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Drill End-Effector for Robotic Drilling in Confined Space Aircraft Inlet Ducts

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Beck Engineering
1490 Lumsden Road Port Orchard, WA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Drill End-Effector for Robotic Drilling in Confined Space Aircraft Inlet Ducts
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8650-07-M-5506
Award Amount: $100,000.00


The Air Force needs a Robotic Drilling System (RDS) for drilling and countersinking holes in JSF inlet ducts. We propose a team to develop all elements of a complete RDS: Robot/Robotic Application; Drill End-Effector (DEE); Metrology System; Cutting Tools; and an Automatic Tool Changer. This proposal focuses on the DEE. We propose to develop a Vacuum Nose-Lock/DEE (VNL/DEE). Robots can accurately position drills, but robots lack rigidity required during drilling, so hole quality can be poor. Positive clamp-up forces can be used to increase structural rigidity. However, maximum allowable forces on ducts limit positive clamp-up forces and, therefore, rigidity and hole quality. Our VNL/DEE provides negative clamp-up forces that subtract from drilling forces to produce: small (or even NET-ZERO) forces on ducts; rigid structures; and precise holes. Our VNL/DEE has compact dimensions to access a high percentage of holes in JSF inlet ducts. In Phase I, we will demonstrate our VNL/DEE. In Phase II, we will: implement needed improvements; and fully develop our VNL/DEE and RDS for initial pilot production capability. In Phase III, our team will integrate our RDS for lab and full-scale milestones and production floor cell integration.

Principal Investigator:

Douglas S. Beck

Business Contact:

Douglas S. Beck
Small Business Information at Submission:

3319 21st Ave NW Gig Harbor, WA 98367

EIN/Tax ID: 743039093
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No