2018 has been a big year for Reliance Foundry. Sales have toppled all historical records, reaching back as far as 1925 and the big iron projects of yesteryear. This summer’s growth was particularly exciting, with July being a record-breaking month, and then August’s sales overtopping that high-water mark. November has historically been one of our slowest months, but this year we were almost as busy as in the summer.
Sales numbers only tell part of the story. Innovation and expansion have been a priority this year. Several large-scale custom projects—in collaboration with clients, architects, and other manufacturers—have offered creative and design challenges to our engineering teams. Reliance’s commitment to providing training and career development to all staff encouraged several co-workers to take courses both online and off. Their newfound skills have brought leadership and new ideas to the company.
This year has seen us invest in team- and legacy-building. Our staff grew by 10%, and HR reached out to all employees, old and new, to co-create a corporate culture that brings out the best in everyone. We’ve worked hard and taken time to celebrate our work, with many fun team-building events!
Over the year, some substantial trends developed in our inventory, and we thought we’d peer into the data and see what was most successful this year. Here are the best bollards of 2018, the models that topped sales in each category.
Removable bollards: R-8464 Stainless Steel
Bollard Stats: Height: 35-1/2 in Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in Base Diameter: 6-1/2 in Weight: 26 lbs Material: 316 Stainless Steel
It is easy to see why the R-8464 Stainless Steel bollard takes top honors for removable bollards this year. The current trend in bollard design is toward stainless steel, a complement to modern buildings built of glass and metal. Many sites use a line of these removable bollards to shape a variable perimeter, forming a multi-use space that sometimes is pedestrian-only and other times is a vehicle access point.
Removable bollards can be placed in conjunction with fixed bollards to create a single access point. Such a system is especially effective in letting only authorized traffic have access to roads, parking, or bays. The R-8464 can be installed as the only removable access point in a similarly-styled row of stand-alone stainless models.
This stainless steel bollard is a clear visual guide to drivers, yet it is light enough to make for easy removal and replacement. A single key lock located at the top of the post allows the bollard to be placed and locked without stooping or bending.
- Those who like the R-8464’s single-key internal lock may also be interested in the retractable R-8471. The retractable model has the same single lock design but slides neatly into a below grade receptacle when stowed, removing the need for off-site storage. The R-8471 locks upright only. The R-8472 also has a single key internal lock for securing the bollard whether raised or lowered.
- Those looking for a slender stainless post with architectural flair may also be interested in the R-8901 bollard. It is 36 inches tall and has a diameter of 4-1/3 inches, so is similar in size to the R-8464, but it features a softly rounded top and three annular rings, offering eye-catching ornamental style.
Decorative bollards: R-7539 Classic Decorative Bollard
Bollard Stats: Height: 35-3/4 in Body Diameter: 5-7/8 in Base Diameter: 10-1/4 in Weight: 75 lbs Material: Ductile Iron Maximum Interior Pipe Height: 25 in Diameter: 4-1/2 in
The classically styled R-7539 is usually our top seller. This year it was narrowly edged out by the R-8464, the stainless steel removable. Still, the R-7539 continues to be our top selling decorative bollard of all time, both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It can be placed over security posts made of steel and concrete, installed as a standalone bollard, or given a removable footing.
Buildings that are classically designed, are made of brick or stone, and have heavy or ornate edifices are enhanced with the dignified profile of our decorative bollards. Black is the most popular color, applied as a powder-coat that helps seal the iron underneath, but six standard colors are available including silver and statuary brown. For very large orders, custom colors are available.
- Ductile iron is a weighty, strong, traditional material for bollards. However, for those seeking a lighter bollard for removable applications, the same design is available as R-7539-AL, made of lighter aluminum. Just as with the iron bollards, these aluminum bollards can be used as security covers, with removable mountings, or in standalone applications.
- The R-7539 is part of a family of similar bollards with small differences in detailing. This winning model has vertical ribs and a spherical top proportional to its body. However, other popular versions include the R-7551, similar except for a smooth body, and the R-7555, which has a larger ball as a cap, proportional to its footing. These small details change the overall impression of the bollard, varying how ornate or imposing it appears.
Stainless steel bollard covers: R-7305
Bollard Stats: Height: 36 in Body Diameter: 8-5/8 in Weight: 46 lbs Material: 316 Stainless Steel Maximum Interior Pipe Height: 34 in Diameter: 6-5/8 in
This was a breakout year for stainless steel bollard covers. Although our plastic bollard sleeves continue to perform at a constant rate, we saw building interest in stainless steel and so unveiled new size and shape options in stainless bollard covers. For property managers looking to improve the aesthetic of their sites, a stainless cover over a traditional steel-and-concrete security pipe can profoundly change the curb appeal of a frontage, parking lot, or driveway. The R-7305 is sized for storefront-protective security pipe.
Made of 316 stainless steel, which is corrosion resistant even in salt-rich environments, the R-7305 does not need to be powder coated to protect it. However, there are six different colors available, for those who like the simplicity of the shape with a colorful look.
- For those covering a similar-sized pipe but who want a slightly different look, the flat-topped R-7307 is a simple column with a brushed stainless finish or the possibility of optional powder coat.
- R-7109 plastic covers can be fitted over the same size of security bollard, offering a cheerful but inexpensive way to protect bollards from corrosion and wear. These are available in ten colors, from safety yellow to matte black, and one of four colors of reflective tape.
Solar lighting bollards: R-9811
Bollard Stats: Height: 36 in Body Diameter: 6 in Base Diameter: 6 in Weight: 51 lbs Material: Steel Maximum Interior Pipe Height: 20 in Diameter: 4-1/2 in
The R-9811 is perennially popular due to its smart technology and stand-alone, self-powering design. This LED lighting bollard has internal solar panels that work with high-capacity batteries and a smart, adaptive onboard computer, to monitor weather conditions, and adjust output for continuous illumination. The light cast can be chosen as either warm or neutral white. With timed programming available—for example, programming the light to fall to 30% output in the small hours of the morning—site managers can help preserve battery charge. However, the onboard power management will also monitor and adapt, allowing this bollard to keep the lights on for up to 14 days without direct sunlight.
These bollards have withstood our in-house durability tests, and installed they have survived floods, vandalism, and winter weather, making them a robust stand-alone solution to outdoor lighting needs.
- The R-9811 comes with two optional features. The R-9811-FL comes with a flanged base so that it can bolt down onto existing concrete. The R-9811-B comes with bike-locking arms, so that it operates not only as a light and traffic guide, but also as bike parking.
Predicting the best bollards of 2019
As the New Year approaches, it can be fun to guess at what changes might come in the following year. We are already looking at new hiring and employee development, to match continuing growth in sales trends. Guessing what products might be break-out new favorites, however, requires a little more forecasting imagination.
Greek column inspired R-7535 is increasingly chosen to spruce up high-impact bollards. These large bollards can cover a 10-3/4 inch security post, and are often shipped with a light powder coat. With site managers increasingly choosing stainless steel and high-impact traffic bollards, these thick covers, perhaps in a silver powder-coat, may be a decorative alternative waiting to catch on.
Polyurethane flexible bollards are another prime contender. In Europe, these thick plastic bollards are often used to separate bike lanes. They are both more visible and durable than the slender polyethylene plastic delimiters more common in North America. Typical North American delineators are a source of some frustration to cyclists, as motorists often ignore plastic lane markers and light impact can rip them from their flexible base. In contrast, polyurethane bends throughout the bollard body, making it more resilient to impact, but the substantial size (and loud sound upon impact) means that drivers generally steer clear.
As cycling increases its transportation-share, and savvy businesses and cities work to provide bike infrastructure, appropriate bike parking becomes more important. Bike lockers, great for employee cyclists who commute to work, have been a surprising success in California. Since California often sets trends, it will be interesting to see if that segment grows, nationwide.
Whatever is in store, Reliance Foundry wishes everyone a safe and happy 2019!