CNC machines and CMM inspection combine

Posted on 21 Oct 2017 and read 777 times
CNC machines and CMM inspection combineRayleigh-based AP Hollings has been making vacuum-formed products and fibreglass mouldings for over 60 years. The company focuses on delivering the highest-quality products and tooling at the lowest prices, providing a ‘one-
stop shop’ from prototype through to production.

In 2006, the third generation of the Hollings family established APH 3G, a sister company dedicated to investing in new technology (and housed alongside the main facility), with CNC machines and CMM inspection in-house.

Working mainly for the automotive and aerospace industries (and the Ministry of Defence), APH 3G concentrates on niche markets and specialises in batches of 1-50. From design to manufacture to final inspection, it can advise on any aspect of tooling design.

When a customer of APH was chosen to build a transport system for London’s Heathrow Airport, using computer-driven vehicles known as ‘pods’ to transport up to four passengers plus their luggage and shopping, APH was asked to design the tooling to vacuum-form all the interior and exterior plastic parts, and to undertake the completion of all the panel and door sub-assemblies.

The plastic chosen was acrylic-capped ABS, which combines robustness and UV stability with formability. APH invested in the first of its three large-framed Haas vertical machining centres ( in 2012; it chose a VF-9.

This was followed the next year by a VF-6 and, more recently, by another VF-9. Company director Andy Hollings says: “They are great robust machines, and the added capacity has given us a wealth of new opportunities. We don’t say no
to many projects now.”

In fact, APH’s repertoire ranges from bumpers for Range Rovers to long-range camera housings for oil rigs (used to detect pirates).

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