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Boeing 787 Circumferential Drilling Machine

Everett, WA

Also for Boeing, AIT served as the prime complete project integrator for the full circumferential and automated drilling machines – a newly developed technology created to join the advanced composite structures.

Circumferential Drilling Machine and Stands

  • Delivered four circumferential join external-access stands and eight portable automated drilling systems to drill/join forward and aft fuselage sections
    • Two drilling systems in each stand concurrently drilled both forward and aft sections.
    • Four drill heads operated independently and simultaneously at each circumferential splice.



  • Drill and countersink in one pass
  • Use vision system for location and correction
  • Allow 100% access to plane with stands



  • Compact design creates a portable system
  • Onboard control via inherently intuitive user interface
  • Automation speeds drilling process


Process Highlights
After each section was precisely located, the circumferential join access stands were moved into place, and the automated drilling process began. The circumferential drilling machines drove around tracks while vacuumed fastened to the airplane skin. Operators monitored the process; however, once programmed, the drilling systems completed the drilling operation on their own.

2805 E. Plano Pkwy, Suite 300 | Plano, TX 75074  | (972) 423-8354