In aerospace manufacturing, virtually every engineered component features some form of hole – Boeing alone claims to produce around a million holes every day. 

Every hole has to be precisely positioned and machined, by drilling, milling or eroding. Any error can potentially mean that an expensive part-finished component has to be scrapped.

The AMRC hole generation team is dedicated to improving the performance and quality of hole generation techniques.

We aim to cover all areas of hole generation relevant to our industrial partners.

Our current research areas include:

  • Tool geometry, materials and coatings for carbon fibre reinforced composites and composite/metal stacks
  • Robotic systems for the helical generation of holes
  • Orbital drilling

Many of the CNC machining centres at the AMRC Factory of the Future are capable of producing holes of different kinds.

As well as these generic facilities, specialist equipment includes:

  • Novator Twinspin orbital drilling unit – low-torque, air-driven machine capable of producing holes in aluminium and aluminium/composite stacks.
  • AIT NCDJ drilling platform – computer-controlled drilling platform, originally designed for Boeing’s F18 programme. Our machine has been modified for use as a test platform to investigate parameters such as tool design, workpiece material, cutting forces and coolant application.
  • Alicona InfiniteFocus measurement system – optical 3D microcoordinate system for form and roughness measurement, allowing us to assess the effect of different parameters on the hole quality and to study relative tool wear.

For more information, please contact:

David Palazon, project engineer