An improved road traffic bollard
Microcontroller technology enables innovative road side sign development
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Lighting Equipment and Electric Lamps
    21 Printing
    22 Printing (Signs)
    28 Metal Structures and Parts of Structures

Standard Signs Ltd design, manufacture and sell all types of road-side signs. The company’s current product range of Illuminated Traffic Signs (Bollards) is based on the use of purchased discrete electrical items. This technology prevents the introduction of several marketable features into the current product, and is a significant factor in limiting the growth of the sales of these products.

The objective of the Application Experiment was to integrate a microcontroller into the Illuminated Traffic Bollard, so as to introduce the following product features:

  1. Monitoring of the air temperature surrounding the Bollard to issue a visual warning to motorists and pedestrians of potential ice dangers.
  2. Automatic monitoring of the ambient light level in which the Bollard is operating so as to obviate the need for a clock input allowing lower cost installation.
  3. Control of internal heating elements to improved reliability in cold and damp conditions.

The extra features incorporated into the product will enable the improved ‘Smart Bollard’ to be marketed in markets not currently open to Standard Signs, and the sale of the product at an increased margin. As a consequence, the growth potential for the company through incorporating microelectronics will be significant, exceeding 20% within one year of the product’s launch..

The Smart Bollard was a runner up in the 1998 Western Mail Design and Technology Award (The Western Mail is the Welsh national daily news paper).

The application experiment was completed in 6 months from its start date of 1/12/97. The cost of the prototype development funded by the EC FUSE programme was 35.0 KECU.

The development of a company in-house microelectronics design capability will also enable the transfer of this technology to other products in the company’s product portfolio, with subsequent sales and employment growth. The anticipated payback period for this application experiment is approximately 2 years. The company estimates its return on investment (ROI) for the product development to be 240% based on a 4 year product lifecycle.

The experiment therefore will be of interest to a large number of organisations throughout Europe involved in the design and supply of mature products based on basic mechanical and electrical equipment in a wide variety of industrial sectors and applications.


    Standard Signs & Traffic Systems Ltd.
    Olympic House
    Herbert Road, Newport
    Gwent NP9 7BH
    United Kingdom

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Standard Signs & Traffic Systems Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom