Stepping into the void

A deep thinking job shop will specialise in gun drilling up to 50mm diameter and 2 metres long.


Drilling of deep holes is increasingly in demand for numerous precision applications these days. In most cases it is not long production runs that are required but rather small to medium batches of 10 to 100 parts. The majority of machine shops will not have the capabilities to perform the task and invariably will have no idea as to where go to get the operation done.

Realising this fact Micron Technologies have invested in a machine that will step into the void.

“Micron Technologies is a rare company in that it makes it’s living off making holes – we sell specialist honing and deep hole drilling equipment, as well as offering a service whereby we have the equipment to carry out this type of work when batch sizes do not justify the capital cost of doing the work in-house. Most of our customers are other machine shops,” said Justin Dowdle, MD of Micron Technologies.

“It is important to note that we do not conflict or compete with the customers that purchase equipment from us, rather we compliment them in many aspects. Because we sell the equipment and have capabilities to run parts, we are in a position to offer the best solution for any customer’s particular circumstances and requirements.  It’s completely unbiased advice. The experience that we gain from the various parts we run on our machine also means we are absolute process specialists and can ensure that our customers get the very best support and expertise. This is the niche area we operate in,” continued Dowdle.

“In general any hole more than 10 times its diameter, is considered a deep hole. Gun drilling is a very old process of drilling long or deep holes, first used in the making of gun barrels more than 100 years ago. Today’s technology with refined machinery and tool design has made gun drilling a reliable high production method for drilling short holes as well as deep holes. The gun drill consists of a hollow tube with a “V” shaped groove or flute along its length, and a carbide cutting tip designed in such a way as to produce it’s own guide bushing as it drills the hole. High-pressure coolant is introduced into the center of the drill tube through the spindle of the gun drilling machine to help break and evacuate the chips along the “V” groove of the tool and out of the hole. Gun drilling provides very close tolerance straight holes with excellent surface finish. Gun drilling is able to produce holes as small as 0,78 mm.”

“Drilling deep holes is a discipline apart from drilling as most shops understand it. Holes that are characterised by the largest ratios of length to diameter require not only unusual machine tools, but also unusual allowances that more shallow holes don’t require. There are reasons, for example, why deep-hole drilling generally must be one of the earlier operations in any production process.”

“With conventional drills such as twist drills several cycles or pecks would be required to clear chips from the flutes of the drill. With a dedicated deep hole drilling machine and proper tooling and fixturing the hole can be produced in one pass. Depth to diameter ratios of up to 300:1 can be achieved and a good surface finish and hole size may eliminate secondary reaming, or honing operations.”

“As mentioned before rifle barrels are an obvious component however long spindles, oil holes in shafts, bearings and connecting rods are other components that require deep hole or gun drilling.”

“Generally a client will supply cut-to-length shafts or rods but there is also the possibility of gun drilling first and then cutting-to-length. It all depends on the customers requirements.”

“We are operating in a very niche area of the market but by having the machines on our floor they become a reference point as well. Clients are able to come in for live demonstrations and see the services and support that we offer.”

“The machines we are offering are manufactured to German specifications, where the IP originated from, and come equipped with high-end components and controls like the Siemens control for example.”

“HTT offers multi-spindle deep hole drilling machines, gun drilling machines with one to six spindles and special purpose machines.”

For further details contact Micron Technologies on TEL: 011 608 2100


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The new gun drilling machine that Micron Technologies has installed

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The machines are manufactured to German specifications, where the IP originated from, and come equipped with high-end components and controls like the Siemens control for example

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Micron Technologies will specialise in gun drilling up to 50mm diameter and 2 metres long.

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The men involved – Zhu Yun from HTT, Justin Dowdle from Micron Technologies, Jack Yang from HTT and Dennis Maher from Micron Technologies