Alert Technology Awarded New Innovate UK Loan
Alert Technology Ltd (ATL) are proud to announce their success as one of the first companies to be awarded one of the brand new innovation loans from Innovate UK. This new programme from the UK’s Innovation agency is aimed at providing new low-interest financial support specifically designed to help scale up some of the country’s most innovative companies.
ATL, developers of the ‘Asbestos ALERT’ – the world’s first and only real-time warning device for airborne asbestos fibres, are motivated by the aspiration that no person should have to put their health at risk, or the health of those around them, by unknowingly being exposed to airborne asbestos fibres at work.
The ALERT unit was designed to help reduce that risk of prolonged unintentional exposure to airborne asbestos and the diseases associated with it. Using patented laser light scattering technology in conjunction with the unique paramagnetic properties of asbestos fibres – ALERT provides a vital early warning, alerting users if they have inadvertently disturbed asbestos during maintenance, renovation, or demolition.
ATL are one of just 13 pioneering small businesses to benefit from a total of £8m loaned out in this first round of Innovate UK’s recently launched £50m pilot programme. The first round was targeted at business who could successfully demonstrated their innovation and ability to seize the business opportunities created by the challenges of population growth, accelerating urbanization and climate change which will allow them to compete in the new global smart infrastructure market estimated to be worth over 1.2 trillion per year by 2025.
Innovate UK’s new Executive Chair, Dr Ian Campbell says: “Innovative businesses require innovative finance, so we’re excited about the opportunities Innovation Loans are now unlocking for UK businesses to lead the revolution ininfrastructure, urban living, energy and connected transport. We’ve seen high levels of demand for this new, affordable, flexible and low interest finance option for innovation and we’re confident it will help high potential UK businesses to scale up, create high value jobs and ultimately accelerate economic growth and improve the quality of life across all regions.”
Innovation Loans offer affordable, patient, flexible, low-interest repayable finance for innovative projects with a clear route to commercial success which Alert Technology were able to successfully demonstrate.
ATL’s motivation to help prevent unintentional asbestos exposure stems from Managing Director, Alan Archer. “Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not a historic problem. It may have been banned in the UK in 1999, but it remains a major health risk – and that is not just in the UK. Asbestos exposure is the cause of 1 in every 3 occupational cancers, claiming the lives of 5,000 Britons and over 100,000 lives globally every year. Having worked in the construction trades in my youth, I’ve had first-hand experience of working with asbestos and sadly over the decades I’ve lost a number of friends and former colleagues to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and other related cancers. It is my ambition with ALERT to reduce this risk and with it, the number of lives unnecessarily lost or damaged irreparably.”
Loretta King, Marketing and Communications Director at ATL explains, “There is currently no other reliable, real-time warning device available for monitoring airborne asbestos fibres. ALERT is capable of distinguishing asbestos from other non-asbestos fibres in the air offering a life-saving solution which provides that vital early warning if works result in the release of asbestos fibres into the air.”
Asbestos is only dangerous when fibres become airborne and inhaled – the HSE have dubbed it the “Hidden Killer” because it is invisible to the human eye and has no obvious smell or taste. Thanks to prolific use for generations in over 3,500 products the UK and much of the rest of the world are now left dealing with a legacy of asbestos.
Commonly used in the construction of domestic, public and commercial buildings, including a frightening 85% of our UK schools, asbestos unfortunately can be found everywhere. It can be safely managed when it is clearly identified, remains in good condition and is left untouched.
“The problem with this is that identifying all sources of asbestos within a building’s structure or assessing its condition isnot always possible”, Mrs King expands. “With ‘ALERT’ we hope to reduce the risk of exposure during renovation, demolition and general maintenance in public, commercial and domestic buildings and transport systems.”
It’s thanks to this innovative life-saving new technology that ATL met Innovate UK’s ‘first of a kind’ scope which will enable the company to accelerate its path to commercialization.
The money will enable ATL to develop its working proto-type units – currently undergoing field trials with future customers and the HSL – into production ready unit ready for manufacture and commercial launch. This will involve ATL
expanding its current team and progressing with planned upgrades to ALERT’s electronics, software and design to aid manufacture. We are actively looking for people to join our team with skills and experience in areas of Electronics Design, Technical Sales, occupational hygiene or asbestos abatement.
ATL aim to launch their first model, the ALERT PRO 1000 in Q4 2018 aimed at the professional construction, demolition, asbestos abatement, occupational health and emergency services sectors, followed by two other models in 2019.