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Development of smart drilling spindle systems

This challenging and complex project is a partnership between GSI Group Limited (Westwind Air Bearings Division) and Brunel University to deliver a smart solution for the PCB drilling industry to take PCB drilling performance and cost to new levels. The project will focus on developing a smart tool holding device and smart spindle system for PCB drilling operations aiming at next generation production systems. The distinctive objectives of the project will be achieved through the following three stages as planned:

Stage1 – Tool Holding Device and System
The objective of stage 1 is to deliver the design for a smart tool holder which Westwind can manufacture and sell as a product with reduce complexity (space, mass, need for sub-systems). This will require investigating the ideal specification for tool holder design/operation and to test prototypes at high rotational speeds. The tool holder design will have the potential for sensor embedment to give customers in-situ feedback for subsequent smart drilling processes.

Stage 2 – Smart Spindle System
The objective of stage 2 is to understand force feedback characteristics and the design of a sensor system (around the spindle) leading to reliable torsional, radial and axial force measurements. This understanding will lead to the ability to design and manufacture sensor systems for PCB air-bearing spindles.

Stage 2 further comprises the objective of critically evaluating the operation of the sensing system using simulation models to determine/optimise spindle design against specification (quality of measurement during service).

Stage 3 – Smart Drilling
The objective of Stage 3 is to develop early adoption of the smart drilling product by optimising the smart drilling characteristics for PCB drilling. This will be achieved by (i) initiating internal demonstration trials and (ii) beta testing with customer specified PCB drilling applications.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Kai Cheng
Professor Kai Cheng - EDUCATION AND DEGREES BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, 1st Class, Harbin Institute of Technology, July 1983. MSc in Manufacturing Engineering, 1st Class (Distinction), Harbin Institute of Technology, July 1988. PhD in Precision Manufacturing, Liverpool John Moores University, January 1994. WORKING EXPERIENCES 01/1994 – 09/1995, Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University. 10/1995 – 11/1999, Lecturer, Department of Engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University. 12/1999 – 04/2001, Reader, School of Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University. 05/2001 – 04/2006, Professor, School of Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University. 05/2006 – present, Chair Professor, Head of Advanced Manufacturing & Enterprise Engineering (AMEE) Department, School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University London.

Related Research Group(s)

Electro-discharge machining

Non-traditional Manufacturing Technologies - Development, application, and implementation of non-traditional manufacturing technologies: electro-discharge machining, electrochemical machining, laser technologies, vibration machining of brittle materials, abrasive flow machining, electroforming, diamond machining, ultrasonic machining and many more.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 30/07/2021