INOX: A top-value Aussie solution for drilling stainless steel

INOX drills for tradies and weekend warriors working with stainless steel sheeting are designed to last 70% longer. Engineering Manager Tim Schurmann explains how.

Sutton Tools INOX Jobber drills are an industrial-quality drilling solution specially designed for superior performance in stainless steel. Manufactured in Australia, we’ve put in some design smarts to achieve much greater tool life than standard drill bits – which makes them great value for your customers.

INOX drills are also capable of drilling to a depth of three times their diameter, in sizes ranging from 1mm to 13mm in 0.1mm steps.

Tested endurance in a hard material

Stainless steel is notoriously demanding on drill bits, even in thinner sheet form. For this reason, we’ve tailored the INOX range of jobber drill bits with latest generation Futura Nano PVD-coated tips to make them more resistant to wear.

We’ve had them independently tested to prove they achieve 70% more tool life in stainless steel compared to standard drill bits.

The advantage of longer tool life – especially for plumbers, fabricators and other trades drilling stainless steel in their day job – is that it saves them time changing bits mid-task. A broken or worn drill can damage costly materials too, so a bit that stays sharper longer represents considerable savings in costs and time.

Better still, although INOX drills have a fast back taper and are only coated for a short distance from the point, they can still be re-sharpened a few times.

 

Innovation for ease of use

The other challenge of stainless steel is that it’s difficult to machine. We tailored the INOX range to overcome this with a fast spiral, short flute and unique ‘stepped-core’ design. This provides a uniquely smooth and effortless cutting action not seen in the industry before.

The web has been designed specifically for these drills. Its thickness at the point is slightly thinner than a normal drill, to prevent it from slipping on the plate and enable it to centre more easily. This design has improved the strength of the drill by increasing the back taper on its first section by the same length as the drill diameter. It then transfers to the conventional back taper dimensions – creating the stepped-core design.

The flute length is also shorter that standard drill bits which – with the quicker spiral of a 40-degree helix angle – improves drill strength. It also delivers better penetration and swarf control, plus it minimises ‘work hardening’ of the material being drilled.

Finally, we increased the point angle to 130 degrees to also help with starting the drill in the correct position, reducing the tendency of it sliding around when used in a pistol drill.

Designed for strength

We manufacture the INOX range at our head office manufacturing plant in Thomastown, northeast of Melbourne, using European high-quality M2 high-speed steel. This gives them the ideal combination of strength and wear resistance. We grind them using our CNC grinding machines to maintain a high surface finish and quality.

When the grinding processes have been completed, the drills are placed into specially designed fixtures for PVD coating. This allows only the point section of the drill to be coated to a length of three times the drill diameter. This serves to reduce the cost of the drill, while enabling it to drill a hole deep enough for the design. The coating used is TiAIN, which is best suited for drilling stainless steel.

Best value

The INOX range represents all-round good value – especially for professionals looking for reliability, resilience and lasting quality. Made here in Australia, they are uniquely designed for ease of use and the particular challenges of machining stainless steel. Best of all, they’re proven to last 70% longer than ordinary drill bits for this challenging application.

To learn more about the INOX range of Australian-manufactured drills, click here.

About the Author

Tim Schurmann
Tim Schurmann
Tim Schurmann is an Engineering Manager at Sutton Tools. He has been in the cutting tool industry for 40 years, starting as a fitting and turning apprentice and then completing an Engineering degree.