Drilling down time and cost


Website: BictoolExternal site: a new window will open.
Category: Japanese Machinery

There's a new drill in town

Drilling holes through stainless steel has long posed a daunting task. Stainless steel is often desired for its strength, but that durability also makes drilling holes a tedious process-until now. Tottori Prefecture-based Bic Tool Co. Ltd. has developed the energy-saving Gekkou drill, a cobalt drill bit considerably faster and more efficient than conventional ones.

Improving a 30-year-old design

Bic Tool originally started in 1980 as a manufacturer of auto repair tools as well as drill sharpeners and grinders. Giichi Arai, the company's executive director, says drill bit design hadn't changed in 30 years, even as the use of stainless steel had greatly increased-prompting the company to consider producing its own drill bits. Proprietary research and development conducted for another product that ultimately never came to market was incorporated into the Gekkou drill bit, whose patent-pending design utilizes distinctive crescent moon shapes as well as straight edges that carve smoothly into stainless steel.


Bic Tool President Koichi Arai


The Gekkou drill bit's patent-pending design is amazing the industry

Better performance in a fraction of the time

The Gekkou drill bit's advantages speak for themselves. In one comparison with another company's product for a 6-milimeter thick, 304-type stainless steel plate using a 10mm drill bit, the other drill bit requires 240 seconds to create a hole while the Gekkou drill bit needs only 20 seconds. Moreover, the bit's efficient performance doesn't cause high temperatures and leaves the hole's edges free of burrs, which typically occur with conventional drill bits and necessitate sanding to remove them.

Return on investment

Product lifetimes are also vastly increased. After maximum re-sharpenings, the competition's drill bit can complete only 38 holes while the Gekkou drill bit can boast 268. The fact that the Gekkou product omits the need to create conventional pilot holes due to their unique tip forms, it allows the products to perform faster and last longer, resulting for customers to quickly recoup their investment in and achieve substantial savings. Arai notes that Gekkou drill's superior durability means: "We don't have many repeat customers."


The employee checks drill bits for quality control

Production overdrive

Unsurprisingly, the market has taken notice and Bic Tool is in production overdrive, working seven days a week to keep up with demand. Arai says two years ago the company was producing 5,000 bits a month but now produces 80,000 to 100,000. These numbers include export supply, as the company is motivated to bring the product overseas and is establishing distribution contracts in several other countries in Asia, India and even Estonia. "If customers in Japan were struggling with stainless steel, then customers abroad were probably having difficulty as well," Arai explains.


Employees are also manufacturing Gekkou Drill bits with company-developed machinery

Multi-purpose drill bits

As general-purpose drill bits, the Gekkou can be used on regular steel, aluminum, and copper as well as resin. Bic Tool recently announced the availability of its high-precision machining bits, putting holes in the idea that cheaper conventional drill bits are ultimately an economical option.

Website: BictoolExternal site: a new window will open.