Source: Atlas Copco launches battery drill in support of aerospace manufacturing by Mike Richardson

According to industry research carried out by Atlas Copco, 35% of holes required in airframe construction are drilled using handheld tools, which account for up to 65% of the assembly cost. In addition, the drilling process was found to be the cause of around 85% of quality issues and 80% of lost operator time due to injuries sustained from legacy tooling. 

Specifically developed to further improve quality and productivity on the aircraft assembly line, while also reducing instances of operator injury, Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions has introduced an electric drill for the aerospace sector.

Atlas Copco’s EBB16 cordless drill has been researched and designed to counter these issues, with ergonomics, safety, and usability enabling users to drill more identical holes more accurately and more safely. Weighing just over 1kg, the compact-sized cordless EBB16 is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery, which features a double battery position that enables operators to access tighter locations within the airframe, as well as working with less restriction.

Featuring ten drilling programs, ranging from 500 – 5,500rpm, selected via a user-friendly interface (HMI), the EBB16 replaces the need for ten tools with just one, for a leaner and more cost-efficient assembly line. Selectable programs ensure the correct cutter speed for specific materials, thereby reducing the risk of drilling oversized holes and a reversible option enables the back-out of drill bits in the event of a jam. Operator feedback includes a cutter usage indicator and service information via the HMI, whilst Wi-Fi-based tethering can also be provided to prevent tool usage outside a specific assembly area.

Available in two models, Standard and Plus, for specific airframe tasks, EBB16 is managed with Atlas Copco’s bespoke ToolsTalkService2 software for torque programming and traceability analysis. Carried out by certified technicians, Atlas Copco’s EasyStart installation and user training service is provided, as well as maintenance plans to ensure consistent and accurate drilling performance.

Commenting on introducing the dedicated aerospace drill, James McAllister, general manager Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions, said: “The human factor is decisive in airframe assembly. Drilling errors can cause major process delays and incur significant costs to rectify. The introduction of Atlas Copco’s latest battery drill, that’s specifically designed for use in aerospace manufacturing, aims to address these challenges within an increasingly competitive and quality-critical sector. The innovation and development behind EBB16 reflects Atlas Copco’s focus on forging strategic partnerships with aerospace customers in their journey to the Smart Factory.”