ERA, the security expert, is continually investing in product development. Much of this is of course market-led, and from time to time fabricators and installers request very specific product development collaboration in order to future-proof their business and to be able to differentiate themselves effectively from their competitors.
A great example of this type of collaborative product development is a project recently completed by ERA for Solidor, the manufacturer and supplier of composite doors. Fitted and installed by a nationwide network of approved installers, the extensive Solidor range of doors is widely admired for its stunning design and unparalleled security. So when Solidor asked ERA to come up with some new hardware it was clearly vital that both form and function would be equally important.
ERA developed two new colours for Solidor in the course of the project: Heritage Black and Pewter. The new colours are intended for three door handles, two door knockers, a letter plate and a door knob. Additionally, ERA came up with an enhanced door hinge featuring a cover held in place by means of a clip. Solidor had been sourcing a hinge whose cover had been screwed into position, and the new product now offers the company the improved aesthetics of clean lines and colour-matching with other hardware used. The third part of the project involved the development of a new heritage style Pull in all of ERA’s Fab&Fix colours.
A key part of the collaboration between ERA and Solidor involved the use of 3D printing in order to enable all concerned to see exactly how products would look right from the early design stage. The 3D models produced were painted so that both teams could see clearly the effect that the colours used in the production process would have. Once the 3D models had been approved ERA then developed the requisite tools and tool samples to facilitate production.
Pierre Mifsud, Solidor’s Technical Director said:
“We have been very pleased with the service we have received from ERA in this product development project. It was fascinating to visit the company’s UKAS-accredited test lab in order to ensure that the products were going to perform correctly, which was especially important in the case of the new hinge. It was great that ERA’s 3D printing was able to show us how much product consistency we were going to be able to secure.“
One of the great outcomes of ERA’s move to brand new purpose-built premises on the i54 business park just outside Wolverhampton last year was the fact that the design and development departments were brought together under one roof. The new 135,625 sq ft site is now home to the company’s state-of-the-art research and product development hub, design team, test facilities as well as manufacturing, warehousing and training facilities. Having the teams together not only facilitates great collaboration amongst them but also with fabrictor and installer customers too, as has been borne out by the results of the project just completed with Solidor.