Founded in 1950 by Grantham, Lincolnshire entrepreneur Louis Morley, Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited is a family-owned business still based today on its original site in Gonerby Hill Foot on the outskirts of town.
Since its inception the company has been involved in the retreading of tyres, initially agricultural tractor tyres using an American-invented procedure known as ‘re-lugging’. Mr Morley and his associates developed and refined the process up to the point whereby trials conducted by Farmers Weekly magazine in 1950 concluded that, “no tests have so far been capable of loosening the lugs or causing any loss of traction.”
Consequently, and with supplies of raw materials still in short supply following World War II, Vacu-Lug retreaded tyres rapidly established themselves as a popular choice among Britain’s farmers.
By the 1960s the company had established its Duramold brand name and was producing remoulded car, truck and earthmover tyres in addition to its agricultural range. The company’s success had also spread well beyond the UK, as the Vacu-Lug process was being sold under licence throughout the world.
Later in the decade and into the 1970s, the company embarked upon a major investment programme which culminated in the opening of an extended factory in 1972. A second plant was opened two years later in nearby Colsterworth to produce earthmover and tractor tyres.
Despite remould car tyre production being halted Vacu-Lug production breaks the 200,000 units a year barrier and the company is recognised as Europe’s leading tyre reprocessor.
By the 1990s, all production has been consolidated at Gonerby Hill Foot and improved quality systems include the use of ultrasound scanning on all casings prior to processing and at final inspection.
Today, the company distributes approximately 200,000 tyres per annum. This figure includes retreads as well as new Yokohama commercial vehicle tyres, for which Vacu-Lug is the sole GB distributor, and industrial and earthmover tyres. Vacu-Lug also manufactures the Pirelli Novateck range of retreaded tyres.
Over the past two decades, the focus of the business has shifted from selling via a regional network of third-party outlets to providing operators with a bespoke range of tyre fleet management contracts. Today, the Vacu-Lug Fleet Management programme (VFM, see separate press release ref: 08-03) is at the centre of the company’s operations, delivering operators with a comprehensive tyre fleet management programme backed by a secure web-based reporting system, which is fully accessible 24/7/365.