Advanced Portable Orbital-Drilling Unit for Airbus Final Assembly Lines 2007-01-3849
Novator's patented orbital drilling technology is now well known for its ability to drill holes with high quality and finish in a single operation. By using orbital drilling, the need to disassemble the parts in order to remove the burrs is eliminated. A fully implemented orbital drilling process makes it possible to reduce the drilling time by 50%. Dry drilling makes coolant obsolete and reduces environmental hazards. To exploit the advantages of orbital drilling, Airbus started a project with Novator a few years ago in order to develop a Portable Orbital Drilling Unit to be used in the final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. This lightweight, portable system, called Twinspin PX3, is a CNC controlled unit allowing for a continuous radial offset adjustment of the cutting tool. Based on this innovative process, it makes it possible to produce not only cylindrical holes but also conical holes or more complex shaped holes. In addition, an ID-chip reader for position control and automatic diameter and parameter settings is included in the unit. This ID chip reader can also be used in order to identify a specific predetermined hole drilling recipe to perform adaptive stack drilling (parameters can be changed when moving from layer to layer in a material stack). By working in close cooperation with Novator, Airbus has been able to thoroughly specify all requirements of the system in order to qualify and use the system in a production environment. Intensive tests have been performed at Airbus to validate the industrial capability of this system for implementation in the A320- family FALs. The major innovative features of the drilling system, production benefits as well as results from Airbus test are presented in this paper.