ABOUT THE COMPANY
NuVech Vehicle Solutions, based in Ripon, was set up by husband and wife Simon and Sarah Scaife in December 2017. Having been running a company which offers driver training courses for the vehicle logistics industry since 2015, the pair were aware of the dangers goods vehicle drivers face when unloading at the roadside.
They have developed a new product called the ‘AirBar’, a vehicle safety barrier which could be used to protect the drivers when they are unloading. The product was launched at the Telford Tow Show in 2019 and has been well-received by the logistics industry. The AirBar is unique, fully trademarked and is in the process of becoming patented.
Co-director Sarah said: “When we ran driver training courses, one of the common things we found was that drivers were getting hit by passing cars as they unloaded their trucks. This is obviously a real safety concern.
“The Airbar is something which can be fitted to the side of the truck. It inflates and has flashing LEDs so that when the driver is working at the roadside, it encourages motorists to give them more space.”
During the early stages of the AirBar’s development, Simon and Sarah were working out of their office and garage at home. It was soon clear that a separate premises would be required to manufacture the product effectively.
“It was vital for the development of the product that we moved to a suitable premises because we knew we needed to be able to get a production line going when the AirBar was launched,” Sarah said.
With the help of a £4000 grant from the AD:VENTURE program, NuVech were able to move into a new premises in Ripon in February 2019, owned by Harrogate Borough Council. Using the grant, they adapted the space to suit the development and manufacture of the AirBar.
Sarah said: “Since we’ve moved, we’ve been able to do the testing more rigorously because we now have a test station set up and we can change parts more quickly.”
Since it was launched at the Tow Show in September, Sarah and Simon have seen plenty of interest in the Airbar. Sarah said: “We have had meetings with a national roadside recovery firm and a major haulier who have agreed to test the product on their vehicles.”
The first company to order the AirBar is John Macadam and Son, a recovery firm based in Colne, Lancashire which operates across Yorkshire and North-West England. Director Alastair Macadam said: “The most important asset we have in the company is our staff and this system helps to protect them, which makes it invaluable.
“The device has already proved useful for our drivers – we were dealing with an incident on the M6 involving an overturned HGV and both the police and highways officers commented on the Airbar as being a good idea.”
The AirBar has also won an innovation award from the Institute of Vehicle Recovery.
Sarah said: “Thanks to the support from AD:VENTURE, we now have a working product which we can sell, and which will improve safety for drivers in the logistics industry. The support we got is just financial either – we also had help from our advisor with creating our business plan, negotiating various types of legislation and even just being a sounding board for ideas. We’ve never done anything in production before so to have someone who could talk through the types of processes and software that we might want to use was really important and an added bonus on top of the financial support.”
With orders already coming in, the AirBar looks set to become a common sight on goods vehicles across the UK.
To find out more about NuVech and the AirBar, visit https://www.nuvech.co.uk/.
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