Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Hons.)


Faculty of Engineering


The aerospace industry is inevitably moving towards lighter, faster and more versatile aircraft, which has led to tighter manufacturing standards for both commercial and military aircraft. This has led to a wide use of automation for the manufacture of aircraft components. In aircraft manufacture, the labour required for assembly procedures can account for as much as 50% of the total cost of the assembly; drilling and riveting account for a large fraction of that cost. One of the areas of highest value added is in the drilling and trimming of aircraft parts. It is not uncommon for a wing, horizontal stabiliser or engine strut to have hundreds, even thousands, of holes to be drilled prior to installing fasteners. The material used in the manufacture of an elevator is very expensive; therefore the mistakes can be costly. So, many manufacturers have identified drilling as a candidate for automation. In most cases a robot or robot like machine will be used for this application. At present, the drilling of thousands of holes involves the frequent loading and unloading of drill guides and is done manually. This results in high labour costs. In this thesis, we will focus on the manufacture of elevators and investigate the possibilities of automating the drilling process associated with it. A simulation study was carried out to demonstrate the feasibility of robotic drilling. This study was carried out with the Interactive Graphic Robot Instruction Program software package.