JJ Churchill investment for six-fold increase in tooling

The factory has a range of state-of-the-art and traditional equipment to design and produce complex fixtures


Fixtures are a key bottle-neck in the production of many aerospace components. Unlike most other companies in the sector, JJ Churchill has invested heavily in this capability in order to have more control and guarantee quality in this highly technically demanding field.

Expert designers and machinists produce fixtures to an accuracy of 20µm, that’s one fifth the thickness of a standard sheet of paper. This accuracy is needed to ensure the subsequent precision manufacture of specialist engineered components.

The facility has a range of equipment, which was recently enhanced with a 3D printer, enabling the division to slash prototype designs and production from weeks to hours. Other capabilities include CNC mills, lathes and EDM wire erosion. As well as milling and turning, the division also puts each jig through a CMM to control quality, with automated part marking.

This initiative has freed up a lot of space which is now being devoted to the production of aerospace components, including the £70million contract with Rolls-Royce announced at last year’s Farnborough Airshow.

JJ Churchill’s design engineer, Matthew Smith said: “The most technically challenging problems in machining can be found in the design and production of fixtures for complex aerospace parts. And that’s what we do at JJ Churchill – we focus on ‘sticky niches’, problems where the first reaction is ‘that can’t be done’. But we do it day in day out, producing fixtures that enable the company to hit our manufacturing schedules. We are continuously ramping up to meet the needs of our growing business.”

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