Prevention invention

Delta Hydraulics Director John White isn’t just the architect behind telescopic cylinders used to power myriad transport equipment, but a champion for innovative safety and security technology.Tasmanian John White’s telescopic cylinders are well known in the commercial road transport industry and used in tippers and refuse vehicles worldwide. What may not be as well known is that the 68-year old founder and Managing Director of Delta Hydraulics also channels his expertise into developing equipment for other industries, including mining and military.

“I’ve learnt a lot from over 40 years of manufacturing telescopic cylinders, manifolds and industrial cylinders, and I apply those findings to every new product development Delta Hydraulics makes,” Mr. White says. “Without fail, every advancement improves safety.”

In February this year, Mr. White expanded his hydraulic expertise by designing a remote-controlled traffic intervention bollard. The Networked Safety Bollard is designed to offer an extendable barrier to prevent vehicles from driving into pedestrian areas. “Recent vehicular attacks in Melbourne, France and Sweden are proof that there needs to be more emphasis on employing smart safety equipment in a public domain to neutralise their impact,” he says.

Engineered and built at Delta Hydraulics’ Tasmanian factory, the Networked Safety Bollard aims to act as an intervention tool that can be remotely deployed in any location. A prototype has undergone stringent testing and additional design modifications to add online access via a mobile app.

The retractable bollards hide until they are activated, with the remote functionality allowing operation from any location. The bollards can be activated either individually or as a group through the online network. “Whether the user needs several bollards installed in a particular location or hundreds of units within a block, it can all be networked and accessed individually,” explains Mr. White.

“It’s flexible enough to work within city blocks, on footpaths, shopping centre plazas, parking entrances, streets, private driveways, toll booths, traffic-restricted motorways, underpasses, tunnels and bridge entrances, basically anywhere that’s exposed to vehicular access,” he adds, pointing out that the bollard is available in both single and double-acting versions, depending on the user’s preference.

“The single-acting version requires no services such as power or drainage and can be installed in 24 hours using an excavator and concrete truck. The double acting version requires a 240 AC power connection, but has an internal battery backup so it will still operate in a power blackout situation.”

Like the thousands of telescopic cylinders manufactured by Delta Hydraulics, the strength and maintenance-free status of the Networked Safety Bollard comes from its design and materials selection, as well as the sealing of its internal electronics. For instance, it can still function even after being submerged in water.

The use of 2205 Duplex stainless steel prevents corrosion and increases strength and wearability. “The bollard is sturdy enough to withstand the impact of any small to heavy-duty vehicle, such as a prime mover or a three-tonne four-wheel drive travelling at 160 kilometres per hour,” says Mr. White.

“The bollard contains a 270-millimetre diameter centre with a 390-millimetre diameter flange that extends 400 millimetres above ground, and is designed to snag the offending vehicle and arrest its forward motion.”

According to Mr. White, more than a dozen Networked Safety Bollards are already in production and will be completed over the coming months. “We will be delivering this first batch of bollards to a counter-terrorism organisation and we have already pitched the idea to other law enforcement agencies,” he says.

Mr. White’s pragmatic approach to making a difference with hydraulics equipment has resulted in a $30 million company that serves more than 2000 customers in various sectors across 30 countries. Now, he’s taking every lesson learnt over his lifetime to help prevent attacks on the community. “I’ve always felt that there’s a greater purpose to what we’re doing here at Delta Hydraulics that goes beyond producing tools that improve the way businesses operate. If that purpose means inventing new equipment that saves innocent lives, then I’m willing to use my expertise to make a difference.”

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