MIPS 25th Anniversary Profile: Black & Decker–design optimization of percussion drill bits

Project Manager:  Russell M. Timmons;  Principal InvestigatorM. Appa Anjanappa, UMBC
Location:  Towson, Maryland – Baltimore County;  Project Start Date:  8/15/1992

Business Description
Since 1910, Black & Decker has been setting the standard for innovation and the design of power tools, accessories, outdoor yard care equipment, home cleaning products, automotive and lighting products, hardware and other home improvement products. The inventor of the first portable electric drill with pistol grip and trigger switch, Black & Decker has evolved from a small machine shop in Baltimore, Maryland to a global manufacturing and marketing powerhouse with a broad line of quality products used for home and commercial applications. When users need to get work done, they trust Black & Decker for the products that will do the job efficiently and reliably.


Black & Decker sought to design a family of masonry drill bits with improved efficiency to conserve power in battery-powered drills.

UMBC researchers conducted a systematic, scientific study of the mechanics of concrete drilling and used the results to design an optimal drill bit that significantly improves the performance of percussion drilling. The new bit has improved energy transmission, a better material egress mechanism, and enables environmentally safe operation.

The work included developing an impact model based on 3-dimensional wave propagation, an experimental facility to validate the egress model, a combined egress and impact model, and optimal drill bit design. The project also included the fabrication of a prototype drill bit.

A new line of 29 drill bits, called Bullet Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, resulted from the project, leading to annual sales of several million dollars. The Bullet bits drill up to two times faster than competitive bits, and drill up to six times more holes per battery charge when using a cordless drill. Patents were issued to UMBC and licensed to Black & Decker.

Leading up to (and beyond) the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) 25th Anniversary Gala, each weekday we will briefly profile one (or more) of the 500+ companies that have utilized MIPS funding to bring innovations to market and create jobs in Maryland.

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