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Benefits of Fast Hole Drilling

The Benefits of Fast Hole Drilling

Engineering solutions that deliver drilling results at speed with a high degree of accuracy are important to a wide range of specialist industries nowadays. Central to this is Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) which allows manufacturers to cut and drill intricate shapes that would not be possible with traditional machinery.

For industries such as aerospace and energy, creating tight tolerance holes in difficult materials such as turbines has been key to creating better energy efficiency and performance in recent years. One key area is Fast Hole Drilling using EDM, which has significant benefits in these kinds of industries because of its speed and high degree of accuracy.

What is Fast Hole Drilling (FHD)?

FHD is a form of Electrical Discharge Machining that can handle highly specific drilling jobs at speed. Basically, it produces high temperatures that melt and vaporise materials to form a hole. When this is carefully directed it can create holes in a variety of materials with pin point accuracy to a great depth.

For awkward surfaces that have curves or angles, the FHD process does involve the kind of pressure exertion which could make drilling difficult making it the perfect solution for these kinds of materials. Fast Hole Drilling also has low depth to diameter ratios which are also very useful.

How is FHD Better Than Other Methods of Drilling?

  • In certain circumstances, Fast Hole Drilling works as a good alternative to acid electrolytic techniques such as Shaped Tube Electrolytic Machining or STEM. This is especially the case in the creation of drill holes for parts such as aerofoils.
  • Fast Hole Drilling is one of the primary methods of creating holes in conductive high tech materials including titanium, carbide and hastalloy.
  • It’s ideal for curved, angled and spherical services, both hard and soft materials, and can produce small tight tolerance holes in a variety of materials.

What Industries is FHD Used For?

Fast Hole Drilling is beneficial in a variety of industries where small, precise holes are needed, often in traditionally difficult to machine materials. The drilling speed for a FHD can be around 1 millimetre per second and can the process can drill down much deeper than alternative STEM processes producing holes with a diameter of just 0.3 mm.

That’s why it is ideal for the aerospace industry where it can be used on range of components including turbine blades. Machines such as aircraft require air to circulate over components so that overheating doesn’t occur. Creating these small holes accurately and quickly has always been a big challenge to manufacturers. What Fast Hole Drilling does is make this process possible with fast drilling rates for a range of materials.

It’s not just the aerospace industry that benefits from FHD. Industrial gas turbines need similar machining to make them more efficient and to prolong the life of a particular component. EDM Fast Hole Drilling is advancing rapidly with the ability to make ever smaller, tight tolerance holes that are needed in engines, turbines and hydraulic components as well as industries including medicine, mining and marine equipment where intricate drilling is required.

Have you got a project that you think could benefit from FHD?

Please complete the quick enquiry form and we will get one of our FHD experts to contact you.

Fast Hole Drilling investment

ELE have recently installed a 5 axis Fast Hole Drilling (FHD) machine.

In simple terms, it is an Electrical Discharge Machine (EDM) that has a rotating head.

Fast Hole Drilling - ELE“It really has been a revelation when compared to conventional EDM” Peter Palij, Commercial Director

We are using it on Nozzle Guide Vanes (NGV) and HP Turbine Blades both for Aerospace and Industrial Gas Turbine (IGT) applications.


This is a really versatile machine capable of drilling at speeds of between 7mm per min to over 40 mm per min, depending on the hole diameters. The range of hole diameters is from 0.25-10mm.

Plus, it will also create fan tail and conical holes, at the entry point, for better diffusion of air flow (very clever trick).

All this and it only uses deionised water – very environmentally friendly.


Because of its versatility it can get into some difficult areas on the complex parts that the demanding designers are in need of.

One of the projects we are currently working on is a complex NGV product for the IGT market and the results really look great. Airflow performance is exactly where we need it to be and we continue to work closely with our customer to improve the design from our positive feedback.

We are now bidding on a potentially very attractive contract to supply film cooing holes for an Aerospace application and have a high level of confidence in securing it – thanks to our expertise and this great machine.