MH Development Engineering specialises in the engineering of high-quality bespoke systems and products. Established in 2014 to provide design and R&D services into the motorsport industry, founder Matt Hill began by focusing his attention on the Formula One sector. Today, MHDE offers design and manufacturing support to a range of industries including Automotive, Marine and Military.
The company began with the intention of outsourcing all manufacturing. However, the challenge of managing parts on a tight deadline, combined with the requirement for high complexity soon became a huge problem and Matt realised he had to take control. He needed to invest in his own manufacturing equipment.
Matt explains, “When we first decided to invest in CNC we approached a few machine tool suppliers for advice. Surprisingly, we weren’t met by too much enthusiasm, given that we were looking for our first machine. Haas, however, were more than happy to discuss with us the range of machines available and try to help recommend a machine that would be suitable for us, based on the type of work we were expecting to do.
“We were already a supplier to Haas F1 Team in Banbury for R&D services, so it was simple for us to pop in to their CNC machine showroom for a demo. We were very glad we did.”
MDHE’s first investment was a VF-2SS Super Speed vertical machining centre equipped with a 5-axis trunnion. This was closely followed by an ST-25 turning centre. Most recently, impressed by the performance of the VF-2SS with its 12,000 rpm spindle and fast rapids, Matt purchased a DM-2 Drill Mill Centre equipped with a 15,000 rpm spindle, increased rapids to 61 m/min, a lightning fast tool-changer and adding through spindle coolant for optimum productivity.
“Haas’ knowledge and guidance has been invaluable,” says Matt. “Additionally, with our first mill they gave us a tooling voucher for MA Ford, who we still use today. They have also supplied three Kurt vices which are very versatile. We use these for any long length work and also for second-ops in soft jaws. We’ve also purchased 5th Axis gripper jaws so we can hold workpieces on less material. We also have two Lang vices, one for our 5-axis work and the other for some of the first-op work on the bed. We have a Samchully scroll chuck also that we can drop in and out of the machine.”
In the last two years the company has grown significantly in the services it offers and the types of industries they service. In October 2016 MHDE moved to a larger facility in Wroxton, Oxfordshire, and are currently in the process of looking to expand even further, to accommodate the demands of their success.
Predominantly a subcontractor, the team of four also design and manufacture their own products, offering a complete design development solution. Matt explains, “We work for numerous F1 teams, as well as Formula E and Formula 3. A particular specialist area of ours is servo-hydraulic systems to enable R&D of systems and components.
“All of our work is programmed offline in a CAM package. We use OneCNC, purchased from Haas with our first machine and we now use Autodesk Fusion360 for all of our programming, both milling and turning.
We use the WIPS wireless probing system on the milling machines and we can program a probing cycle within the CAM package which keeps things very efficient when working at prototype volumes. We also combine some 3D printing techniques with the machining processes, printing second-op tooling or measurement fixtures to help with components that are difficult to hold or align.
Matt enthuses, “We have received onsite training from Haas with each machine we’ve bought. The training has been excellent and really gives a good step to getting started with the machines. We’ve continued to purchase Haas machines as the service and support has been excellent. The guys on the road really know the machines inside out, and are able to help us either over the phone or in person when we need it.
“The machines are easy to use and do exactly what we need. I would recommend Haas to anyone looking to buy a capable machine, or even looking for some advice on the direction to go when looking for a manufacturing solution.”