This project was originally covered by an article published by McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering:


Nearly every industry is experiencing technological disruption. In manufacturing, developing new tooling and processes to meet shifting demands allows our partners to stay ahead of the disruption curve, and we’re proud to help them do it. Since 1999, the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) has been a strategic partner to industry, applying our world-class expertise and cutting-edge facilities to solving manufacturers’ challenges — honing processes to maximize productivity and quality while reducing cost and facilitating product innovation.

Voestalpine logoVoestalpine is multi-national enterprise, supplying raw steel and processed components to a wide range of industries including automotive, railway systems, profilform and mold & die. Voestalpine is the world’s leading supplier of tubular components and assemblies for automotive occupant restraint.


Voestalpine Rotec Summo Corp (vRSC), located in Burlington Ontario, has the opportunity to win new business in inflator tubes.

It’s a tremendous success, and especially unheard of because we’re drilling on a round surface in very tough material. This would be impossible to do without McMaster. Without having their expertise involved, we wouldn’t be competitive.
Andy Skrepnek, vRSC’s Director of Innovation


The MMRI is worked closely with vRSC, supplying world-class expertise and access to advanced equipment to develop the world’s most competitive process for producing airbag inflator bottles.


Before the MMRI’s contribution, vRSC’s $50 carbide drills would break unexpectedly, after only a few hundred holes, greatly interfering with production as the automated cell would stop each time a tool broke. By the project’s end, that number rose to 10,000 holes drilled per tool with no unexpected breakage. This innovation has brought in millions of dollars in new business and has meant adding five more automated productions lines to vRSC’s Burlington facility. This drill technology is now being adopted around the world.