Passive input gearbox: Innovation for robotic drilling

Engineers in the AMRC’s new Design & Prototyping Group have developed a compact gearbox for an innovative robotic drilling system. Using the gearbox, the automated system can quickly adjust its parameters when drilling complex aerospace structures containing both metal and composite materials.

The latest aircraft use an increasing amount of carbon fibre and other composites. By using these lightweight materials instead of metals, aircraft can be made lighter and more fuel efficient. In some applications where extra structural strength is required, layers of composite are stacked with layers of titanium or aluminium alloy. Often, such a layered stack has to have holes drilled through it so that fasteners can be attached.