Fortress Interlocks has won the prestigious 'Green' Innovation Award at this year's innovation & Design Excellence Awards (iDEA) against strong competition. The award, announced at a gala reception at the Hilton Hotel in London at the end of September, was for Fortress' eGard, a unique new product which combines both machine safety and control modules in one flexible unit.
The iDEAs, organised by Eureka, New Electronics and Cranfield School of Management, recognised that the innovation behind eGard opens up a new, large market sector for Fortress. The award also recognised that Fortress designed and manufactured eGard along environmental principles following advice from Envirowise*, taking into account the whole life-cycle of the product.
eGard has a radical design and is a completely new approach to controlling access to hazardous machinery and equipment. It is built from clip-together modules and integrates trapped key and safety gate technology with service modules such as indicators and buttons, internal releases and emergency stops. The internal network is self-configuring.
Fortress decided to make the housing from polymer and the main advice from the environmental Envirowise 'audit' was to use the same material throughout to make recycling more efficient. Fortress elected to use a glass-filled grade of PBT. Other parts are made of stainless steel. In addition, the housing has no fixings or adhesive; parts are clipped together or ultrasonically welded. This reduces component count and also makes recycling much easier.
*Envirowise is a government-supported environmental consultation service which offers UK businesses free, independent advice on ways to increase competitiveness by using resources efficiently, minimising waste, and reducing environmental impact.