Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-2940
2003-09-08

Automated Wing Drilling System for the A380-GRAWDE 2003-01-2940

On Airbus aircraft, the undercarriage reinforcing is attached through the lower wing skin using bolts up to 1-inch in diameter through as much as a 4-inch stack up. This operation typically takes place in the wing box assembly jigs. Manual hole drilling for these bolts has traditionally required massive drill templates and large positive feed drill motors. In spite of these large tools, the holes must be drilled in multiple steps to reduce the thrust loads, which adds process time.
For the new A380, Airbus UK wanted to explore a more efficient method of drilling these large diameter holes.
Introducing automated drilling equipment, which is capable of drilling these holes and still allows for the required manual access within the wing box assembly jig, was a significant challenge. To remain cost effective, the equipment must be flexible and mobile, a llowing it to be used on multiple assemblies.
In conjunction with Airbus UK, Electroimpact has developed a mobile automated drilling system for the A380 undercarriage area. The system can drill up to 1.25-inch diameter holes in one shot. Similar in design to a five-axis post mill, the system can be transported to multiple work zones using an adapted stacking crane.
The system has been termed the GRAWDE for Gear Rib Automated Wing Drilling Equipment.

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