In aerospace manufacturing, virtually every engineered component features some form of hole.

For airframe manufacturers, including such companies as Airbus and Boeing, the sheer volume of holes that are required to be produced is estimated to be in the region of 50 million holes every year. These holes have to be created to high tolerances for components that are often containing multiple dissimilar material combinations. For example, titanium, aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) stacks.

During the manufacturing process every hole has to be precisely positioned and machined, by either drilling,
milling or via eroding strategies. Hole generation for such components carries high risk, with any errors potentially resulting in finished components being 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:

• Development of tool technologies including geometry, materials and coatings
• Tooling design and machining strategy optimisation for robotic systems
• Development of low torque machining practices such as orbital drilling
• Establishing one-way assembly manufacturing strategies for multiple-stack componentry
• Implementation of clean machining strategies which either reduce or eliminate the use of oil/ fluid coolants
• Integration of automatic and robotic manufacturing methods for increased rate of manufacture
• Topographical and subsurface metallurgical analysis of machined components with respect to their in service properties
• Development of One-shot manufacturing strategies

For more information, please contact:

Dr Pete Crawforth MIET
Technical Fellow

p.crawforth@sheffield.ac.uk