Engineer Giovanni Bisutti has received a £75,000 NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts) Invention & Innovation award to develop a system that could reduce the vibration experienced by pneumatic tool operators by about 60%.
Injuries caused by the vibration of pneumatic tools affect an estimated 1 million people in the UK and cost the economy £150 million a year.
The problem is, that to be fully effective, pneumatic handheld tools, like road breakers, require the operator to apply downward pressure.
The firm grip used by the operator increases the level of vibration that is sent back through the hands and arms and can cause Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (also known as Vibration White Finger), which can effect the circulation, sensory and motor nerves and cause musculoskeletal problems.
Bisutti’s Newmatic Variable Mass System aims to reduce this through using an extra mass of water that surrounds the piston assembly in the handheld tool to supply the downward pressure instead. To make sure that the tool is not too heavy to lift, the water is contained in a reservoir separate from the appliance, but quickly (within three seconds) transferred through operating the trigger on the tool.
The system will use 15kg of water varying the weight of the tool from 25Kg to 40Kg.