Hollingbury and the Airbus (Part 3)

The Standard 200 Series Maxetrace
From the private collection of Peter Gibney

200 Series Max-E-Trace, innovation

The standard 200 Series Max-E-Trace high-speed routing machine was already proven technology, installed and in production at many sites around the UK.  However the proposal by KTM was to manufacture a special huge 5 axis 200 Series Max-E-Trace, with two independent cutting spindles, mounted on two independent beams, which would travel along a bed with an overall length of 66 metres, as long as 3 cricket pitches!  There were distinct advantages with this solution, firstly and most importantly; it would have the capability to guarantee the high production levels required by British Aerospace.  The key to this was that two wings sections would fit onto the 66 metre long X-bed, both being cut simultaneously.  Secondly, the 5 axis would have the capability to cut the intricately complicated shaped wings originally developed by Hawker-Siddeley.  Furthermore, there were other advantages of  having one huge machine, it would take up far less floor space than two independent machines and would use a common power source.

Order won

The order was eventually placed with KTM in 1981, with an 18-month programme agreed for final design and manufacture.  British Aerospace engineers then made regular visits to Brighton from Chester to check on progress and agree any technical issues.

Comments about this page

  • I did a 5 year apprenticeship at Vickers Armstrongs Aircraft Ltd at Brooklands, Weybridge in Surrey from ’54 to 59′. We built Viscounts and the Vanguards and, just before I left to do my Nat Service in’60 huge wing milling machines were installed (“Onsrud” I think) for the wings of the new VC 10 airliner. Huge slabs of Duralumin were milled on these machines replacing spars and ribs etc used until then. These obviously worked well as, when I travelled to the US from UK it was in VC10s converted to troop carriers from Ex BOAC machines.

    By John Snelling (25/02/2020)
  • I was part of a large team that installed these machines at the Airbus factory Chester. It was a challenging job and I am very proud to have taken part in the installation of these huge machines.

    By George Frank Green (05/10/2022)
  • Great times Frank, were you working for KTM? ATB Peter.

    By Peter Groves (08/10/2022)

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