A North Yorkshire company has set the wheels in motion with a brand-new safety device which could save the lives of drivers, operatives and cyclists.
NuVech Solutions Ltd, based in Ripon, has launched the AirBar, an inflatable barrier fitted with LED lights which attaches to the front and back of lorries or vans. The device encourages motorists to slow down and move over and has been designed to alert approaching traffic and protect vulnerable operators working near live traffic.
The AirBar can also operate with the vehicle’s nearside indicator below speeds of 15mph to help alert cyclists of a turning vehicle.
NuVech has received orders from national hauliers, recovery companies and manufacturers, and is currently in final negotiations with a large American distributer to market the system in the USA and Canada.
The development of the AirBar has been supported by a £4000 grant from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The money was used to adapt the company’s new premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon, owned by Harrogate Borough Council.
Sarah Scaife, co-director of NuVech, said: “We used to run driver training courses and one of the common things we found was that drivers were getting hit by passing cars as they worked around their vehicles. This is obviously a real safety concern.
“Our customers have witnessed first-hand the huge benefits to driver safety when the AirBar is deployed so we look forward to working with businesses who are keen to improve safety for their employees and vulnerable road users alike.”
“Due to its unique design, the AirBar will improve safety for drivers and operatives in the logistics industry. We wouldn’t have been able to get to this point without the support from AD:VENTURE. Their help has enabled us to get the wheels in motion in bringing the new product to market.”
NuVech Solutions was set up by Sarah and Simon Scaife in December 2017. The husband and wife team previously ran a separate company, Vehicle Transporter Training, which offered accredited transporter driver training courses. Simon has over 30 years’ experience in the vehicle logistics industry.
The AirBar was launched in September 2019 in the UK and has already won an innovation award from the Institute of Vehicle Recovery, despite being up against major manufacturers.
One of the first companies 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.”
As well as providing the £4000 grant, AD:VENTURE supported Simon and Sarah with creating a business plan, ensuring the device complied with industry legislation, and moving to NuVech’s current premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon.
Councillor Graham Swift, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Economic Development and Enterprise at Harrogate Borough Council said: “It’s fantastic to see a new company based in Ripon developing such an innovative product, and we wish NuVech every success.
“We’re delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme, it’s a valuable part of the local services we offer to help the growth of start-ups and new businesses like NuVech.”