By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE TALKS to John Alun Jones, Managing Director of FAUN MV Ltd.
The last time the Editor visited FAUN was in 1982 when it was Laird Anglesey to drive the Centaur, Land Rover-based half-track. He left, having got the vehicle stuck whilst test driving on the Beaumaris mountain!
FAUN used to be known Laird Anglesey and its involvement in defence was purely with the UK MoD, the first customer for the TRACKWAY, making bespoke roadway or temporary landing mats as and when required. That stretches back some 40 years or so. In time other armed forces got in touch to get hold of TRACKWAY too but they never proactively went out sourcing new business.
In 1997 they were bought out by FAUN, part of Germany’s KIRCHHOFF group, who are better known for making bin wagons (which they do in Anglesey in the other half of the factory from TRACKWAY). TRACKWAY was set up as an individual brand in defence. FAUN, is a German family Company founded 220 years ago, making hand tools. It has four Divisions, Automotive, Environmental including refuse vehicles and road sweepers, Vehicle Adaptation and the original hand tools business. The Company had a turnover of €662 million in 2009 and employs 4500 people. The UK Division employs 90 people in the Anglesey factory and had a turnover of £25 million in 2009, with £5 million coming from defence.
“What brought you to Faun?” The Editor asked
“I started my business career at the Royal Mint where I trained as a Chartered Management Accountant. I moved to the automotive industry and joined FAUN in 2003.” John Alun Jones said.
“TRACKWAY is a well known brand, how many countries have you sold to?”
“We have representation in 80 countries and have sold to 10 including the UK, Sweden and Switzerland, recent big deals were with the Italians and the Turks. The Swedes and the Swiss were the first countries to take our ‘DROPS-based’ automated laying system. In March we shipped three complete portable roadway systems for use by the Italian MoD on beach landing exercises. JCB SPA, the Italian subsidiary of global vehicle manufacturer J C Bamford, purchased 100 metres of FAUN’s Medium Ground Mobility System (MGMS) roadway and three specially designed beach dispensers for use on its medium-wheeled loading shovels. The order was FAUN’s first with the Italian military, making it the latest addition to a roster of 30 armed forces that rely on its products around the world. The MGMS roadway, which is capable of taking vehicle loads of up to 30 tonnes, are attached onto the beach dispensers and can be mounted on the chassis of any medium wheeled tractor.”
“A key element of our product design is enabling our TRACKWAY units to be integrated onto existing vehicles. This kind of versatility is invaluable to armed forces that may use a range of vehicles for different operations, including beach landings. We can adapt the system to most major vehicle marques. We will be showing the system on an IVECO 8×8 and new 4×4 at this year’s DVD.”
“Having established your TRACKWAY product around the world, how do you intend expanding the business?”
“While established in a fair few NATO countries FAUN’s real aim now is to expand the business quickly through securing major sales in the US and Far East. We plan to grow TRACKWAY year on year and have made ambitious sales targets. We are looking at the U.S. market in particular and are offering our Rapid Runway Repair (RRR) mat for a live Requirement.”
“Do you intend to expand your product range?”
“As well as looking to market its existing products in new territories FAUN is now developing new products such as the new ALM design with the US, as well as a new Rapid Runway Repair (RRR) mat which is suitable for use by the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon. Our engineers are also looking to develop a short gap crossing and a new Trackway matting with an MLC rating of 120. We are developing a new temporary air