Twin Disc: Driving Innovation and Performance for Nearly a Century

Power to perform

Twin Disc’s innovation has been driving worldclass performance across multiple sectors for nearly 100 years

Since 1918 four generations of the Batten family have seen Twin Disc grow into the world leader it is today. Founded originally with the introduction of the first twin disc clutch for farm tractors and, later, construction equipment, ensuing years saw it develop into marine transmissions, industrial torque converters and other products for a host of industries. Today the company is a leading player across the world in numerous sectors, predominantly supplying the marine, off-highway and military industries with heavy-duty off-highway power transmission equipment.

At present, North America represents the company’s biggest market, with the EMEA and Asia/ Pacific regions also contributing significant sales volumes. With such an international spread, Twin Disc approaches the market with a ‘think global, act local’ strategy, which sees it engage with its customers with a wealth of market, product and application expertise. As customers in a variety of sectors continue to face unique challenges everyday, a problem-solving attitude defines the way the company’s employees react and capitalise on market opportunities. As a result, Twin Disc now has a reputation around the world, which builds on a long history of collaboration and engineering excellence.

Implementing this global strategy was a key success for 2015, which saw an organisational restructure to better manage its international operations. In the company’s 2015 report, CEO John H. Batten explains the shift: “We have implemented a global organisational structure to centralise key functions and better harness our strong, local presence with processes that increase speed to market and enhance responsiveness to clients. Engineering, sales, marketing, operations and product service are now aligned around a global structure that better positions us to collaborate with our customers, deliver complex solutions and ensure exceptional product quality and worldwide support.”

Over the last year numerous solutions have been delivered to clients across a number of sectors that perfectly demonstrate the level of engineering expertise and service afforded to its customers by Twin Disc. In the pleasure craft sector, for instance, the business recently worked closely with the owner of a 61-foot Maritimo M58 Cruising motoryacht to improve slow-speed control. The company equipped the vessel with an Express Joystick System (EJS), Express Positioning and Quickshift transmission, in a package that allows exceptional slow speed control for easy manoeuvrability in any direction during dock and tight situations. Express positioning adds an even higher degree of control helping the yacht to maintain a fixed position in a canal’s current or whilst waiting for a bridge or lock to open. The Quickshift transmission ensures the vessel handles smoothly without lurches and couples perfectly with the fingertip movement control of Twin Disc’s EJS technology.

Innovative solution

Continuing to deliver marine systems to a more heavy-duty commercial setting has also been the focus of much attention over recent years. Working with Penguin International, which produces high-speed commercial vessels for a variety of offshore duties such as crew transfer, cargo transport, platform security and emergency evacuations, Twin Disc has delivered robust and reliable solutions, in a simple and cost effective manner. The firm consistently delivers customised transmission and propulsion solutions to ensure Penguin’s vessels perform at desired speed, comply with its high standards for quality and reliability and help it meet the escalating demand for crew boats on a timely basis. For nearly a decade Twin Disc has supplied transmission systems to the majority of Penguin’s mid-sized Flex crew boats, attesting to its ability to deliver on promises and to quickly resolve emerging issues.

In an industrial setting the company has recently been able to develop an innovative remote power take-off (PTO) solution for Entech Industries – a manufacturer of high performance dust collectors. The client is currently field-testing Twin Disc’s RO-211 Remote Over Centre PTO for one of its large, trailer-mounted applications. The RO-211 leverages a patent-pending design to remotely engage the PTO’s over-centre mechanism via an electronic control. Crucially, Twin Disc’s solution takes the guesswork out of a complex equation greatly minimising the potential for operator error and costly downtime.

Collaborative working

Also on the ground, Twin Disc has been working in collaboration with Rosenbauer to develop a unique solution for its Panther fire truck. The Panther is widely considered as best-in-class for Aircraft Rescue Fire fighting (ARFF), thanks to its speed, safety and outstanding fire fighting performance, all of which are essential to responding to airport disasters around the world. Significantly, the Panther makes use of a sophisticated Twin Disc transmission system with an engine-mounted torque converter, six-speed TD61-1179 or eight-speed TAD81-4001 power-shift transmission, and the advanced TDEC-500 electronic control system. This innovative system allows the Panther to be driven and use the fire pump at the same time, eliminating the need for a second engine.

Listen to customers

Whilst only a small portion of work, these examples perfectly demonstrate the way in which Twin Disc listens carefully to its clients’ needs and tailors specific solutions and packages to match their exact requirements. That it is able to deliver crucial performance to some of the world’s sector-leading products is testament to the apex position it has been able to acquire over years of hard work, innovation and business development.

Whilst the ongoing global oil crisis noticeably choked expected performance levels for Twin Disc in 2015, successfully continuing to deliver this unrivalled service has kept the company at the top of its market. In his annual statement, John Batten reports that whilst the early half of the 2016 financial year may mirror the latter half of 2015, he does expect the recent strategic changes to start generating results by the second half of the year.

However, it is an echo of his father and third-generation leader, Michael Batten’s vision that aptly sums up Twin Disc’s Discdirection as it moves forward: “My father was fond of saying that life is 3D; you have to see it from everyone’s perspective to really understand where you are and where you are going. That explains why at Twin Disc, we believe that our best ideas come from listening to our customers. The road ahead will be demanding, but we are clearly on the right course to build a brighter future for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”

Twin Disc
Products: World leader in manufacturing and distributing power transmission equipment