In addition to production benefits, a future opportunity for automotive manufacturers that involves deep hole drilling technology is in making vehicle parts lighter yet still maintaining or even increasing their stiffness and strength.
Deep hole drilling can produce thin-wall parts such as axles and power transmission shafts, for example, that provide significantly higher mechanical integrity and better improved energy economy. For instance, drilling a 20-mm axial hole through a heavy 30-mm diameter shaft makes the shaft much lighter while maintaining its stiffness. This lighter shaft has less rotational inertia which, in turn, reduces energy consumption. Designers continually search for such small gains in efficiency and will seek ways to enhance lightness and stiffness throughout the automobile.
As machine tool manufacturers, our job is to listen to our customers, understand what they need, and develop those needs into a solution that is viable from a cost and reliability standpoint. With ongoing advancements in engineering technology, machine manufacturing, and service, what might have been very expensive to do only three or four years ago is now viable. Concepts that once seemed a bit far-fetched are now quite common. Because of that, we design our machines to provide both flexibility and utilization that will enable our customers to successfully face the expected major changes in the automotive manufacturing industry.