The ability to machine critical small diameter holes is essential to companies manufacturing precision parts. In order to meet a customer’s precise small hole requirements, manufacturers must utilise reliable tooling, such as boring heads and reamers after the drill operation is complete to finish the hole to the required tolerance.

Boring and reaming are very different in their approach to holemaking, therefore a direct comparison can not be drawn. With this being said, over the last decade or so, innovation and development of boring solutions have allowed distinct advantages over alternative finishing practices.

ActiveEdge Apex boring head in machine spindle

ActiveEdge Apex is Rigibore's fully integrated automatically adjustable boring head

The rise of Industry 4.0 manufacturing utilises digitalisation and automation in the machining process to reduce cycle time, remove scrap and push precision performance to new limits.

1. Positional Accuracy Is Key

Precision driven industries such as aerospace and automotive are no longer concerned purely with hole accuracy but also, just as importantly, positional accuracy of the hole.

For example, when machining a dowel hole for an engine block component, specifications are so exact that manufacturers must ensure hole centres are perfect to achieve the required finish. Reaming tools can be worrying to operators as they follow the position of the previous drilling operation, this reliance on the drill can cause issues by machining out of position, compromising quality of the fit and ultimately risking scrap.

Boring heads on the other hand do not follow the drilled hole, but will accurately position the hole on the centreline of the machine spindle, giving true positional accuracy and ensuring production of a perfect component.

2. Run Time Efficiency

In the case of damage to inserts, reaming tools can cause manufacturers a significant headache by being sent back to the shop for reconditioning, often at the expense of productivity targets during this time-consuming process.

A recent project saw Rigibore enlisted to replace bladed reaming tools. The customer was experiencing extreme reconditioning times of 10-14 weeks and the expense of replacement was approximately 60% of the original tool cost.

Rigibore’s Smartbore Nano fine boring head offered simple and fast replacement of the insert in the case of tool damage, allowing production to run with minimal downtime and the customer to meet critical lead times.

3. Adjustment Range

Reaming tools are designed with the purpose of machining a fixed diameter for a specific project, whilst this can be a reliable holemaking technique, many organisations benefit from the added flexibility possessed by the boring head.

Rigibore’s Smartbore Nano is able to machine holes from 0.5mm-16mm, covering varying diameter ranges within a single precision boring head.

Innovation in technology allows operators to make fine adjustments electronically through a handheld digital adjuster, giving a diameter adjustment reading after confirming the movement.

Rigibore’s innovation in design and manufacture has led to the development of two precision boring head solutions.

Smartbore Nano bar being adjusted in the machine spindle

Set critical tolerances quickly and accurately through Rigibore's Smartbore Nano

ActiveEdge Apex – Diameter Range ∅0.25–26mm. This precision boring head automatically adjusts as the insert wears, as part of a fully integrated, closed-loop tool compensation solution.

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Smartbore Nano – Diameter Range ∅0.5mm–16mm. The fine boring head allows simplistic, fast, micron accurate diameter changes to be made without removal from the machine spindle, by way of the handheld Smartbore Adjuster.

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