Already active in more than 40 countries, the Pitagone company has developed a unique safety system which makes it possible to stop ram trucks. Close-up on a Brussels company which will also ensure the safety of spectators at the Qatar Football World Cup in 2022.
What do the Elysée Palace, the Tokyo Olympics, the Ramblas in Barcelona and the British royal family have in common? All benefit from a Belgian guardian angel. Or more precisely safety barriers manufactured in Brussels and whose mobile system is unique in the world.
What do the Elysée Palace, the Tokyo Olympics, the Ramblas in Barcelona and the British royal family have in common? All benefit from a Belgian guardian angel. Or more precisely safety barriers manufactured in Brussels and whose mobile system is unique in the world. Born in 2016 in the midst of a wave of Islamist attacks, the Belgian company Pitagone has in fact forged a solid reputation in the fight against terrorism with an innovative concept that quickly won over the police forces of different countries. “We have created modular barriers that are capable of stopping, over a distance of 30 meters, a 7.5-ton ram truck traveling at nearly 50 km/h, explains Marc Weissberg, CEO of Pitagone. The principle is inspired a bit by judo, that is to say that we use the strength and energy of the adversary, in this case the truck, to stop it thanks to a pendulum system. there is a shock, the barrier will pivot and find an anchor in the ground to stop the ram truck.” The original concept developed by Pitagone was patented, then certified in 2017 by a leading German organization which, with supporting tests, gave the Brussels-based company a certain credibility on the security market. At the time, the climate was rather anxiety-provoking after the ramming attacks in Nice and Berlin in 2016, then in Barcelona the following year. The police forces were then on their toes, especially since the usual security systems consisted mainly of bollards – heavy cylinders fixed in the ground – not always adapted to an effective fight against this new form of terrorism on wheels. The mobile dimension of the barriers designed by Pitagone and the flexibility of the solutions provided by the Belgian company will quickly arouse the curiosity, then the interest of the police authorities and event organizers. “In 2018, we participated in our very first trade show in London and won a contract with the Metropolitan Police, says CEO Marc Weissberg. It was the first time that this institution purchased equipment abroad to equip its own security systems. Today, our barriers are used when the Metropolitan Police need to protect the British Royal Family when traveling outside Buckingham Palace.” Unexpected, this crowned reference will really launch Pitagone on the market. In a few months, the Belgian company multiplies the contracts and wins the confidence of other prestigious institutions. Arlington Cemetery, a Mecca for American tourism (where two former Presidents of the United States, including John Fitzgerald Kennedy, are buried), has thus been equipped with Belgian security barriers. These mobile ramparts were used in particular to secure this place of memory just a year ago, when President Joe Biden came to meditate, on the day of his inauguration, at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In Paris, it was the police services of the Elysée who chose the ramparts of Pitagone to ensure the safety of the French president. In order to blend these a priori unsightly elements into the elegant decor of the Parisian palace, the Belgian barriers have been tinted with a more discreet green, which underlines another advantage of the Brussels company: its mobile systems can be “customised”. , displaying here a color desired by the sponsor; there, the logo of an event organizer who would like more visibility in secure locations. Alongside “sensitive” institutions, Pitagone’s mission is to distil its expertise in places reserved for large festive, sporting or cultural gatherings. Christmas markets, concerts, football matches, shows, tennis tournaments, etc. These events can also be the target of potential terrorists and security barriers must therefore be ideally deployed to prevent any risk of a ramming truck attack. In their list of clients, the Belgians of Pitagone thus include the organizers of several sporting high masses such as the Roland Garros Internationals, the semi-finals and final of the Euro football tournament in London in 2021, as well as several rugby tournaments. . In Japan, the Brussels company also won a major contract to ensure the safety of spectators at the stadium entrances for the last Olympic Games in Tokyo. “Due to the pandemic and the absence of an audience in the stadiums, the organizers did not end up buying everything that had been planned, but it remains a good reference for us despite everything”, specifies CEO Marc Weissberg. Promised for a bright future from its launch, Pitagone has suffered somewhat from health measures over the past two years since many shows, Christmas markets and sporting events have been subject to serious restrictions or simply been cancelled. “We have been slowed down in our development with the Covid-19, but we remain optimistic despite everything, because contracts and options are multiplying, rejoices Marc Weissberg. Today, our security barriers are present in more than 40 countries and we have also just signed a very large contract in Germany with the Volkmann group, which is one of the European leaders in the road equipment sector. It will distribute our product throughout the country with ambitious objectives.” In Dubai, the Belgian company is also present on the site of the Universal Exhibition and will soon be active on the lands of another emirate since Pitagone has just been selected among the few companies that will provide security at the entrance to the stadiums and fan zones in Qatar during the next Football World Cup in the fall of 2022. Currently in negotiations to also secure the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, the Brussels company is therefore continuing its fine success story. Pitagone’s turnover is also about to explode with the signing of the latest contracts and, no doubt, the concretization of several orders to come. From 2.5 million in 2021, it could be multiplied by three, four or even five by the end of this year. “We barely touch 1 to 2% of the market, concludes CEO Marc Weissberg. There is enormous potential and we know that we can play an even greater role in it.” At Pitagone, the bar of 5,000 barriers produced per year will therefore soon be crossed and this is all benefit for the local economy since these mobile ramparts are produced by Travie, the largest adapted work company in Brussels, with steel 100% Belgian.