Loughborough University
Thesis-2018-Bamber.pdf (81.91 MB)

Towards Climbing Advanced Drilling RoBOT (CADBOT)

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posted on 2023-12-12, 14:16 authored by Thomas Bamber

This thesis outlines the PhD to develop a next generation crawler robot for advanced robotic drilling. The robot to be designed has been named Climbing Advanced Drilling RoBOT (CADBOT). Within the report is an outline of the current manufacturing processes at Broughton, both the manual operations and automation in use. From this information a project scope has been defined which details the current research areas and gaps in the knowledge.

A detailed literature review of the areas of interest and the current state of the art has been carried out. The conclusions from this are that the Electroadhesive adhesion mechanism is the most promising approach. Wireless has been chosen as the data link as it is the only link that can support the bandwidth needed for video and camera data. Ultrasonically Assisted Drilling is assumed for this project as it has been shown to give a reduction in push of force and a reduction of torque force to almost zero.

From the literature review a product design specification has been generated, and a number of initial design ideas developed. Further information from Airbus regarding the wing specification, fastener sizes and locations are required to develop the ideas. The climbing crawler robot has been designed to use the Electroadhesive technique for adhesion, which will be tested for adhesive force and components will be produced. The robot uses the general systems architecture that was developed during the ground vehicle investigation and the robot has been designed to contain this hardware. Ultrasonic drilling has been assumed and the robot designed to integrate a drilling attachment. An external positioning system gives a global reference, though a more accurate on-board positioning system will need to be further developed as the current lightweight systems are not suitable. Further work will be building a full demonstration of the robot, a testing methodology, and validating the drilling process using the Airbus process in the Airbus hole standards document.


EPSRC. Airbus.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Loughborough University

Rights holder

© Thomas Bamber

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Laura Justham ; Mike Jackson

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

This submission includes a signed certificate in addition to the thesis file(s)

  • I have submitted a signed certificate