How the UK is pioneering scientifically-engineered safety

You may not recognise the name, but the company’s striking post and rail design has quickly become iconic. Co-owner and director, Luke Smith, explains how A-SAFE has developed advanced protection for the world’s industrial workplaces.

A-Safe - pioneering scientifically-engineered safety A-SAFE invented the world’s first industrial strength polymer safety barrier - image courtesy of A-Safe
A-SAFE invented the world’s first industrial strength polymer safety barrier – image courtesy of A-SAFE.

The world’s workplaces are constantly evolving, thanks to the exponential pace of technological advancement.

When it comes to workplace safety, keeping up is not enough. Safety solutions must be anticipatory; they must pre-empt problems, predict dangers and prevent incidents before they happen.

In 2001, A-SAFE invented the world’s first industrial strength polymer safety barrier, revolutionising workplace safety. We’ve been improving world standards ever since, introducing ever more advanced safety solutions.

R&D ethos

We dedicate ourselves to researching, developing and improving ways for the world’s workplaces to meet safety challenges, and be better prepared for an increasingly technological future.

This ethos permeates the business, enabling innovation in everything from materials and products, to production processes and manufacturing machinery.

Uniquely equipped with expert knowledge of workplace safety, we even identify broader global safety needs, introducing initiatives such as PAS13, a new code of practice for workplace traffic management, sponsored and written by us in partnership with the BSI.

Our Innovation Centre has grown to the point where we have an in-house R&D team of 31, made up of designers, mechanical engineers, polymer physicists, electronics engineers, software engineers and researchers.

It is where some of the most advanced polymer technology and cutting-edge safety engineering in the world is developed. Our experts test and trial new blends of premium polyolefins, optimising product performance in a range of environmental conditions.

They evaluate new material technologies through an ongoing materials research programme, testing on in-house equipment such as tensile test machines, notch impactors and accelerated weathering testers.

Investment and innovation

ASAFE Health & Safety Polymer Barrier A-SAFE's fixed polymer safety barrier is capable of absorbing the impacts of the vehicles operating within a workplace - image courtesy of A-SAFE.
A-SAFE’s fixed polymer safety barrier is capable of absorbing the impacts of the vehicles operating within a workplace – image courtesy of A-SAFE.

We invest millions of pounds in custom-built machinery to ensure quality and attention to detail is inherent throughout every element of the process.

Our custom-built smart rotational moulding machine is the only one of its kind in the world, and our advanced milling machines allow us to send information directly to them from the design engineers’ computers in R&D.

Now we are introducing radio communications and machine learning into warehouse safety via our ‘RackEye’ product, a real-time warehouse rack monitoring and damage detection system.

We developed a unique algorithm, and harnessed machine-learning techniques to detect patterns in the stresses racks are subjected to daily.

To ensure we can scale our machine learning to large numbers of devices, we utilise cloud-processing technology, enabling ‘big data’ analytics.

Scientifically engineered safety is the future of workplace protection, and by making continuous strides in safety innovation, we are working hard to ensure the world’s workplaces can be better protected.

The UK’s best of the best

McLaren Automotive - The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017
McLaren Automotive at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017 – image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

Last year, McLaren Automotive won The Manufacturer MX Award for Innovation & Design. It is hardly surprising, given their rapid rise over the past eight years to become Britain’s foremost supercar manufacturer.

Click here to read The Manufacutrer’s interview with Alan Foster, McLaren Automotive’s Executive Director Infrastructure Projects, about their success. 

We thought we should let the companies who were shortlisted with McLaren, but didn’t walk away with the award on the night, tell their own innovation stories.

A-SAFE was one of them, and you can read the other three via the links below:

Click the banner below to view this year’s shortlist, and to book your tickets for the UK’s  largest annual manufacturing awards – celebrating the Best of British industry:

The Manufacturer MX Awards TMMX 2018 - Shortlist Announced Banner