Drilling in the Right Place

When aircraft are assembled, the internal wing structure is attached to the skin of the wing using rivets. Traditionally a technique called backdrilling is used where holes are drilled from the inside of the wing out, and these holes then act as a targeting point to drill back inside. Not surprisingly, this is tricky to do and costly if you get it wrong. It also reduces the lifespan of the wings.



AB Electronics created the Halosensor, a handheld unit that uses a sensor array, drill block, targeting computer, and vacuum attachment system. The operator uses the display on the targeting computer to steer the unit to the desired position, after which the unit is locked to the surface with the vacuum system and the surface is either marked for drilling or the holes are drilled. The technology has also been adapted for robotic drilling. Because the system positions the hole from the outside in, resulting in greater accuracy and tighter tolerances, the manufacturers can remove material from the feet of the ribs (because they know exactly where on the foot the hole will be drilled). This in turn leads to an overall decrease in the weight of the plane and improved fuel consumption. Just from drilling holes accurately!

Contact Richard Hughes, AB Electronic Ltd., TT electronics PLC, Romford, U.K.; 44 (0)1708-776127, [email protected], www.halosensor.com.

Free Newsletter

Like this article? Subscribe to FierceSensors!

The sensors industry is constantly changing as innovation runs the market’s trends. FierceSensors subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, developments and analysis impacting their world. Register today to get sensors news and updates delivered right to your inbox.

Suggested Articles

Two economic studies on expanding tech jobs to dozens of heartland places in the U.S. provoke a discussion on good work, good life.

Integration of Symantec business expected to help with security software sales

Analysts predict 5G shipments to explode in number in 2020