Flex Track

Drilling accurate holes is important in all arenas of manufacturing and assembly. Current lean operations demand a new approach to cutting costs and staying flexible, while staying proficient at demanding jobs. Lightweight portable automated drilling machines are now finding themselves competing with large machine tools drilling complex structures.

It is feasible to eliminate the need for a large 5-axis drilling system by replacing it with a portable 3-axis drilling machine. Often airframes and wings consist of large gentle curvatures that locally are considered flat. The Flex Track was developed to achieve a goal of eliminating the need for the 5-axis capabilities of a traditional drilling machine, as well as eliminating the need for supporting tooling.

Flex Track uses a flexible primary axis coupled to the airframe by multiple vacuum cups. This support eliminates the need for a secondary machine tool frame dedicated to supporting the Flex Track. The flexibility of this axis also allows for the discrete elimination of an axis of rotation by allowing the machine to follow the contour of the structure. Likewise a small span secondary axis reduces the need for another angular correction axis. Using the above as the base line and adding traditional CNC controls an automated lightweight portable 3-axis machine can perform as a 5-axis machine.

Simplifying drilling by treating large structures as locally flat and directly coupling a machine to the surface allows for small machines to compete in a market dominated by large five axis drilling machines. The result with Flex Track is a production machine tool with unlimited applications.

Electroimpact's Multi-function Flex Track drills and and installs Temporary Blind Centrix Fasteners in a CFRP stackup


Wide Flex Track

  • Travel in Y:
    • Wide carriage up to 18"
    • Extra wide carriage 18"-40"
  • Potential for endless travel in X
  • Standard four Axis
  • Rotational A axis for correction
  • Fuselage laps, fuselage body panels, wing splices

Offset Flex Track

  • 4"-6" of offset drilling
  • High-torque Offset
    • Capacity up to 5/8"
    • Weight: 125lbs
  • Lightweight Offset
    • capacity up to 3/8"
    • Weight: 95lbs
  • Panel edges, door surrounds, lap joins

Multi-Function Flex Track

  • Drills large holes up to 5/8"
  • Finds Datum features
  • Checks hole diameter and countersink depth
  • Installs temporary fasteners

Features

  • Multi-axis positioning with 3-6 axis varieties
  • Hole drilling to 5/8” diameter
  • Composite/Titanium stack drilling capability
  • Normality sensor system with +/- 0.03 degree accuracy
  • Flood coolant with 99% coolant recovery
  • Integrated chip management system
  • Track weight: 30 lbs per 72” section
  • Fanuc pendant control
  • Fanuc Picture Graphical user interface
  • Vision systems for locating Datum features
  • Catia V5 Offline programming with flat pattern generation
  • Multiple position operation including vertical surfaces and upside-down on horizontal surfaces
  • CE marking
  • Offset fixed vision systems, on axis removable vision systems, laser alignment sensors, and wireless touch probing
  • Load Cell for clamp and drill thrust monitoring
  • Balluff RFID for tool management
  • Hole Probing - hole diameter and countersink depth
  • Fastener Installation
  • Broken bit detection