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History of Twiflex Limited

Twiflex UK

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+44 (0) 20 8894 1161

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Twiflex USA

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Company History

Twiflex business foundations

Twiflex Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Altra Industrial Motion. Twiflex Limited, founded in 1946, specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of Advanced Braking Technology for industrial applications.

Twiflex Limited employs approximately 75 full time staff, including 25 qualified engineers.

With extensive in-house design, engineering, manufacturing and assembly facilities backed by over 55 years of experience, Twiflex has a well-deserved reputation for quality and precision.

Twiflex formed in 1946

Twiflex was formed in 1946, as an engineering research company, trading under the name ‘Compression Ignition Ltd’.

Founded by Mr. Charles W. Chapman and Mr. A. V. Nicolle, the company initially acted as Consultant to the Ford Motor Co. in the development of their Diesel engines.

Charles W. Chapman

Charles W. Chapman was born in Lancaster, England, in 1897. After gaining an M.Eng at the University of Liverpool he went on to receive practical engineering experience with Vickers Ltd., Barrow-in-Furness.

In 1932, after various technical appointments that included a period as Chief Engineer of Petters (Ipswich) Ltd., Chapman, together with the late Frank Perkins, founded F. Perkins Ltd. of Peterborough (now called Perkins Engines Ltd., a subsidiary of Massey Ferguson).

As Technical Director of the Company, Chapman initiated, and was responsible for, the designs of their range of lightweight Diesel Engines until, in 1943, he was co-opted into the Admiralty with the rank of Commander (E) R.N.V.R., in charge of the machinery installations in Motor Torpedo and Gun Boats.

In 1947 he patented an automatic, torsional vibration limiting, flexible clutch coupling.

Twiflex supports the British navy

This was adopted by the British and certain allied Navies for coupling high-power marine diesel engines to gearboxes in the main transmission of fleets of Minesweepers. These, and other designs and sizes, were produced and marketed by Compression Ignition Ltd under the Twiflex name.

A rapidly expanding world-wide demand for Twiflex products necessitated Chapman devoting the whole of his time to their design and development with the early range covering the manufacture of clutches and flexible couplings.

Disc brake technology arrives

Records show that some of the first disc brakes were installed over 70 years ago on mine winders built for the Phelps Dodge Corporation in Arizona.

It was not, however, until the late 1950s when the automotive industry discovered the advantages of using disc brakes that the technology became widely recognised.

This in turn led to the introduction of ABS and the use of advanced materials for friction liners.

MR Caliper first introduced

Twiflex first introduced disc brake technology for industrial applications in 1951.

The popular and widely used ‘MR’ caliper was launched in 1954, and is still manufactured today. The product range was consolidated in 1966 with the addition of industrial and marine disc brakes based on original patents from Dunlop Limited.

Twiflex becomes global leader

Continual development has resulted in the company being able to offer the world’s widest range of industrial disc brakes.

A Global Network

Through a global network of nearly 30 established, experienced distributors and agents, Twiflex products are available all around the world:

  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Australia
  • Asia
Twiflex Achievements

1951 - First to introduce disc braking technology to general industrial applications.
1954 - First to introduce the original “MR” caliper brake to Steel Industry in Europe.
1966 - First to adopt Dunlop caliper brakes for applications in industry.
1968 - First to launch brakes for Mining Industry with the release of the “VJ” and “VS” series.

By invention

1974 - Invented “automatic pad wear compensator” for brake thrusters.
1978 - Launched the “VMS” brake, the World’s most powerful spring applied safety brake for Mine Hoist applications.
1984 - Launched the World’s first spring applied, motor released brake, the “AMR” (fore-runner to the “EMX”).

By design

1986 - First to use pivot tubes on caliper brakes making mounting more convenient.
1988 - First to adopt parallel link mechanism on pads for caliper brakes preventing uneven wear.
1996 - First to introduce quick release fasteners for brake pads.

By being first

1998 - First to introduce interchangeable Series Brakes for US Steel Mill Cranes.
1998 - First to introduce “spring applied electro-magnet released” thrusters for standard calipers.
1999 - First to introduce and patent “controlled release” hydraulics as a means to automatically adjust brake torque in real time.

By continuous development

2000 - First to introduce “step by step” brake control for Shiplift applications.