"The industry needed an “off the shelf system” that did not require costly permitting, design, and installation costs typically associated with permanent foundation-based systems. The fact that customers could relocate the Griffin to another area of their facility in need of fall protection was a significant time and cost benefit being demanded in the market. Traditional horizontal cable system lacked the ability to properly protect workers accessing flatbed trucks (or similar lower height vehicles or equipment) due to the degree of dynamic sag experienced in a fall arrest with this type of system," explains Mike Evanko, marketing manager for Rigid Lifelines. "Simply put, overhead horizontal cable lifeline systems would most likely allow the worker to come in contact with the ground or an object below. Transportability, low clear fall requirements, quick set-up time, and reasonable costs were the key features lacking in the fall protection market. The Griffin meets those needs."
NED: How is this fall protection system different from similar products?
ME: The Griffin provides the market with a transportable (skidded or wheeled) track fall arrest system with spans up to 60 ft. Griffins are available in many versions that range from multiple worker access to passable dual track design, allowing workers to pass one another without having to disconnect (something not permitted with typical overhead wire cable systems).
NED: What problems did you encounter during the development process?
ME: Initially, it was thought that a fork truck would be suitable to allow a customer to relocate the Griffin to another area of their facility when needed. Though functional for those having a fork truck rated at 15,000 lb, a faster method of transport was being demanded. Rigid Lifelines Engineering responded with a towable package option for customers needing faster transport or for areas where the use of a forklift was not feasible.
NED: How long did it take from conception to final production?
ME: After the Griffin product was released from R&D, it took about 12 months to go execute the design, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of the product.
NED: Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of this product?
ME: As there are few comparable items in the market that compete against the Griffin, we needed to consider the cost of the Griffin against permanent foundation-based systems being offered in the market, both cable and I-beam based. The toughest challenge is to ensure that a potential customer weighing the two options consider all factors affecting cost. Permanent foundations require permits, and during excavations in providing concrete foundations, customers may encounter a number of unforeseen issues such as utilities needing to be relocated, high concentration of bedrock, high water tables, etc., all of which drive up final costing. The Griffin, though seen as a higher material cost, is ultimately priced to save customers money when compared to permanent foundation-based alternatives being touted in the market.
NED: Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they achieve from using this product?
ME: There are various vehicle maintenance applications that the Griffin can be applied to, including truck, railcar, and aircraft applications. However, truck maintenance and loading/unloading applications are by far the most common. Specifically, we target truck applications that involve trucks that are classified as Class 5 to Class 8 trucks. This would include fleet equipment and truck maintenance and manufacturing in industries such as construction, mining, logging, excavating, mass transit, and truck trailer body building.
NED: Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.
ME: The name Griffin refers to a mythological creature that was known to protect the King’s most precious treasures. Who is more priceless than a company’s employees?