Formed in 1965, Whiteley Brooks Engineering Ltd has remained at the forefront of machine tool technology since the 1980's by investing in Hardinge/Bridgeport machine tools. This relationship has stood the test of time with the company recently purchasing three new Hardinge/Bridgeport VMC1000's from the ETG Group.
Taking its total of Hardinge/Bridgeport machines to 35, that are operated by 24 CNC machinists, Whiteley Brooks is a slick operation that works to rapid turnaround times that are a pre-requisite for working in the Formula 1 and general motorsport industries.
Providing some insight to the Coventry based company, Joe Reynolds, Operations Director at Whiteley Brooks says: 'We have been on the current site since the 1970's and we have taken on two additional units to support our growth. This has enabled us to enhance our quality control department as well as support our investment in new machine tools. Our plant list now stands at 23 CNC Hardinge/Bridgeport machining centres, 12 lathes and a Mazak 5-axis machine. This diverse line-up of machines and the capability enables us to manufacture fast turnaround parts for the F1 and diesel pump industries.'
'F1 has been an evolution down the years and this year the changes have increased pace with the introduction of the turbo-charged engines, so parts have to be stronger with more torque going through the engines. This has seen the parts become larger, heavier and also produced from different materials. To this end, we have a long record of working with Hardinge/Bridgeport and we have thrown virtually every material at the machines from titanium alloys to new stainless steels like PH7 and they have been excellent. '
In the fast paced motorsport industry, the ability to respond to customers lead times is essential and to guarantee this, support from the machine tool vendor is a critical aspect. As Mr Reynolds continues: 'We have always received a good level of service from Hardinge/Bridgeport and now that the ETG Group has taken the machines on, this high level of service and continuity has remained. I believe we bought our first Hardinge/Bridgeport machine in 1983, a decision based machine quality and service and this has remained to this very day.'
Whiteley Brooks has a number of machining centres from the market leading supplier with a 5-axis capability through a 3+2 configuration. Commenting upon the reasoning behind this, Mr Reynolds says: 'We've gone down this route for versatility purposes. The type of parts we produce are small and don't require cranes or lifting gear and because F1 is an ever changing market, we need to be able to change the programs and fixturing very quickly. So, putting the retro-fitted 5-axis tables on is a better solution for us. What this also allows us to do is put the retro-fitted 5-axis fixture on one end of the machine bed, so we can do 5-axis work and simple 3 axis work in a single set-up.'
To this end, the three new VMC1000 machines from the ETG Group have Nikken rotary tables integrated to provide full 5-axis capability and astounding levels of flexibility. Commenting upon the future growth for the Warwickshire company, Mr Reynolds continues: 'We have grown at a steady rate for some time and we will eventually fill our extended facility with new machine tools. As we move forward, we will be looking to diversify into other sectors such as the diesel pump industry and the medical sector. This will demand flexibility, which our Hardinge/Bridgeport machines provide in abundance. Furthermore, we have been delighted with the service and the quality of the machines and if we were to buy another machine, our first port of call would be the ETG Group.'