In over 60 years of operations, Harrop Engineering has gained a strong reputation supplying the automotive sector and motorsports teams worldwide, and it continues to build for the future by investing in technology.

Founded by Len Harrop in the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick in 1955, Harrop Engineering began life as a small family business providing general engineering services for the textile and trucking/haulage industries. As the business grew, Len and Elsa Harrop’s son, Ron, joined after completing his boilermaker apprenticeship. Ron had a strong interest in modifying cars and in motorsport, so with Len’s technical knowledge and Ron’s motorsport passion Harrop Engineering grew into a world-class automotive engineering and performance parts manufacturer.

The local growth of automotive engineering and motorsport fuelled demand for Harrop’s products and services, and the company enjoyed sustained success with a diverse array of domestic and global customers, from both the world of motorsports, such as V8 Supercars and NASCAR, and automotive OEMs including GM Performance, TRD, Ford and Lotus Cars UK. As its capabilities widened and demand for its work grew, Harrop moved in 2000 to its current purpose-built facility in Preston, Victoria. Further expansion followed, with the addition in 2005 of the Harrop Casting Technologies foundry helping to reinforce the company’s ability to meet demand for its growing portfolio of quality, high-performance products.

In 2008 the Harrop family sold the company to Adrad, a family-owned business based in Adelaide, who recognised the value it would bring to their diverse group of companies based throughout Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Today, General Manager Heath Moore and Operations Manager Tim Harrop (Len & Elsa’s grandson) oversee a young and dynamic management team that together are driving Harrop into the future.

The business now operates across several market segments, producing an array of products, intricate components and engineering solutions for both the automotive and industrial sectors. Key products within the automotive performance range include supercharging and induction systems, and braking, driveline and cooling products. A key challenge for contemporary manufacturing companies with a diverse portfolio such as Harrop is the ability to remain dynamic and agile. This is a cornerstone for Harrop as it plans for the future, and is fundamental to the company’s sustainability and growth. To ensure prolonged success, Harrop has developed key partnerships with industry experts such as John Hart and Iscar.

Staying agile

John Hart has been a key contributor to Harrop’s renowned manufacturing capabilities and growth, providing state-of-the-art machining equipment such as the recently commissioned Mazak Integrex J-200S multi-tasking twin-spindle CNC machine. This acquisition complements more than 25 other machines to provide the flexibility and agility that Harrop maintains to meet customer needs.

Moore explains: “Our ability to swiftly switch between differential products, to a crankshaft, and then military or aerospace components, is critical to our operations value proposition for customers who also have diverse needs.”

Remaining agile transcends machining equipment for the business and also includes product development, as Harrop’s alertness to opportunities within the automotive industry remains high. Being at the forefront of technology advancements within the global aftermarket sphere has led to Harrop’s development of a supercharger kit for the Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ and  Scion FRS – with big announcements to come in 2016.

Like John Hart and Mazak, Iscar has been a partner of Harrop for well over a decade, providing world-class cutting technology and collaboration to ensure optimum efficiency and to unlock the untapped potential of the company’s machining equipment. All Harrop products are manufactured to stringent tolerances and undergo vigorous testing – a key factor in achieving such precision is Iscar cutting tool and technology. Working with a comprehensive range of materials has various challenges and cutting requirements. Iscar works collectively with Harrop production engineers to come up with innovative technology and solutions to suit their manufacturing needs, providing tooling to shape cast iron, billet, titanium and even plastics in the most efficient machining cycle.

Tim Harrop explains: “We enjoy working with the best suppliers to achieve excellent results for our customers by staying ahead of what is now very much global competition.”

Ensuring longevity

The vertical integration provided by the foundry, coupled with Harrop’s engineering design capabilities is the foundation for the company’s longevity. Harrop is solutions-focused, whether in terms of its own proprietary performance products, or customer programs ranging from rail to defence. As Moore explains: “We are proud of our customer programs that include engine component supply to Kenworth trucks as original equipment, and braking and driveline components for Advance Braking Technology Limited.”

Offering an all-inclusive solution, Harrop’s industrial core competencies today include 3D CAD modelling and analysis, tooling design and production, prototyping, CNC machining, aluminium casting, assembly and quality assurance systems. Far from resting on its rich history, Harrop continues to seek to build on 60 years of success in the precision and automotive engineering industries.