The A380 Stage 1 HAWDE (Horizontal Automated Wing Drilling Equipment) is a portable CNC Drilling machine that is designed to operate within the context of the A380 Stage 1 Jig Assembly. Among its unique features is its ability to be elevated up and down the Jig Assembly to run on a different set of tracks at each level. One of its most impressive features, however, is the way in which it automatically dynamically adjusts its tool-point axis with incredible accuracy (+/- 150 microns) even while traveling around corners on the Jig-Track assembly.
The HAWDE machine is an enabling technology for automated drilling of large aircraft parts. HAWDE is a five axis drilling machine that operates over the upper and lower surfaces of eight wings, each more than 40 meters long and four stories tall. The machine accesses the entire A380 wing using a combination of elevators and a machine transporter that carries the machine from surface to surface. HAWDE drills holes in spars, butt splices, and rib feet in the wing box final assembly jigs for A380.