Indexable tooling has always been associated with improved performance and economy, but going small and gaining benefits has been limited by mechanical clamping and the precision of the index.

Gil-Mar Manufacturing, a high-volume production machining facility, was looking for a way to reduce part cycle time and part cost on an automotive hinge. This truck door-hinge application production volume is 1.1 million units annually using four dedicated FANUC ROBODRILL machines. The drilling operation was the longest part cycle time and a target for improvement. With a hinge-hole diameter of 0.382" (9.7mm) and hole depth of roughly 8x the hole diameter, drilling was limited to conventional solid carbide drills.


ISCAR has continually pushed the envelope to develop small, indexable tooling that can be produced in high volume with high precision, says Pat Cline, ISCAR’s national drilling product manager. The investment has yielded a two-flute, indexable drill as small as 6mm diameter. The indexable technology yields many benefits over the ground solid carbide drill in that cutting edge geometry can be molded to yield high mechanical efficiency, improving penetration rate. In addition, says Cline, the insert has a varying drill point angle that creates a self-centering effect, improving hole straightness and hole finish.

This revolutionary drill point reduces both axial thrust and torque during the initial penetration of the work piece. Reducing the force and thrust requirements allows for the drill to have minimum deflection, making a better quality hole and improving tool life.

According to Dave LaVigne, plant manager, Gil-Mar Manufacturing, “The SUMOCHAM Drill from Iscar improved our penetration rate by 33% and metal removal rate by 21%. The benefits did not end with just the increase in productivity. The insert is indexable so it’s quick to renew, important for this type of machine, thus saving approximately 3-to-5 minutes of setup time. We eliminated the cost of logistics and outsourcing for our regrinding program as well as the production issues associated with inconsistency and with managing drills of different lengths and number of times reprocessed.”

Garrett Gilbert, with ISCAR sales and applications, says, “I see this type of improvement with many customers. While the productivity improvement is very attractive, it’s sometimes more difficult for the customer to quantify the exact savings associated with eliminating the refurbishing of solid carbide drills. The cost savings can be quite large and of course, then there is the simplification of managing the tooling which reduces the chance of error. Inventory quantities and space needed is also reduced since we are just changing inserts now. Great for vending equipment!”

ISCAR Metals Inc.