Aerospace specialist relies on Haas

Frank Brown and Son is a Luton-based engineering company specialising in the design and manufacture of ground-support equipment for the aerospace and aircraft industry throughout the world.

The company bought its first Haas machine in 1996: the VF-2D vertical machining centre ran every day until two years ago, when the team decided to part-exchange it for a new Haas VF-2SS Super Speed.
“We certainly got our money’s worth from that original machine,” says machine shop supervisor, Andy Knight. “It was running well until its last day; it was always accurate, we just upgraded to something a bit quicker in the end.
“The machine shop has doubled in the past 20 years and, with 20 Haas machines [six lathes and 14 mills], the majority of our CNC machinery is still supplied by Haas,” he adds. “Our workload has changed dramatically in recent years. Not so long ago we were making stock packs of 10 a year, but now its 40 plus. And everything that needs machining goes on a Haas.”
The latest investment is a VF-4SS with through-spindle coolant and five-axis trunnion. “The five-axis machines are doing some really nice work,” says Knight. “They have cut our operations from six to two, which is a massive reduction. We’re producing a lot of Boeing 737 and Airbus tooling, and it’s really made a difference. It’s knocking the stuffing out of the cycle times, cutting them by a third at least.” In fact, the company has purchased four Haas Super Speed mills in the past four years. “The rapids, tool-change speed and 12,000 rpm spindle are phenomenal on the new machines,” concludes Knight.
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