A KIDDERMINSTER firm has used its expertise to devise a product for an anti-terrorism road-blocker to foil improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Beakbane has made a safety “skirt” for Avon Barriers’ new shallow-bed road-blocker.

The specially designed and manufactured bellows-type safety skirt ensures people, animals or objects cannot get trapped under the barrier when it is lowered and prevents leaves and litter collecting in the sub-surface housing.

Beakbane, in Stourport Road, is a leading UK manufacturer of bellows, safety covers and slideway covers in materials including fabric, polymers, sheet metal and composites.

Its products are used in industries ranging from machine tool building and medical equipment to power generation and security equipment.

Avon approached Beakbane with an outline of what it wanted to achieve and Beakbane's engineers suggested ways to approach the problem.

The new RB880CR Defender PAS68 high-security road-blocker is designed to protect against terrorist attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

Placed in the access points to sensitive areas, such as government premises, power stations, airports and high-risk companies, the road-blockers can be lowered to allow traffic to pass but, in the raised position, can stop a speeding truck in its tracks.

Traditional designs of retractable road-blockers use a solid quadrant section barrier that retracts completely into the ground. That requires a housing below the ground at least as big as the barrier - maybe over one metre deep - so installing one of those barriers requires extensive civil engineering works.

The new shallow-bed road-blockers are designed to offer the same high level of protection where deep foundations are not practical or possible.

They feature a fabricated steel impact wedge that pivots upwards to provide a one metre high and two metres-wide barrier when raised but retracts into a buried frame just 300mm deep.

In the raised position, there is a space between the impact wedge and the ground frame. To avoid the possibility of a person or animal getting trapped under the barrier, and to stop leaves and rubbish collecting in the space, Avon wanted to be able to offer customers some kind of protective safety skirt that would need to prevent access to the underside of the barrier and fold flat when it was lowered.

Using its knowledge of developing and manufacturing bespoke protection systems, Beakbane worked with Avon to come up with the solution - a flexible, fabricated, bellows-type cover.

The material used was a specially-formulated polymer, which would withstand long-term outdoor exposure anywhere in the world.

The covers have already been deployed in secure installations and are performing as required.

Beakbane's managing director, Barry Reeves, said: "Avon came to us with a clear requirement but no clear idea of how to achieve it.

“We were able to use our skills and experience in developing and manufacturing bespoke products to solve their problem."