"Drilling Material Stacks: Can it be both automated and affordable?," SAE Technical Paper SN-0001, 2017.
Automating a manufacturing process often comes with substantial investment or sustained operational costs of complex subsystems. But, by reducing complexity and using technologically mature components, it is possible to develop viable scaled and robust automated solutions.For the past several years, aerospace manufacturers have endeavored to automate manufacturing processes as much as possible for both production efficiencies and competitive advantage. Automating processes like drilling, fastening, sealing, painting, and composite material production have reaped a wide range of benefits; from improving quality and productivity to lowering worker ergonomic risks. The results have improved supply chains from small component manufacturers all the way up to airframe assemblers. That said, automation can be very expensive, and difficult to introduce when a product is anywhere beyond the beginning of its life cycle. In this Solution Notes, engineers address those two challenges with a mix of off-the-shelf systems and specially developed SCADA for a low-cost automatic system that can accurately drill aluminum stacks.