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This article was Originally Published on Dec 31, 2003 in Volume: 2  Issue: 6

Protech, RUBB Inc.

Interview with Chip Crotty, Dave Nickerson and Gordon Collins

Chip Crotty, President, Protech; Dave Nickerson, VP & General Manager, RUBB Inc.; Gordon Collins, Director of Marketing, RUBB Inc.

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Q: Can you give me a little bit of background of RUBB, PROTEC and their relationship?

A: Jointly, our mission is to protect and preserve U.S. military assets around the world. Our companies have been working together for more than two decades to achieve that goal. And when we talk about protecting and preserving military assets, we're talking about both personnel and materiel needs. Through the years, we have worked together on a number of projects where PROTEC's expertise in environmental control systems has meshed well with Rubb's expertise in developing tension fabric structure systems.

As an example, we are very proud of the cocoon and environmental control systems we have jointly developed over the past decade for Military Sealift Command pre-position ships. These systems must perform for long periods of time in extremely difficult conditions and maintain military equipment in combat ready condition.

Q: How long have you been doing business with the DoD?

A: PROTEC has 30 years of history with the DoD. RUBB has worked for over 20 years with the DoD in the United States and since the late 1970s with the UK MoD.

We've delivered structures worldwide for the military that include hangars and sunshades for fighter aircraft, personnel facilities, workshops, warehouses, humanitarian shelters and many other uses. All of our shelters systems take into account the DoD's requirements in practical application. Over these 20 to 30 years, we've developed a broad range of products and services to support the U.S. military

Q: What are the innovations that the two companies are bringing to the shelter marketplace right now?

A: A great example is a project we are currently delivering to the RAF in Britain, which is a rapid deployable hangar system. The RAF requirements are for a structure 67 feet by 98 feet that is a deployable BEAR-based anywhere in the world and can be erected without the use of local material handling equipment. In designing the hangar, we used an aluminum frame covered with a PVC-coated polyester membrane. The entire hangar system, including the environmental controls, electrical system and construction tools, fit in a side loading 20-foot ISO container. The packed container is air deployable and, most importantly, the hangar can be erected within a 10-hour time span by a crew of eight people and be in operational condition.

While the rapid deployable hangar is for aircraft, we also have developed the RDS, the rapid deployable shelter, which is designed for people. The RDS forms the basis of shops, offices, meeting rooms and storage rooms, and it has been creatively mated to the rapid deployable hangar system. There are a series of structures and connecting links that have a standard design that allows us to hook right up to the hangar systems. So not only could you get a hangar deployed, but you could get the shops, offices and living quarters all connected to them and inter-connected in one space.

Q: Does this system, in its current arrangements, fit the Air Force's requirement for the Large Shelter System program?

A: If not an exact fit, it is very close, and we are looking forward to responding to the RFP. The RAF has very cooperatively invited U.S. personnel to survey the rapid deployable systems they have in service in the U.K.

Q: What capabilities or synergies do PROTEC and RUBB bring to the United States or, for that matter, any military shelter community?

A: Well, our two companies have the ability, products and a breadth of product range to cater to the military for a wide range of shelter and environmental requirements. We recognize that there is always a trade off between costs and operational capability and how quickly deployable something is. We design those considerations into our systems. In other words, sometimes the military needs something that's highly deployable, but other times they don't. To meet those varied requirements, we have a range of product capability. One current example is the Rapid Deployable Shelter/Hangar.

This is a shelter that's highly advantageous to the military. We spent a lot of research time, went out into the marketplace and looked at some of the existing technology before coming back and putting our ideas together for this program.

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