Designing innovative solutions to make the Material Handling industry safer have been celebrated at the Design4Safety Awards 2019.

The awards, organised by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), the UK trade association for manufacturers and suppliers of forklift truck and associated components and services, highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. Focusing specifically on design, the awards recognise and celebrate innovative thinking – regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.

The successful companies received their awards from BITA Secretary General, James Clark in a ceremony held at The Vox conference centre, Resorts World Birmingham; the ceremony coinciding with IMHX 2019, the largest material handling exhibition in the UK.

Mr Clark said: “Improving safety within the material handling industry has been – and remains – a top priority for BITA. I offer my warmest congratulations to all the winners for helping to set the new benchmark for the industry.”

In the Automation & Robotics category, the winner was Wessex Packaging for its ErgoPack mobile pallet strapping solution. ErgoPack significantly improves safety and ergonomics in the field of manual pallet strapping. It has helped to eliminate dizziness and exhaustion for operators at Amazon fulfilment centres.

In the hotly contested Industrial Vehicles category, the eventual winner was Combilift’s multi-position tiller arm. This has been designed to allow operators to remain in the safest possible position when working in narrow aisles, reducing the risk of them being crushed or trapped between the truck and the racking. The tiller arm also incorporates a monitor which always displays the position of the truck’s rear wheel.

Narrowly missing out on the award was Crown for its new ESR 1000 reach truck with Gena operating system. Gena has been developed to be the electronic ‘brain’ of Crown’s next generation trucks. In a move recognising the manufacturer’s work, judges decided the entry should be Highly Commended.

In the Industrial Vehicles & Ancillary Products category, judges selected Elokon’s ELOprotect system as the winner. The system uses two laser scanners, a display and an operating module to monitor its environment.  It is automatically activated when a truck enters a narrow aisle and detects hazards such as people, other forklifts or obstacles, bringing the vehicle to a complete standstill and emitting visual and acoustic warnings to pedestrians and drivers.

In Racking & Shelving, PD Industrial was judged the winner for its Reloskate product, which has been specially designed to lift pallet racking structures without the need to dismantle or remove sprinkler pipes within the pallet racking, the first time the system has been used in the UK.

The Technology category was another to be keenly contested. After long deliberation, the award went to Toyota Material Handling UK for its Systems for Active Stability (SAS) programme. By actively monitoring key parameters of the truck’s performance, the SAS system acts before an unsafe operation occurs thereby reducing the risk of possible accidents, while maximising pallet movements.

In Training & Operations, the award went to RTITB for its MyRTITB TrainingFriend software. This allows operators to be tested correctly on more than 120 machine types, ensuring they are qualified to use the equipment safely. The software provides users with current assessment documentation and auto-marks the tests to avoid any manipulation.

The final category, Warehouse Infrastructure, saw Campisa carry off the title for its Fidelity hydraulic drive. The Fidelity drive system does away with the conventional drive system for a sectional overhead door and its potentially dangerous parts, replacing it with a console system that can be used to operate both a sectional door and dock leveller.

BITA Technical Manager, David Goss was also chair of judges for this year’s competition.

He said: “I have to say that the standard of entries was particularly strong and suggested that manufacturers are continuing to take seriously the goal of raising safety standards to the highest level possible. From BITA’s standpoint, this is very welcome and on behalf of my fellow judges, I would like to congratulate all the winners for their tremendous work.”

The judging panel for Design4Safety was:

  • David Goss, BITA (Chair)
  • John Munnelly, John Lewis
  • Kirsty Adams, SHD Logistics
  • Clare Bottle, Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • Peter Ward, UKWA
  • Dave Berridge, AMHSA
  • Steve Simmons-Jacobs, HSE