This page is bought to you by Laurence Wettern the inventor of the Tigrox Barrier to give some background and understanding of the queue barrier market.
Prior to the development of the Tensator Barrier the only flexible means of controlling crowds and queues was by using “post and rope”.
In the US these post and rope barriers were known as stanchions and this terminology has been carried across so that now all barrier posts are known as stanchions in the USA.
In 1978 Tensator in Milton Keynes were making ” clock type” springs primarily for retractable car seatbelts. Manufacturing Director? Robert Clough came up with the idea of using this technology to wind up a webbing belt between two posts to control people in queues. Essentially this was to be a seat belt on a post.
Around this time the company was approached by British Airways with a rope barrier and asked to design a means of winding this up so as to produce a retractable version. This was spotted as an opportunity by Tensator and developed into the Tensator barrier which we now know. At the time this was not regarded as being a particularly valuable idea, and no patent was sought for the technology.
Further developments by the Tensator Company have improved the original concept.
In 1996 a centrifugal brake was developed to slow down a fast moving barrier, as the end fitting of the barrier can be dangerous if released from a fully extended position. This is now incorporated in the Tensator barrier range.
Tensator Nesting bases system (2000) gives details of nesting base wherein the base has a rebate allowing the adjacent post to be placed much closer, so as to give better storage and handing, and to that the posts can be stacked to form a “train” of bases, and moved more easily than they would be otherwise. This has not been widely adopted to date.
In 2006 Tensator acquired the Lawrence Metal Products Company in the USA – who manufacture a range of Post and Rope barriers.
Tensator have developed the queue barrier business and used this to form the basis for a much wider range queueing and related point of sale products. In 2007 the spring manufacturing business was separated to form the Spiroflex company which was subsequently sold to fellow spring manufacturer Kern-Liebers.
Since the 1980’s a large number of other producers have made similar systems with different attachment details for the ends of their webbing. The principal manufacturers are Lavi Industries, based in Israel, offering their product under the name “Beltrac”. A large number of companies based in China offer both types of system, however there appear to be consistent problems with failure of the post/base joint for lower priced products.act
In addition a number of companies buy in the spring assemblies from abroad and manufacture and assemble their posts in local markets to suit local demands and conditions.
It was soon realised that the posts and barrier material itself offer a great marketing opportunity for displaying advertising or other information. This has been done by printing the webbing and using dyed webbing, and by placing printed sleeves over the posts. The print available on webbing systems is of relatively poor quality, and limited display potential because of the width of the belt. The webbing can be changed, but this involves changing the whole spring assembly with the barrier itself.
A further development consisted of the development of the “cafe barrier”, where a beam is fixed between two posts and a fabric banner is suspended from the posts, so producing a banner. – These however suffer from lack of flexibility in that they are of a fixed length, and they are normally used for semi-permanent barriers, such as around seating areas in cafes and outdoor restaurants- Hence the name cafe barrier.
A development of the Cafe Barrier has been the Rollersign product www.rollersigns.com/uk/gallery.html. This product performs the same function as a cafe barrier, with the difference that you have to already have or need to purchase a retractable tape barrier in order to be able to use the product at all.- The posts are not part of the system. This product was shown on BBC Dragons Den. The Rollersigns product is expensive, however, costing over £400 for pair of posts and one banner, and over £300 for each additional post. This is for a 1.5 meter run of the barrier. See link for pricing information.
Our product- the Tigrox retractable barrier system offers the combined benefit of all of these systems. It is:-
Retractable – like a webbing display barrier.
Flexible length & layout – like a webbing display barrier.
2.5m length – like a webbing barrier.
Wide printable area– narrower than a cafe barrier- but still 470mm wide.
4 Colour digital print– like a cafe barrier.
UNIQUE – easy to change banner. Change the banner inside 1 minute.
The unique development within the Tigrox system has been to keep the tension within the spring whilst removing the film or webbing so that the spring fully retracts the barrier into the post, without the barrier itself to maintain that tension whilst the barrier is being changed or not there, in the case of an end post.