Saturday, May 30, 2020

Huddersfield sub-contract specialist targets aerospace sector with fresh investment

Meeting the precision needs of its customers has seen a Huddersfield manufacturer make a number of large investments, including the acquisition of the latest CNC machine technology.Thomas Brown Engineering, which celebrated its 35th birthday in 2018, has worked with the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) to install a new Hardinge Bridgeport XR1000 to help it capitalise on three recent contract wins for the aerospace sector.

The company will use the additional power and torque provided by the revolutionary GTW spindle to machine the toughest materials, whilst the Heidenhain TNC 640 control and Nikken 4th axis rotary table delivers increased accuracy, flexibility and repeatability.

It marks the latest stage in the company’s expansion, which has seen its turnover increase and new jobs created to boost its workforce to 20 people.

“We have always been big fans of Hardinge Bridgeport and the excellent performance the machines deliver, so it was no surprise when we updated our capabilities with the new XR1000,” explained Tom Brown, who founded the business in 1983 after serving an apprenticeship and working at a local firm.

“Aerospace is a growing market for us following our AS9100 accreditation and this helped us secure three important contracts, which required more capacity and shorter lead times.”

He continued: “We spoke to ETG about our requirements and came up with the XR1000, specifying it with a Nikken 4th axis rotary table to give us the opportunity to produce more complex components.

“It is a decision that is already paying off, with some cycle times reduced by as much as 20%. This makes a major difference to our productivity.”

The Engineering Technology Group’s extensive stockholding helped with a quick turnaround, equipping it with Heidenhain TNC 640 controls and an eco-cooling heat exchanger system to prolong the life of the spindle.

It also worked with Blum-Novotest to fit the metrology specialist’s TC50 spindle probe and ZX-Speed IR tool setting probe to achieve ‘on-machine’ workpiece inspection/evaluation and in process tool management.

John Brimblecombe, Regional Sales Manager at ETG, commented: “Thomas Brown Engineering operates at the highest tolerances and this latest investment gives it increased quality and accuracy…two attributes it needs when supplying customers in the automotive, aerospace and oil and gas sectors.

“There has been a lot of interest in Hardinge Bridgeport machines over the last twelve months and we’ve seen a number of sub-contract manufacturers update their capacity by investing in the latest technology. Adding a 4th axis rotary table is also proving popular as components are becoming increasingly more complex.”

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