New SPF Drill For Aerospace CFRP-Cutting Applications


Advanced lightweight, high-performance carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials are becoming more prevalent in the aerospace industry. The problem is that this material tends to delaminate when being processed, particularly when drilling holes. Kennametal Inc. is answering the call with its new Split-Point Fiber (SPF) Drill. By offering improved hole quality over the entire length of the tool’s life (at least twice that of a PCD drill), the SPF Drill often can help reduce the cost-per-hole by at least 50 percent.

CFRP composites, now comprising 6 to 7 percent of current aircraft by weight, are slated to be 40 to 50 percent of future-generation planes on average.
The high cutting forces required to machine layer carbon fiber with expensive polycrystalline diamond (PCD) drills cause the material to delaminate, shortens tool life, and contributes to lower productivity.

Kennametal’s new SPF Drill – with its carbide substrate, positive geometry, and coating – provides longer tool life and requires substantially less cutting force, which results in the reduction, if not the elimination, of delamination.

The drill’s smooth CVD multi-layer diamond coating provides more wear resistance and reduced friction, which increases tool life and improves chip flow. Special point thinning increases centering capability and allows reduced thrust, which improves hole quality.

“In field tests, the Kennametal SPF Drill has drilled as many as 300 holes in the most difficult-to-machine CFRP grades without delamination and as many as 1,000 holes without delamination in other grades,” said Marcelo Campos, Kennametal’s Product Manager for Holemaking.

The new SPF Drill is available in 24 different standard diameters, in inches from 0.1719”-0.5010”, and metric from 3,20-6,50), with standard lengths equal to 3X and 5X diameter.

“We also have the ability to produce custom solutions, and can produce drills as long as 7X diameter as a custom solution,” said Campos.

Kennametal Inc. is a world leader in the development, manufacture, application, and supply of high-quality metalcutting tools and services. It is the world’s leading tooling supplier to the mining, metal cutting, forestry, and road-construction industries, and offers the most complete array of milling, turning, and holemaking products to manufacturers.
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