Modern Machine Shop

FEB 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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HOLEMAKING MMS FEBRUARY 2018 70 Tooling up for Deep-Hole Machining Imparting complex geometry on the inside (and the outside) of workpieces requires the right equipment, the right cutting tools and the expertise to make the most of both. BY MATT DANFORD | SENIOR EDITOR Imagine the sound of a 55-gallon drum filling to the brim in minutes f lat with a steady stream of coins dropped unceremoniously from high above. That is how Anthony Fettig, CEO of machine tool builder Unisig, described what it's like to witness the company's largest, most powerful deep-hole-drilling machines in action during a recent press event. With more than 300 horsepower behind the tool, holes can be drilled to extreme diameters and depths (20 inches and 32 feet, respectively) in even the most difficult-to-machine materials, including Inconel and other nickel-based alloys. Automatic toolchangers can accommodate shanks as long as 24 inches on some models, and the machines' beds can be large enough to require shipping in separate sections, each measuring as long as 25 feet, for precision assembly later. Unisig's line of deep-hole-drilling machines is not limited to these behemoths. On the other end of the spectrum are machines designed for holes measuring less than 1 inch deep and no broader than 0.04 inch in diameter. The most important consideration in drilling, Mr. Fettig says, isn't necessarily the depth or the diameter of the hole: It's more about the ratio between the two. "We perk up and get happy," Mr. Fettig says about being presented with depth-to-diameter ratios ranging to 300:1. "We know we can take (customers') problems away." While the company is known for deep-hole drilling, the term itself does not do justice to the breadth of these machines' capabilities, nor to the breadth of the company's engineering expertise. With the typical application defined by more than just challenging hole-making oper- ations, he believes "deep-hole machining" is a better descriptor. This Isn't (Only) a Drill In an era when manufacturers of all stripes seek to consolidate operations on fewer pieces of equipment, Unisig has taken the position that a gundrill does not have to be just a gundrill. Indeed, much of the builder's equipment demon- strates a focus on external workpiece features as well as internal ones. Although stock delivery machines are avail- able, a significant proportion of Unisig machines are made to order from modular platforms. One example of such a platform is the USC-M line, which combines powerful hole-making with all the general machining capability of a five- axis mill. This machine is particularly useful for plastic-injection moldmakers that cannot afford to spend too much time drilling deep water-cooling lines. Unisig machines are designed to perform these operations in the same setup as the complex contouring required for exterior features, Mr. Fettig says. Although

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