Edinburgh site safety specialist Kite Group has launched a new handrail safety system that it says will have significant cost and environmental benefits.

ModiFix – described as the “first major innovation” in its field in 90 years – uses laser precision cutting that allows handrails to be assembled without the need for clamps or welding. Doing away with this reduces the amount of steel required, lowering costs by up to 20 per cent.

The company, which employs 11 people, has invested £200,000 in the new system and is projecting sales of £1 million in its first year. With revenues of £3.3m in its latest financial year, Kite serves more than 500 clients across the UK on major projects such as works on the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh Trams and Edinburgh Airport.

“Delivering the first major innovation in a product since the 1930s is something we are proud of,” managing director Anthony Wells said.

HeraldScotland: Anthony WellsAnthony Wells

“Tubular steel handrails are so ubiquitous that they are virtually invisible. It is like they have been around so long and are so prevalent that no one stopped to think how they could be improved.”

Founded in 2003, Kite supplies handrails, walkways, ladders, access stairs, roof edge protection systems and fire escapes made from galvanised steel tubes to a variety of industrial and commercial premises. Its new offering has been made possible by advances in computer-controlled laser cutting equipment that allows this to be done in high volumes.

With the cost of steel having more than doubled in the past year, Mr Wells expects ModiFix will be of “huge interest” to local authorities, facilities managers, engineers and contractors.

“It’s also great news for the environment because it dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of every project we complete with the new technique,” he added. “On top of that there are clear health and safety benefits from eliminating the need for welding.”