It seems that in car parks, airports, and industrial spaces around the world, plastic polymer safety barriers are quickly replacing metal barriers.
Unlike metal barriers, which tend to break, rust, or otherwise be too heavy, polymer safety barriers are flexible, and gently absorb impact.
In fact, polymer barriers are quickly becoming the industry standard around the world.
They are simply better than metal a number of aspects, as enumerated below.
1. Polymer absorbs impact better than metal
Polymer is ideal for safety barriers because they are simply safer. Just check out this vintage documentary, I love these
Since polymers are flexible and will often snap back to their original shape after collision, they help cushion the blow and absorb impact better than metal barriers.
This results to less damage to the barrier, the object or structure that it is protecting, and the vehicle that collided with it.
Metal barriers tend to snap or buckle under extreme pressure, which will only cause injury to the driver and result to a higher risk of property damage as compared to polymer.
2. Polymer is easier to manufacture than metal
Polymer is much easier to manufacture than metal, because the material can easily be poured into a mould.
Metal requires heavy smithy work and takes a long time to purify, melt down, and shape into the desired final outcome.
3. Polymer requires less maintenance than metal
Metal barriers need to be painted and sealed to prevent them from rusting. Every time they get scuffed or dented, the barriers will require maintenance or replacement.
On the other hand, polymer safety barriers retain their shape and require no painting or additional finishing ñ it is very low maintenance and is guaranteed to last 20 to 50 years at the very least.
4. Polymer is lighter and easier to transport and to install
Polymer is much lighter than metal but is just as robust. Because it is both lightweight and durable, it is easy to transport and to install.
Most polymer materials used in safety barriers are also modular, meaning that you can disassemble and reassemble it at will with no additional reworking needed.
You just slot them back in together and bolt them in place.
5. Polymer is a greener option than metal
While plastic has the unfortunate reputation of being bad for the environment, it only applies to short term use, disposable products such as plastic bags.
Polymer barriers on the other hand, are meant to be used for years.
Polymer barriers also produce a much lower carbon footprint than a metal barrier. For example, a hundred meters of steel barrier will produce an estimated of 3,863kg of CO2.
This is because of all of the additional mining, purifying, and manufacturing needed to make a steel barrier.
On the other hand, a hundred meters of polymer barriers will only produce 1,766kg of CO2, which is very impressive.
Polymers therefore have the upper hand when used for safety barriers.
It is cheaper, safer, and more effective than steel, and more environmentally friendly as well.
Here’s a final vintage documentary that made me chuckle: