Oxyma Conceptualizes Drilling Technology for Aircraft Manufacturers around the Globe


Orbital drilling company Novator wanted to develop a cost-efficient, reliable drilling system that offered high levels of precision. Oxyma was hired to create both the concept and mechanical design for the system, with aircraft manufacturers all over the world as the intended buyers.


Oxyma Conceptualizes Drilling Technology for Aircraft Manufacturers around the Globe

It has long been expensive for these manufacturers to drill through difficult materials such as composites, aluminum, and stainless steel. This presented a great business opportunity for Novator if they could only develop a drilling system that could drill better holes faster and for less than traditional techniques could. This was the challenge that Novator presented to Oxyma.

“We chose Oxyma because we previously enjoyed a long collaboration with them involving similar products, and because Oxyma has a good knowledge of concept development and mechanical design, in particular. They have been involved in producing several different versions of our products and have always been fast and contributed many good ideas. They have also conducted product testing and trial drilling,” says Niklas Bredberg, R&D Project Manager at Novator.

The aeronautical industry needs to be able to drill holes with great precision. The predecessor to this drilling system had a relatively simple control system. The new machine was designed for enhanced usability and was therefore made fully programmable, leading to better accuracy, in particular, but also to shorter cycle times.

“This machine was developed because Novator’s previous machine did not meet customer-specific requirements. More than anything else, spatial considerations guided the changes. As part of the modifications, the PLC control was moved from the control cabinet to the drilling unit itself, making things much easier for the operator. This change imposed heavy demands with regard to the effective integration of mechanics, electronics, and pneumatics in a very small area,” Bredberg explains.

Advanced Drilling Technology and Attractive Design on a Tight Schedule

The drilling system was developed according to a broad-ranging and advanced requirements specification, which necessitated great accuracy in the design details. The machine was tested continuously through studies, tests, and prototypes to ensure a light weight, good ergonomics, high impact resistance, and good reliability.

“Oxyma’s main role was to develop a concept that satisfied the customer’s requirements. Time pressure led us to use an existing product as a base. What’s more, our collaboration with an industrial designer succeeded in making the product more attractive to the eye, too,” Bredberg adds.

The project took eight months to progress from the initial sketch to a functioning prototype, and a further six months until a finished product was achieved. The new machine drills holes with the right tolerances on time and at a low cost. Not yet satisfied, the project team is still working hard to lower the cost per hole even further. The market is showing great interest in the system and the lot size has been just over one hundred in the initial years.

“This machine is another in the line of finished products that Novator has produced together with Oxyma, and which are now being delivered to our customers. We would definitely consider working with Oxyma again,” Bredberg concludes.