Military Technology 3/2019

64 · MT 3/2019 3-2-1 Interview Richard Glazebrook, Chief Executive of Tyron Runflat Ltd answers MT’s 3-2-1 questions. Confederate General Nathaniel Bedford Forrest once allegedly opined that the route to victory was, “to get there the fastest with the mostest,” although what he ac- tually said was almost certainly, “to get there first with the most men.” In 21st century warfare, that translates to rapid, rugged and reliable transport for soldiers: that means wheeled vehicles – and what happens when one or more of those wheels is compromised by shot, shell or mine? Richard Glazebrook, Chief Executive of Tyron Runflat Limited, believes the answer to that question is ‘nothing major’ – provided your vehicle has his runflat systems fitted. One of only two companies offering rubber (rather than plastic) runflats, Tyron is carving a niche for itself in a difficult market, providing deep customer satisfaction and addressing challenges in an in- telligent, resourceful and innovative manner while growing apace. MT: What are your three most important products or services? R. Glazebrook: The Multiband, originally developed for the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC1 [MB1] 1 (now the Police Service of Northern Ireland) is the volume product. Aimed at enabling Land Rovers to get to a place of safety in the event of a puncture, or after attack in a riot situation, the Multiband works by filling the ‘well’ in the wheel (which is required to fit and remove the tyre). It creates a platform for the beads of the tyre to run on, preventing the tyre from lifting or becoming unstable and also locking the tyre to the wheel, which reduces collateral damage and improves di- rectional control. Our Multiband is in service across the globe and in some countries has become a mandatory fit for ‘blue light’ vehicles and buses. The Tyron All Terrain Rubber (ATR) runflat is a patented device, in service with several armies. In simple terms it creates a platform for the tyre to run on and incorporates a beadlock so that in the event of an emergency, the vehicle can continue its mission or return to base, without the tyre slipping on the wheel. The vehicle therefore still has traction. We have tested these against the internationally recognised Finabel standards and proven that our runflats are capable of running at 50km/h for over 100 kilometres. The ATR is a multipart rubber runflat, which means no heavy compres- sors are needed to fit the runflat inside the tyre or take it off when you need to change the tyre. This can be achieved at roadside, using only standard tyre fitter’s equipment. Rubber is inherently malleable and enables ‘over manufacture’ of the beadlock to overcome tyre and wheel manufacturing tolerances. It also allows for differ- ent makes of tyres, where bead tolerances can exceed 20mm. During installation, rubber guarantees the tyre beads are firmly secured against the wheel flanges, en- suring beadlock. Rubber also absorbs shocks caused by kerb strikes, pot holes and a generally hostile environment. It drasti- cally reduces the vibration and stresses transmitted to the wheels, axles and drive shafts, allowing vehicle han- dling and driver/passenger comfort to be maintained, even after a catastrophic event. A third product area is our complete wheel assem- blies – all you need in one package, consisting of a Tyron ATR fitted to a two- or three-part wheel with a custom- er-specified tyre. A two-part bolt-together wheel with a Tyron ATR does not require any special equipment to change the tyre – just a ratchet and socket. It can be done anywhere the vehicle can park. A three-piece wheel consists of the two main parts plus a locking ring. The US has gone to a two-part bolt-together solution due to the possible danger of the locking ring coming off during installation. In other parts of the world, the cheaper three-part wheel remains popular. MT: What are the two main challenges you face and how do you overcome them? R. Glazebrook: The first is education – spreading the word about multi-part runflats. They are not a new thing but, once fitted, tend to be for- gotten until the tyre needs replacing. Only then do those who have fit- ted our multi-part runflats realise the significant advantages: roadside replacement without special tools or compressors being required; better dampening of shock and mechanical stresses on both vehicle and crew due to rubber’s inherent qualities. Our challenge is to raise awareness of the benefits with primes and ‘sophisticated’ end users, who are often re- luctant to investigate new tyre and wheel technology. Our solution centres on a coherent marketing communications and media relations programme that includes significant international exhibitions. The second challenge is coping with international growth. We have re- cently significantly extended our manufacturing capacity by opening a new 43,000sqft production line in Thailand, in addition to our UK facility. Proximity to raw materials and competitive tooling and production costs give us the capacity to cope with growth. MT: What is the single biggest change coming in your market? R. Glazebrook: As armoured vehicles – especially 8x8 wheeled vehicles – become more sophisticated and more technically advanced, so their weight increases: the original PIRANHA weighed 15t – the current ver- sion over 30. This puts significant stress on the axles and drive lines. One partial remedy is to reduce the unsprung weight, i.e. the wheel and tyre assembly. We recently introduced a carbon-fibre runflat that reduc- es unsprung weight on an 8x8 using 1400R20 tyres by over 240 kilos. The carbon replaces the steel and much of the rubber of a standard ATR, leaving sufficient rubber to ensure beadlock, avoid excessive vibration and assure comfort. We are also looking at a carbon wheel with at least similar and probably greater strength than metal and offering significant weight reduction. MT: Thank you. Companies like Tyron occupy the hinterland of our defence procurement landscape. They are no less crucial to assuring a coherent defence than their larger brethren and, more importantly, no less innovative in the man- ner in which they seek to provide efficient, apposite and cost-effective solutions. Tyron Runflat Realising Significant Advantages 1 In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II awarded the George Cross (GC – the civilian equi- valent of the Victoria Cross) to the RUC in recognition of the “terrible price” of 302 dead the service paid during the troubles in Northern Ireland. It is only the second time the award has been made collectively rather than individually, the other recipient being the island of Malta, GC, for its heroic defence in World War Two. Tyron’s wheel products include Multibands, All Terrain Rubber runflats and complete wheel assemblies. (All Photos: Tyron Runflat)