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The first Haas machine, an SL-30 was excellent..

The first Haas machine, an SL-30 was excellent..

Added to MTDCNC by HAAS Automation on 03 September 2015

Hemel Hempstead based Subcon Drilling’s entire experience and energy is focused on gundrilling, deep hole drilling, honing, CNC machining and super-finishing. 

The company manufactures from own design, specific drawings and specifications or OEM samples depending on the customer’s requirements, and if requested, provides complete drawings and stress analysis calculations. 

Subcon Drilling is equally at home working with a variety of materials from basic mild steels to the more exotics such as Monel, Inconel, Hastelloy and titanium. They cater for one-offs, large batch production and rapid prototyping and can supply a stocking service to some of their customers enabling them to reduce their own stock levels, and call off items as and when required in line with KanBan, consignment and JIT philosophies.

They are perhaps best known within the high-end motorsport and Formula One communities for their expertise in producing gundrilled components for suspension and transmission units.  Gundrilling is a process that produces deep, straight holes in a variety of materials. A gundrill tool differs from a conventional twist drill by its unique head geometry; a standard gundrill has dual effective cutting edges. Guide pads burnish the hole while drilling, allowing the hole to maintain straightness. The result of this burnishing activity is a very round hole with a precision diameter. Using this technique, Subcon Drilling has the capacity to drill accurate holes to 5 metres.

'We’d been in business for around 7 years and became very successful with the gundrilling aspect of our business,' explains Dean Edwards. 'Our customers would supply us with billets, we’d drill them and then they’d be sent away for final machine finishing. However, one of our biggest customers began encouraging us to invest in CNC machines, so we could do the finishing ourselves. 

'They were very happy with the work we were doing producing transmission components for F1 cars and thought we’d be more than capable of seeing a job from start to finish, without involving a third party.'

'After doing a lot of research we decided to invest in a Haas lathe,' says Scott Edwards. 'That first machine, an SL-30 was excellent, so good in fact, that over the years we’ve continued buying Haas lathes and now have 5 running in our workshop.

'Our original lathe is still running as accurately as it ever did. We’ve spent a small fortune on CMM equipment in a temperature controlled room, so we know the accuracy and repeatability is outstanding. Our most recent installations have been ST-25 and ST-30 lathes, it’s made us appreciate how each generation of Haas lathe has improved.

'The automatic tool presetter is vastly supierior to the manual version and the swarf conveyor is so much better than the auger. Also, the combination of chuck height, internal lighting and larger door allows much easier access and a more user friendly working space.

The  Haas ST-25 is a big-bore lathe in a very compact footprint with a generous 381 x 533 mm maximum capacity, a 3.0' bore, and 527 mm swing over the cross slide. The spindle turns up to 3,400 rpm, and the 30 hp vector drive system provides 300 ft-lb of cutting torque. A 10' hydraulic chucking system and 12-station turret are standard.

'We use Delcam’s FeatureCAM to generate our G-code, which is then sent via bluetooth to the Haas machines. Any adjustments are made directly at the control.' 

Dean Edwards adds, 'The Haas lathes have opened fresh markets for us. We’re now getting more work from the aerospace, medical and power industries. We’ve just won a lucrative contract producing studs for steam turbines used in power stations.

'We currently employ 19 people, but will soon be expanding into the biiger premises. This means we’ll need more staff and, of course, more machines. We know exactly where we’ll be heading to place our next machine orders. 

'It doesn’t get any better than F1 and we’ve never struggled to make great parts.

'The service we’ve had from Haas has been outstanding and they can’t be beaten on price. Why would we spend 4 or 5 times the amount when we know the Haas machines do the job easily.'


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