Advanced cooling solutions from NAR significantly improve the performance and reliability of military combat vehicles

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With help from Stäubli quick release connectors the NAR Group based in Northampton, specialists in manufacturing automotive radiators for vintage, classic and modern high performance sports cars, have successfully applied their skills to the challenging demands of the defence sector.

 Quick Release Connectors on Military Vehicles

Quick Release Connectors on Military Vehicles

NAR are Tier 1 suppliers to Aston Martin having over 70% of their radiator and oil cooler production as well as being key suppliers to Jaguar Landrover and many other well-known marques.

For over 47 years NAR have been widely recognised as a specialist manufacturer and repairer of radiators; if you need a replacement for your E-type Jaguar or Aston Martin DB4 this is the place to go. Not only will they provide a radiator that looks exactly the same as the original, the innovative internal structure and design usually results in better performance than the original.

The improvements in radiator performance result from the deep understanding of cooling systems that NAR have built up over many years. Combining this with their manufacturing expertise in forming and welding aluminium, they produce a radiator superior in performance and only 30% of the weight of traditional copper and brass designs.

The distinct operational advantages of their high performance radiators were recognised by the defence sector who were experiencing cooling difficulties on the Scorpion CVRT, a light weight tracked reconnaissance class of vehicle. Being used in the hot and hostile environment of the Middle East these vehicles were experiencing overheating issues due to the addition of heavy armour. Replacement NAR radiators performed better than the originals and were lighter in weight.

To answer the demand for a significant improvement to the vehicles maintainability Stäubli quick release air-conditioning connectors were specified for the condenser attached to the radiator.  This made it possible for the complete condenser and radiator group to be quickly removed from the vehicle and replaced without any need to de-pressurise, vacuum and recharge the refrigerant in the system. An operation that would normally take 2½ hours was reduced to just 30mins.

Reliability was considerably improved too, by eliminating the mechanical stresses on the condenser connection pipes which had been fracturing due to bending on removal and refitting of the condenser.  The substantial reduction in maintenance time afforded by the use of connectors meant an improvement in vehicle availability and decreased exposure of vehicle engineers to the dangers of the combat zone.

Following on from the success with Scorpion, NAR turned its attention to the Panther class; a highly modified IVECO light multirole wheeled vehicle. Overheating problems were being experienced, particularly in convoy situations, and the radiators were clogging up with the fine dust of the Afghan desert. NAR’s response was to analyse the complete cooling group on the vehicle – water radiator, oil cooler and air-conditioning condenser. The internal air flow characteristics were modified by designing a louvre core to prevent the clogging effect of the fine sand. All the cooling elements were brought together into one compact cooling group.  Stäubli connectors were recognised by the vehicle supplier as providing an ideal connection system to compliment the new cooling group that would aid essential vehicle maintenance keeping the vehicles in theatre for longer. By installing clean break connectors removal and refit of the cooling group was achieved without draining the refrigerant, saving hours on each maintenance task.

The use of application specific quick release connectors on military vehicles provides a safe and secure method of disconnecting and re-connecting essential liquid and gas lines with no draining and refilling thus enabling faster maintenance without the need for specialist tools, equipment or training.  Vehicle air-conditioning circuits used for personal cooling are critical in the hot arid climates of operation and cannot be compromised.  Using Stӓubli’s refrigerant couplings, high integrity leak free connection points provides a simple solution for breaking cooling lines; ensuring reliable operation and maintenance without spillage of ozone depleting gasses, or inclusion of dirt into the system.

These innovative developments were so successful that the operational efficiency of the vehicle fleet was significantly improved, resulting in reduced inventory requirements, saving both cost and manpower. Geoff Holmes, General Manager at NAR commented, “The defence sector quickly recognised the benefits of using high performance cooling systems with the ability to readily replace damaged items when necessary. Stӓubli’s quick release connectors form an essential part of the system, eliminating the need to de-pressurise the systems and have performed faultlessly through all our testing and in operation in the field.”

So impressed with the results seen on Panther, IVECO requested a new cooling system with integrated Stäubli connectors for installation on their Light Military Vehicle for the Norwegian Army.  NAR designed and manufactured the completed cooling group, radiator, charge air cooler, oil cooler and condenser with integrated connectors for refrigerant and oil.  The clean break connectors enable the complete cooling group to be removed without spillage of a single drop of fluid, saving hours on maintenance and improving vehicle reliability. Due in part to these successes the defence sector now represents a substantial and growing part of both Stӓubli’s and NAR’s activities.

What’s next for the partnership between NAR and Stäubli? They are now analysing the cooling requirements of the aerospace and electronics sectors. Modern data centres, containing high power servers and aircraft fitted with ‘state of the art’ on-board avionics systems, produce significant amounts of heat which will continue to increase as even more powerful systems are introduced. The techniques developed by NAR, combined with the connector expertise of Stäubli, provides an effective and easy to use solution; liquid based cooling systems that can accommodate the higher temperatures, protect the sensitive electronics and perform faultlessly over many years, as well as being easy to change and replace quickly when required.

Stӓubli’s unique connector range is designed to meet these challenges and provide fast, secure and reliable circuit connection and disconnection. Flat-faced connector technology guarantees no spillage and eliminates any risk of air or contaminants entering the circuits; removing the need to purge the cooling system. Compact and lightweight, Stäubli connectors are able to withstand vibration and corrosion and will perform faultlessly for thousands of connection cycles; they offer robust bayonet, screw or ball locking systems to ensure circuit integrity is maintained even in the harshest environments.

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