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The changing face of wiring devices

Traditionally, deciding which wiring devices to use in a project was pretty simple. The majority were white and made of plastic and their job was to turn things on and off. Today, there is more to consider. Suzanne Gill reports

A selection from the Legrand family of wiring accessories


Asked about wiring device trends, Caroline Boden of Legrand told EP&A: "In recent years wiring devices have undergone massive change, the main reason can be attributed to the explosion in technologies used at home and work.

"In practical terms, this has meant that, where once the demand for wiring devices was limited to one light switch and a couple of power points per room, it is now a great deal more. As the number of required wiring devices increased, their impact grew and styling became more important. To meet this need we introduced the Synergy range." Synergy was one of the first wiring accessory ranges to be designed as an interior design feature. Key to this was the creation of two distinctly different decorative product offerings, Synergy Modern and Synergy Traditional, which are offered in a choice of finishes to complement the design theme.

Caroline believes that key trends influencing the market range from the growing demand for home automation and lighting management systems, through to expanding home and commercial media needs and regulatory changes. While the Synergy range has evolved, Legrand has also been busy developing a new range. The result is Arteor – a wiring device and home automation range that combines style with state-of-the-art technology.

From basic switches, through advanced home automation systems, it offers an array of stand-alone and system functions, for virtually any commercial or residential projects.
So where next for the wiring device? Caroline believes that demand for home automation will continue as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable. Sustainability is key across both commercial and residential sectors. She said: "It is a fair assumption to make that the wiring device will become ever more important. As such, we anticipate a continued surge in development."

Click Scolmore's Minigrid

Tracking trends

When EP&A visited Click Scolmore we asked sales director, Barrie Gilmore, how the company was addressing the changing wiring accessory trends. He told us: "We are continually developing our range. Our product development team track market trends, building regulations and approval standards so we can increase our range to meet the changing needs of our customers. For example, we recently introduced the anthracite grey, Click Mode Part M range, which offers solutions to Part M Building regulation requirements."

Part M of the building regulations refers to wiring accessories that help people with disabilities to easily

activate a light, socket or control. For the visually impaired this means being able to identify the unit’s position against its surrounding décor.
Barrie continues: "The housing market is fundamental to the wiring accessories business. We have identified a trend amongst housebuilders to upgrade the wiring accessories in new build projects, in a bid to make the property stand out in a slow market." The Click Scolmore MiniGrid mounting plates can help make this an easy task too. MiniGrid mounting plates and modules allow contractors to choose from a range of grid modules and mounting plates - module options include rocker switches, dimmer switches, keyswitches and fused connection units. MiniGrid cover plates are available in a variety of configurations and colour finishes - from the 1 gang plate with single aperture, through to the latest additions, the 12 and 18 module plates. The simple, single screw installation of the modules onto the mounting plates makes it easy for contractors to devise and install customised switching solutions on site. The fully interchangeable MiniGrid modules are fitted as standard into Click’s moulded and decorative ranges.

UK production benefits

Changing design trends do not seem to be an issue for UK wiring accessories manufacturer, Focus SB. When EP&A visited the company, we took a look around its plate manufacturing facilities to find out how it keeps up with changing demands. We found that its investment in flexible tooling, and a UK manufacturing base, help the company to react quickly to changing trends, for both standard and bespoke plates.

Products from the Focus SB range

Roger Kemp, managing director of Focus SB told us that his team always enjoys a challenge: "We are able to produce special plates that can incorporate the latest smart home technology to any specification. Each plate can be manufactured to suit the demands of the insert, thereby creating decorative solutions that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing."

Focus SB is able to offer switching solutions for the many modules and devices in use today. It is one of the few UK companies that make their own plates, and it is this that gives the company the ability to offer a fast, efficient and cost-effective customisation service. Where required, plates can also be engraved or silk screened to provide a truly personal finish.


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