Signaling Systems

When it comes to signaling panels, the idea of the film and its reflectivity as a measure of efficiency quickly comes to mind. This is common among professionals in the road infrastructure sector, meaning that all vertical signaling is treated exclusively as the film and its degree of retroreflectivity as the sole component of vertical signaling.

With the publication of ABNT NBR 15486:2016, a new concept was applied to vertical signaling, that of a “Signaling System” as part of passive safety. Vertical signaling cannot become a fixed obstacle on the road; this is in disagreement with the standard and modern concepts of “Forgiving Roads.”

The composition of a “Vertical Signaling System” consists of the film itself, the substrate on which it will be applied, the elements fixing the substrate to the support, the collapsible support structure, and the foundation of the entire system.

Currently, what is most discussed is undoubtedly the film, even by the giants in the market, and its importance for perfect daytime and nighttime visibility of a panel. The other elements that make up a system are as important as the films, but in the system, the film alone does not stand alone, and the other elements become important even though they may not necessarily be seen.

When it comes to passive safety, all components are important, one complements the other. Regarding support for panels, the standard recommends that before implementing a containment system, a collapsible device must be installed.

Much more than a product that is destroyed when impacted, a passive safety support must meet an extensive series of requirements to be qualified as collapsible, according to standard EN 12767, namely:

  • Collapse at a mandatory minimum speed of 35 km/h;
  • Have its parameters standardized for impacts at 100 km/h or 70 km/h or 50 km/h, according to its executive design;
  • Predictable post-impact behavior;
  • Have its activation mechanism (collapse mode) according to its executive design;
  • Have THIV (Theoretical Head Impact Velocity) and ASI (Acceleration Severity Index) compatible with standard parameters;
  • Have an exit speed to parameterize the energy absorption category according to the standard;
  • Have the lowest risk of roof sinking, preferably less than 10 cm;
  • Have the vehicle with a stable trajectory post-impact;
  • Have its collapse direction class established according to simple, double, or multiple categories.

It is evident that for a certification of a passive safety support, there are a large number of requirements to be met, and not simply, as some technicians affirm, being collapsible is being destroyed on impact.

In the market, there are signaling supports made of steel and also recycled plastic material; however, to be passive safety devices, all approval certifications from “crashtests” conducted according to the standards in force in Europe or the United States must be presented. It is not enough to just say that a device is certified; the required certifications must be presented.

 – Valter Vendramin