From humble beginnings . . .

Starting as two men with one machine, DPE now has 22 staff, 31 CNC machines and customers world-wide

Posted on 01 Sep 2019 and read 1067 times
From humble beginnings . . .In 1993, Kieran Doran installed his first manual lathe in a small shed at the side of his house.

His sole employee — Leo McGreevey — was turning components, while Mr Doran held down his day job, before coming home and working for the new business at night.

Keen to ‘follow in his father’s footsteps’ — and having helped out during school holidays — Mr Doran’s eldest son (Christopher) joined the company in 2005 as an apprentice, while his daughter (Ciara) became accounts manager last year.

Today, Doran Precision Engineering Ltd (DPE) — based in Newcastle, Northern Ireland — specialises in the manufacture of precision components, offering batch production work, rapid response and re-work services.

Still a family-run business, it now employs 22 people and has 31 CNC machines — and 90% of its output is for the aerospace industry.

It supplies a world-wide customer base, making interior parts for aircraft companies — such as Thompson Aero Seating and Collins Aerospace — and machining a wide range of aerospace-grade materials that include aluminium, stainless steel and plastics.

Moreover, all of its products are programmed using the latest CAM software and supplied with a full first-article inspection.

DPE was accredited to ISO:9001 in 2006, and AS9100 Rev D in 2018.

Christopher Doran, now general manager, said: “It was in 2011 that we bought our first Haas machine (

“We wanted to offer machining on a larger scale, so we looked for a machining centre with a more-substantial capacity.

“Having been to the shows and looked at all the options, the Haas VF-9 stood out; it had 1m of travel on the Y axis, and the price was particularly competitive for a machine of its size.

“We bought it and haven’t looked back since.”

Aircraft focus

With its 2,134 x 1,016 x 762mm work envelope, the VF-9 is used to machine everything from base plinths for aircraft seating to hinges for table assemblies.

Indeed, this machine was the starting point for a strong partnership between DPE and Haas, which has brought the former’s number of Haas machines to 16 in the last eight years.

DoranEngineering manager Kieran Poland said: “The Haas control is similar to a Fanuc, and because it ‘mirrored’ our older machines, we were up and running straight away.

“Moreover, we were able to use our existing programs, which made the transition very easy.

“We now have 12 Haas Super Speed mills, which offer a 12,000rev/min spindle and a high-speed 24+1 side-mounted tool changer.

“The addition of these machines has been invaluable.

“The increased spindle speed and rapid-traverse rates have reduced our cycle times by 50%, while the spindle power allows us to continually cut aluminium at full revs and the maximum depth of cut that the spindle will allow.

“We recently added three UMC-750 five-axis universal machines to our family of Haas machines, allowing us to produce both small batches and prototype work in a much shorter time.

“Using the latest Mastercam software package, together with the UMC’s 12,000rev/min spindle and 40+1 side-mounted tool changer, we soon found that cycle times could be reduced by 30%.

“These were our first five-axis machines, but they were easier to use than I’d imagined.

“We use them for five-sided machining and achieve much shorter lead times, with higher levels of accuracy and precision.

“Following on from the success of our UMC-750s, we have just installed one of Haas’s new UMC-1000s, and we anticipate further benefits from this machine’s larger working envelope.”

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