Case Study – Avoid costly mistakes that affect bid win drilling contracts and ROI


Contractor XYZ assumed that drilling times were the same on all plasma cutting combination drilling machines they were considering. However, Contractor XYZ failed to realise until after the machine was commissioned that the machine was fitted with a mist coolant delivery system that provided a small amount of lubricant to the top of the plate and not at the tip of the tool drilling cycle. This required the carbide drills RPM and feed rate to be up to 30% slower than a machine fitted with the drilling coolant delivery system supplied by SMS. As a consequence, Contractor XYZ found that the cost per part increased because the new machine had 30% slower drilling times and this prevented the machine from addressing the gap in the market for which the machine was intended to meet.

Plasma cutting and drilling combination machines supplied by Specialist Machinery Sales (SMS) have a state of the art method of providing an atomised lubricant and high-pressure air through the spindle and through to the tip of the tool. The lubricant is supplied at less than 50 millilitres/hour while the air at 100 psi and flows up to 1,500 Liters/minute blasts swarf out of the hole. This coolant delivery system allows the machine to run 30% faster for carbide drilling and high-pressure air than mist coolant delivered to the top of the plate.

Contractor XYZ was a 3000 tonne per year structural steel fabricator that wanted to bring their steel processing in house and sell their excess plasma cutting and drilling capacity to the market. The business calculated that the in-house add on part processing was between 10-15% of the 3000-tonne capacity. It was calculated that 450 tonnes would require 1 shift for 15 weeks to process their internal requirements. The majority of the ROI was calculated from selling their excess capacity like several clients of SMS have successfully achieved.

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