Manual drilling in fibre composites and titanium alloys

Ergonomic handling and highest quality guaranteed

Some parts of the manufacturing process are still manual, even on ultra-modern aircraft production lines. Using a fixed-speed drill and no lubrication, operators use nothing but muscle power to drill holes in a wide variety of combinations of CFRP, aluminium or titanium. This often occurs in three stages – pilot hole, core drilling and final reaming. For applications like these, the tool has to be ergonomically correct and deliver the highest quality results, regardless of the constitution of the operative. So, it’s good to know that we, a renowned manufacturer of manual power tools and supplier to numerous aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers, sit on a repository of the necessary expertise for the machining of demanding material stacks.

And, as a result of its collaboration with universities and research institutions, we are actively helping to shape the future of machining.

Titanium alloys: cool the hot chip

Among the main reasons that titanium is such an attractive option for aircraft manufacturers are its tensile strength at high temperatures, its low specific weight and its resistance to corrosion. However, its low thermal conductivity makes machining more difficult, as the process heat is transferred to the workpiece and the tool, rather than being carried off with the chips. Lubrication and the correct machining parameters, on the other hand, make for a cool process. Thanks to its decades of experience in working with titanium, Team Cutting Tools can define the appropriate combination of carbide grade and geometry. And so, thanks to our extremely robust solutions, efficient production processes can be created even in this material.

Create efficient manufacturing processes, even in titanium

Materials – machining options

Many years of experience with all common single and mixed material stacks in the aerospace industry, plus other combinations, e.g. with steel or Inconel.

Fibre composites: not a problem

Top priority: clean fibre separation

CFRP and GFRP are on the one hand extremely tough, yet they have a very low specific weight. The highest priorities in the machining of highly abrasive fibre composites are ensuring clean fibre cutting, preventing delamination and avoiding projecting fibres. A long tool life or tight tolerances can therefore only be achieved by using adapted geometries and high performance diamond coatings or cutting tools equipped with PCD.

We have an ultra-precise manufacturing facility and experienced personnel who are eager to be challenged with fibre composites!

Example: manual one-shot drilling of CFRP-alu

Technical data

  • Uncoated solid carbide drill
  • Hole Ø 5.1 mm
  • Drilling process: One-shot drilling (OSD)
  • Mixed package CFRP-alu (6 mm–4 mm)
  • Machine: Pneumatic manual drilling machine with 3300 rpm
  • Tool life >100 holes

Advantages/benefits

  • Fewer process steps
    → lower costs
    → increased productivity
    → shorter process times
  • Reduction in the number of different tools
  • Tools can be reground
    → save money and improve environmental footprint
  • Adapted cutting edge geometry offers ergonomic handling and operator-independent results with an exceptional tool life