Dainese, D-Air LAB and Enel develop an airbag to protect staff in the workplace
The jacket, currently being tested at ENEL power stations, will protect workers in case of a fall or impact when working at height.
The Safety Jacket is an innovative system to protect workers at risk of accidents resulting from an impact or fall while working at a height. The system stems from the collaboration between ENEL and D-AIR LAB, the innovative start-up connected to Dainese. It is an individual protective jacket based on D-air® technology, the protective airbag already designed and commercialised by Dainese for the worlds of motorcycling and skiing.
The Safety Jacket was designed and developed in collaboration with occupational health professors and doctors at Bologna’s Università Alma Mater Studiorum and Policlinico di Sant’Orsola-Malpighi. The first prototype, created in response to data and basic requirements set out by ENEL, is currently in the testing phase at company power stations, where its ergonomics and functionality can be verified in real-life situations. Once refined, the jacket will find application not only in the utilities arena, but in many other industrial fields too.
“The safety of those working in our plants is our top priority, something we commit to each day. To further improve on the significant results already achieved, we need to harness all the tools that technology makes available to us, continually question what we are doing, and think in an innovative way. The technology we are testing with Dainese and D-air Lab is a very important step in that direction,” affirms Enrico Viale, Director of the Global Thermal Generation Division.
“To be able to contribute to improving worker safety is a very stimulating goal, and to do so together with a prestigious multinational like ENEL and authoritative Scientific Institutions is an honor. The use of D-air® technology in this project is an extraordinary opportunity to extend the possible applications of this ‘intelligent garment’,” states Vittorio Cafaggi, CEO of D-AIR LAB.
“Improving safety in dynamic sports has always been the Dainese mission,” states Dainese Group CEO Cristiano Silei. “Inspired by the potential of the human race, we study people’s protective needs in the most extreme conditions: riding a motorbike on a track at 350 km/h, downhill skiing at 150 km/h, sailing a regatta at 50 knots, reaching zero gravity in Space. Dainese is committed to ongoing research into innovative systems that serve to continually redefine protective standards from head to toe. The Dainese D-air® platform constitutes the maximum expression of this philosophy, while the application of airbag technology in environments outside of sports represents another milestone and the natural evolution in the process of disseminating those technologies applied to safety.”
The Safety Jacket is composed of two elements: the electronic part, which recognises fall conditions and sends an activation signal, and the pneumatic part, which protects the worker against impact by inflating special airbags around the body. The two components derive from the D-air® architecture that was specifically designed for competition sports and has been protecting great motorcycle and ski champions for some time, including Valentino Rossi and Matthias Mayer.
More in detail, the electronic system is equipped with three accelerometers and three gyroscopes, which sends a continuous stream of data to be analysed by the device’s electronics through a sophisticated algorithm. It is able to identify fall conditions and activate inflation in a matter of milliseconds, significantly reducing the probability of physical injury following impact.
The design of the Safety Jacket, with particular reference to the pneumatic part, is the result of scrupulous planning and testing using simulation programs on the finished elements dedicated to the airbags (Madymo) normally used in the automotive field. As a result, the design has been optimised to ensure maximum protection of the body parts exposed to trauma in the case of a fall from a height of up to two metres, a situation that does not require use of a harness, or in case of any pendulum-effect impacts for those working at heights above two meters, when a harness is used.