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TFC in Top Gear with The Rocket Men

Heathfield, we have a problem!
TFC recently came to the aid of a British rocket project when the company were approached by Colin Rowe from Rowe’s Retainers Ltd. Colin is also one half of The Rocket men ltd team, who has been working with the BBC Top Gear team in some wacky and (Literally) ‘high’ profile projects.

As part of Top Gear’s Winter Olympic Special, The Rocket men were charged with the task of sending a Mini-Cooper down the Lillehammer ski slope in Norway. The slope, previously home to world famous Olympians, is more accustomed to competitors who are lighter on their feet. When the team of rocket designers set about making the propulsion units to send the car on its way, they encountered a problem and needed some Smalley spiral retaining rings to stop the motor unit from detaching from the rocket housing.

The spiral retaining rings used in the Mini were an upscale of the ones used in model rocketry. The motor retainers from Rowe’s Retainers need to be light and strong, using TFC spiral retaining rings allow the operator to insert and remove the motor in the field with only a screwdriver.

Colin Rowe explained the vital role the Smalley spiral retaining ring played on the
project. “Speed, mass and deceleration are three pivotal components that have to be controlled in any rocket powered launch. If the motor became disengaged because of a faulty spiral retaining ring, suddenly with one part of the equation missing we would have a potential disaster. 3 Contrail Hybrid motors (using nitrous oxide and rubber) were used to propel nearly 3000lbs of metal through the air, so we needed to be sure that the components we used were 100% safe. TFC provided part of a complex jigsaw that didn’t let us down.”

As the rockets blasted the car down the slope the whole of Lillehammer and millions of BBC viewers watched in awe. The car skied like a pro, proving at last that the British are capable of producing a successful ski jumper. Thanks to TFC, it was a display that would have had Eddie the Eagle dumbstruck with admiration.

The Rocket Men recently launched a Reliant Robin using the same type of motors for top gear, using similar techniques to retain the motors. Colin added. “Smalley spiral retaining rings make life so much easier for us. They are a product that I can see us using more and more”

About TFC
TFC Ltd is dedicated to providing customers with engineering solutions that incorporate the use of high quality fasteners and ring and spring products. As a technical based distributor, the company has thousands of fastening solutions all under one roof, including true one-stop-shop capability, and has been a BS/EN/ISO 9002 approved supplier since 1990.

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