Foiling cash-in-transit heists
Cash-in-transit heists are well-planned criminal operations, executed with military-style planning and precision. In this form of robbery, criminals attack cash at its most vulnerable: away from the safekeeping of the bank and under the protection of only two or three armed guards.
Thanks to technology developed by the CSIR, security companies are now able to reduce attacks on their cash-intransit vehicles. This innovation involves the installation of a polyurethane dispensing unit (the PUDU), which is essentially a sense-and-deploy device that dispenses quick-drying and solidifying polyurethane foam into the vault area of cash-intransit vehicles when they are attacked. The polyurethane covers the cash in the vehicle’s vault and makes it impossible for attackers to retrieve the transported assets from the vehicle.
The PUDU has been designed and developed for use in modular armoured vehicles, as well as the multipurpose vehicles that are used in the cash-in-transit industry. Its primary purpose is to protect the assets in the vault area of the vehicle in the case of a heist. It can be activated by different methods, depending on the client’s needs and risk exposure. It has been tested in the field and has a proven track record in safeguarding assets during cash-in-transit heists, leading to asset recovery and a significant reduction in actual attacks.
The PUDU was originally developed for SBV Services, a local cash risk management company that has been rated by Lloyds of London as “the best risk managed cash-in-transit company in the world”. The development of this technology was initiated in the 1990s when the company approached the CSIR with its need to develop technology to protect the so-called ‘soft skin vehicles’ transporting high volumes of cash. Although the protection of the vehicle itself had been achieved by bullet-proofing and armour-plating the vehicle, what was needed was a way to protect the assets inside the vehicle from attack.
Since the CSIR developed the first prototype and patented the innovation, it has been used by its client, SBV Services. In a statement, the company proclaimed that “we trust the PUDU to provide the last line of defence against attacks”. It follows a two-pronged approach to safety and security: firstly the armour on the vehicles ensures the safety of its staff, and secondly, the PUDU ensures that the assets that are being transported are protected.
The CSIR has gone on to develop four generations of the product. It has now been licensed to the QD Group, a local company that designs, manufactures and distributes cash protection systems. According to Delon Mudaly, a CSIR manager of intellectual property and technology transfer for materials science and manufacturing, “This technology will now be available to the entire market, and other security companies can access this benefit too.”
The licensing agreement allows the QD Group to manufacture the PUDU in South Africa, and to market and sell it locally and internationally. It has already been exported to security companies in South America, continental Europe and the United Kingdom, and the market potential looks encouraging.