September 30, 2004
Dr. Hsun Chen, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at California State University, Long Beach, has received a $91,219 award from the Boeing Company for a project titled "Drilling Improvement and Process Development Using Next Generation High Performance Tools for the C-17 Production."
The purpose of the project is to understand the hole-drilling process for assembling Boeing C-17 cargo planes and to develop analytical tools to study how burrs (rough edges) and chips form while performing this task.
Results from Dr. Chen's research will lead to the design of burrless drilling technology and applications, which would eliminate the process of disassembly, cleaning, deburring and reassembly that now takes place during drilling operations, costing the aerospace industry approximately 20 percent of total manufacturing expenses.
Through the use of computer simulation analysis and finite element modeling, Dr. Chen plans to concentrate her research on materials (such as titanium) behavior under various stress loads, clamping methods used during drilling to hold airframes rigid, and the development of a tool for gap analysis.
Further benefits to the industry include streamlined and standardized drilling methods for similar applications, standardized drill hardware and reduced tooling inventory, reduced cycle time in transition from process design to production, and improved drilling processes with the development of new approaches.
"I am very pleased with this funding from Boeing," Dr. Chen said. "It will allow our students to go beyond the classroom to hands-on development of technology critical to the aerospace industry."