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New Milton: RHH Franks celebrates 60 years of engineering excellence

By Jo Whittle
25 January 2021
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Hampshire manufacturing firm RHH Franks is celebrating its 60th trading year, and has relaunched with an impressive new brand and long-term strategy of continual improvement.

Based in New Milton, the business has been delivering exceptional manufacturing services to the global aerospace, defence, nuclear and marine industries for over half a century.

In line with its commitment to the highest levels of quality, on-time-delivery and manufacturing technology, managing director Elsa Hogan has introduced plans to revolutionise the business that requires a brand that will reflect its values and objectives in the 21st century.

Elsa-Hogan

Elsa Hogan

She said: “As we enter our 60th year, it was important to build on our long-standing history of success and sustainable growth by revolutionising our strategy with reignited ambition. This rebrand marks a significant turning point for the business, which is now focussed on reinvesting in our people, software, machinery and facilities, along with improving efficiency to meet the increasing demands of the supply chains we serve.

“RHH Franks strives to be at the forefront of manufacturing innovation, constantly improving our processes and capabilities with the aim of passing the benefits onto our customers. It was therefore fitting to take the opportunity this year to announce our revised strategy and unveil a new look that our employees can be proud to work for and our clients can be proud to work with.”

The schedule of improvement at RHH Franks began two years ago and has already involved an extensive factory expansion, significant investment in new machinery, state-of-the-art CAD software and an Enterprise Resource Planning system.

The business has also enrolled in the Fit for Nuclear programme and is working towards achieving SC21 silver supply chain certification after achieving a bronze award in September 2019 and again in November 2020.

Part of RHH Franks’ vision for the future is to inspire the next generation of engineers too. In 2018 it launched its apprenticeship scheme and regularly welcomes local students for work experience, aware that combining decades of experience in an environment where fresh perspectives are welcomed will encourage as many people as possible into the exciting and rewarding world of engineering.

Founded in 1961 by Ronald Henry Herman Franks and Basil James, RHH Franks was first tasked with manufacturing parts for the BAC111 short-haul jet airlines being constructed at Bournemouth Airport.

RHH-FranksSince then, the firm has grown from a modest sheet metal workshop to a sizeable end-to-end subcontract manufacturer providing a complete range of services from CNC milling and turning to fabrication and Nadcap-accredited welding, chemical processing, heat treatment and dip and torch brazing.

Over the decades, it has delivered parts, components and assemblies for some of the world’s most advanced aircraft of the time, including the Twin Store Carrier for the Tornado GR4, Concorde, Augusta Westland 159, Hawk, Eurofighter Typhoon and Apache AH64.

Clients include Leonardo Helicopters, Eton Aerospace, Cobham, SEA and QinetiQ. Honeywell is one of its longest-standing clients, having worked with RHH Franks since 1967.

Michal Pis, commodity manager for Honeywell Aerospace, said: “Our relationship with RHH Franks dates back to when we were trading as Normalair Garrett more than 50 years ago. During this time, RHH Franks has worked closely with us to manufacture components for some of the most impressive new, existing and legacy aircraft, supplying tens of thousands of parts.

“The fact they remain a manufacturing partner today is testament to their ongoing commitment to quality, high service levels and on-time delivery. Their engineering excellence aligns perfectly with our unmatched heritage of innovative aerospace design."

Today, RHH Franks operates from its recently expanded 30,000 sq ft premises on the Gore Road Industrial Estate, New Milton, and its team of over 40 skilled engineers manufacture more than 13,000 components each year for a variety of sectors.

Hogan, managing director, added: “We are thrilled to be celebrating 60 years in business. Not only is this a great achievement on its own, but to be marking it with some of our very first clients and employees who have descended from former employees is quite something.

“Looking forward, we will be following up on the rebrand by continuing to improve our internal processes to increase efficiency, focus on quality and helping more of our customers understand how they can improve their supply chain with our end-to-end support.”