National Inventors’ Day, 2018
It’s National Inventors’ Day and across the UK, inventors and their inventions are being celebrated. At ATG Access, we are proud to recognise the outstanding talent helping us to turn our company into a global success. Among these is our very own inventor, Robert Ball whose inventions have helped form the core of our business. An expert in his field, Robert was recently featured in Real Business’ article on innovators vs inventors.
Like others celebrated on National Inventors’ Day, Robert has always had the DNA of an inventor within him. However, the breakthrough moment came when he was seven years old, while out sledding with his cousins. Not satisfied with the piece of cardboard being used, Robert put his inquisitive mind to work and quickly developed a better sled. Utilising thicker materials and modifying its design he made it sleeker. In this moment Robert realised he was destined to be an inventor and while the sleigh he made is far from the high-security solutions he creates now, the same thirst for innovation still drives him.
Robert is the mind behind our innovative Surface Guard system, a temporary hostile vehicle mitigation barrier that can be deployed in just over 30 minutes, and is capable of bringing a 7,200kg lorry traveling at 32 kph to a standstill with less than five meters of penetration. Surface Guard started out as nothing more than a blank sheet of paper and an idea to make a difference. The idea? To find a solution to the increasing number of fatal terror attacks that were using vehicles as a weapon.
His desire to develop an effective and secure barrier against vehicle terror attacks has meant that Surface Guard has been awarded two IWA 14 impact test standards. It has also been selected to secure the re-opening of the prestigious Motcomb street in London and every home match for Burnley and Manchester United F.C.
But Robert’s temporary Surface Guard system isn’t his only invention to revolutionise the world of perimeter security. He also developed Shallow Mount bollards that have helped to set the industry bar for how high-security equipment is installed and specified. The innovation removes the need for bollards to require deep foundations and high amounts of concrete for their installation. The technology has gone on to stand the test of time since releasing three years ago. While countless others have tried to emulate the technology no one has yet produced anything better.
Advice for young inventors
National Inventors’ Day is as much about looking to the future as celebrating the past. After turning two inventions into reality, Robert is keen on seeing the next generation follow in his footsteps. His top tips for budding inventors are:
- Never give up on your ideas, even if people are saying they won’t work
- Learn how to be self-critical about your work
- Learn from your mistakes
- Keep your ideas realistic
- Never be afraid to return to the drawing board, some of the best innovations come from rethinking an initial idea