Two companies have joined together to make a breakthrough in road safety garments, creating a triple protection ‘glow in the dark’ technology that will be shown off the first time at Surveyor’s Highways Management conference in September.
Crewe-based Viz Reflectives and garment manufacturer Shield 360 have teamed up to deliver a new range of road safety garments, which alongside reflective and florescent safety features also have phosphorescent ‘glow in the dark’ technology charged by UV light - including natural daylight or office florescent light.
The garments take five minutes to charge in daylight and 10 minute in florescent light and can give off light for up to eight hours. The innovation has already attracted interest from major US firms such as FedEx and Exxon Mobil.
An international patent pending of the new technology, which was the brainchild of Viz Reflectives MD Nick Rowbottom, has recently gone live for inspection and a full product range should be available shortly.
A spokeswoman for Viz Reflectives explained: ‘The main safety advantage of this is that it gives a third level of safety to a high visibility garments. You already have daytime awareness covered by florescent fabric, and you have reflective tape for when you are alongside the road by oncoming cars.
‘When there is no light this is when the phosphorescent technology comes in. There are no batteries involved, it charges naturally, so the actual garment does not feel bulky and can normally be laundered.
‘It’s a phosphorescent pigment which stores light energy and slowly releases it over time. It can give off light for up to eight hours. This is a different type of pigment and it is the combining of the reflective technology and the phosphorescent technology into a single piece of material that we are patenting. We have commissioned a special machine at our UK office to produce this material.’
The UK firm has a staff of just 12 people but is hoping to break into the worldwide highways market with its international patent.
After working for years alongside Viz Reflectives, Shield 360 was chosen as the partner to deliver the new product range due to its expertise in materials and manufacturing.
Top tips for highways garment safety
1. Keep your garment fastened. Bands have to meet across the torso as designed.
2. Keep garment as clean as possible.
3. Florescent fabrics do fade, so do not store in direct sunlight.
Surveyor's Highway Management conference will take place on September 23rd and 24th in Manchester. To register go to: www.highway.surveyorevents.com