Moline Tool

A Division of Swan Engineering & Machine Co.

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Tube Sheet Drilling

Tube sheet and support plate drilling machines with multiple spindles are a special product of Moline Tool.  For over 40 years, our drilling machines have been used by leading producers of tube sheets, baffle and support plates.  Our world wide customer list  includes customers who have purchased several machines over the years.  Our machines designs are continually being up dated using current technology. 


  • HIGH PRODUCTION and cost savings by using multiple spindles for each drilling cycle.
  • FAST PENETRATION DRILLING with high pressure coolant through the spindles to the drill points.
  • CNC CONTROL for positioning, feed rates, spindle RPM’s, and spindle selection, for fully automatic repeating drill cycles.
  • AUTOMATIC SPEED AND FEED variation during drilling cycles for maximum efficiency, as in drilling clad materials.
  • DULL DRILL DETECTION by monitoring thrust on each drill.
  • ELIMINATION of hand layout or templates.
  • RANGE OF MACHINE SIZES from 1500mm square work tables up to 6000mm by 10000mm drilling areas.
  • MAXIMUM THICKNESS of single plate or stacked plates to 150mm.
  • ADJUSTABLE CENTER DRILL SPINDLES for various in-line hole pitch spacings.
  • COORDINATE POSITIONING by moving work table on smaller machines or moving gantry bridge over stationary work table on larger machines. 

IN ADDITION to the multiple spindle tube sheet drillers, we also have designs for single spindle CNC tube sheet drillers with 60mm diameter drill capacity.  These single spindle machines can also be used for bolt circle drilling, milling and limited deep hole drilling.




Table type machine designs are for the medium to small tube sheet.  Table sizes in range of  1500mm square up to 3500mm by 5500mm have been designed.  Tube sheets are loaded onto the table and the table is positioned in the “X” axis (front to back) equal to the length of the table plus 150mm.  If the machine has spindles that cover the entire width of the table, the “Y” axis travel of the table (side to side) is 150mm.   If the quantity of spindles is less than the table width, the “Y” axis travel is a compound slide moving across the face of the bridge.  The “Y” axis allows the spindles to cover the width of the drilling area.



Gantry tube sheet drillers are designed to accommodate the large tube sheets, as well as allow the loading and unloading of tube sheets while the machine is drilling in another area of the table.  Gantry machines have been built with drill areas up to 6000mm by 10000mm.  Tube sheets are loaded onto a stationary table and the gantry is positioned “X” axis (front to back) and the “Y” axis (side to side) over the stationary table. 



Tube sheets can be loaded on the driller table either singly or stacks up to 150mm maximum thickness.  If table size permits, multiple stacks can also be drilled simultaneously by proper loading of plates and selection of spindles with the CNC control.



Moline tube sheet drillers can accommodate most any size and shape of tube sheet or baffle plate.  Round, half round, rectangular, or square plates can be programmed and drilled.  Stacking multiple plates and loading multiple stacks is very commonly practiced on the Moline’s. 



The machine table or gantry , depending on the machine type, is positioned on its “X” and “Y” axis by means of the CNC system.  Precision ball screws ensure positioning accuracy.  “Z” axis is also ball screw driven and provides rapid traverse and CNC controlled feed rates to the rail and spindle heads.



Every Moline tube sheet driller is equipped with a quantity of individual spindle heads.  Machines have been built with as many as 48 spindle heads.  Each head is individually clamped to the rail of the machine which allows each machine to be supplied with the quantity and size of spindles required for drilling.

Minimum spindle head center distance is determined by spindle head capacity.  Changes in spindle head center distances larger than the minimum can be obtained by unclamping the spindle heads from the rail, opening up a space between heads, and inserting precision spacers between the spindle heads, and then reclamping the spindle heads.  This procedure provides a means to space spindle heads equal to multiples of drilled hole centers (pitches).



Each drill spindle head is equipped with a hydraulic cylinder for selecting the spindle up or down.  Spindles with drills in the up position do not contact the surface of the workpiece during a drilling cycle.  Those spindles with drills selected in the down position, drill through the workpiece as the machine rail is fed down.  The CNC control is programmed to select the correct spindles for each drilling cycle.  Spindle selection for each cycle permits drilling of long and short rows as required in round workpiece patterns and for selected drilling patterns in other areas of the workpiece.



An important feature of a Moline tube sheet driller is its ability to detect dull tools.  When a dull tool is detected due to excessive thrust, the spindle is retracted and the machine cycle stops, allowing the machine operator to check the drill and make a change if required.  After the tool has been changed, the operator can restart the machine where he left off.



The flood coolant system consists of a reservoir and pump of ample size, based on machine size and number of spindles to adequately flood the workpiece surface.  The coolant pump is piped into a coolant manifold to distribute the coolant to areas where the drill enters the workpiece.  Coolant flow can be a part of the automatic cycle whereby the coolant flows only when the drills are feeding.



To obtain higher feed rates, increased tool life, and better chip control; coolant feeding drills requiring a high pressure coolant system are used.  The high pressure coolant system is designed in conjunction with the flood coolant system so both systems are available for use as required.

The high pressure coolant system includes a reservoir, pump, valves, manifolds and filters as required.  The high pressure coolant is piped into a manifold where it enters individual valves control by the CNC.  When a spindle is selected down by the CNC, the appropriate coolant valve opens, allowing high pressure coolant to flow through a rotary coupling mounted on the top of the spindle, through the spindle and drill directly to the cutting lip of the drill.

The high pressure coolant system is designed in conjunction with the automatic drilling cycle whereby high pressure coolant is only supplied when selected spindles are down and drills are feeding into the workpiece.  Manual pushbuttons are also provided for operator selected coolant requirements.

Filtering systems of various types with different degrees of micron filtration are also provided to eliminate chips and other contaminates from entering the pressure side of the system.



To remove the volume of chips generated in tube sheet drilling, we offer a traveling electro-magnetic chip removal system mounted to the machine bridge.  The electro-magnet oscillates from side to side in front of the line of drills picking up the bulk of the chips.  The chips are deposited into a hopper provided by the customer or onto other conveyors.  As the table or gantry moves, the electro-magnet continues to pick up chips 


About Us | Tube Sheet Drilling | Photos (Our Products) | Swan Engineering | Contact Us | Home

Moline Tool
2611 State Street • Bettendorf, Iowa 52722/U.S.A.
Phone (563) 355-5388 • Fax (563) 355-5380