill to make two 1/4″ holes in fossilized Woolly Mammoth tusk material?”

A – “Um…  Hmm…  Yes.  That’s unique, but yes we can.”

At that point, our sales person was saying to themselves that it must be a joke or a friend making a prank phone call…  But we have also learned to never doubt the legitimacy of a job until it’s clear someone is messing with us so we just continued on with the call.

So…  Here we are just a few weeks later. We shipped the product with a custom drill press adapter to the customer on May 15. The customer now has the AutoDrill multiple spindle drill working in their shop and they are indeed drilling fossilized Woolly Mammoth tusk material.  You have to love that!

We often say we love solving the unique problems brought to us.  Well, the only thing we might find more enjoyable is the knowledge that our products can, and are used in some of the most unique applications in the world.

If you would like to learn more about the products made by this particular customer, please visit their site here:

Fine Turnage Productions
Fossilized Woolly Mammoth Tusk Grips for 1911 Handgun

Fossilized Woolly Mammoth Tusk for 1911 Handgun

Fossilized Woolly Mammoth Tusk for 1911 Handgun

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

…And yes, before you even ask, we probably can do that.