Precorp Hand Tool
Hand drilling carbon fiber-reinforced composites (CFRP) was a new challenge for one of Precorp's aircraft manufacturing clients. While this client had a seasoned base of skilled hand drilling operators, the introduction of CFRP created new challenges in drilling round clean holes due to its rigidity and toughness. The inability to create round clean holes had a direct effect on the fatigue properties of their fastened joints which in turn made the material unsuitable for advanced aircraft structures. They came to Precorp to help them find a workable and successful solution to this problem, where in other solutions had failed. The final set of tools had to produce high quality holes while enabling the operator to perform faster and with greater precision.
Upon receiving sample materials Precorp tool designers and test engineers went to work in the application test lab. Using innovative processes, the tool designers worked to eliminate the surge of an ordinary hand drill while perfecting the ability to produce a round clean hole.
The solution became known as the PHT Tool line. This set of unique drills were able to produce close tolerance precision holes in advanced composite laminates with minimal de-lamination and clean exit holes.
In designing a tool that would resolve the issues related to drilling in CFRP, Precorp created a product that not only drills a clean hole but also allows an inexperienced operator to successfully and quickly drill. The design of the PHT tools included measures to counterbalance the thrust forces applied by the operator when drilling the hole, thereby allowing the drill bit to slowly exit the CFRP material and avoid the damage that often occurs with drill bits of a straight flute design. Additionally the PHT tool line design eliminated much of the 'grab' that was common among conventional or right hand flute design, thereby eliminating many potential risks to the operator.
While the benefits of using this product continues to grow for Precorp's aircraft clients, so far the solution to hand drilling CFRP has made a sizable impact in the speed and accuracy of creating holes in the CFRP aircraft manufacturing process.
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