Spotlight on Product Development at SWS UK

3 months ago

Over the past year, SWS UK have invested heavily in technology and resources to assist with introducing new products to the market and enhancing those products that the leading manufacturer has already created.

We speak with Product Development Manager, Paul Cowley, to talk us through the recent innovations from SWS UK.

So, Paul, tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I’ve just recently celebrated my five-year anniversary here at SWS. I started as a design engineer and applied for the opportunity to manage the New Product Development department after 18 months.

So, what is a typical week like for you?

There is no typical week, as the nature of the role means always improving products, so weeks can be quite varied!

I could be doing anything from attending trade shows, carrying out market research, testing new products, or innovating and improving those that already exist.

We’ve recently improved the security levels of our SeceuroDoor 75 and 7501 to become the 7502 Industrial. This can withstand increased attack time and more aggressive tools than the other versions, which has been Police and Insurance approved.

We’ve done the same with our SeceuroDoor 95, which now has an SR 1 Rating option. 

What do you think is the biggest quality of SWS?

At SWS, we have the technology – and have invested a lot this year – to design a lot better and quicker, which means what we deliver to the market can be slightly more unique.

So what sort of technology is it that you use to be able to do that?

We use CAD [Computer Aided Design] software, which is common in the manufacturing industry, but we also use FEA software, which is Finite Element Analysis Software. This means that we can test new products virtually before we order for anything to be physically delivered to the business.

Now we can design something in a day, we can test it in a day, and we can know right at the very start that we can reduce material thickness by 1 mm and it’s going to make it more cost-effective but it’s not going to compromise the durability or stability of the product.

We also use a 3D Printer, which means that once we’ve done our virtual stress testing, we can then print things that same day. The 3D printer is in our test lab, so that means we can test whether products are strong enough, but also whether they are all going to fit together. Then once we know that they fit together, we can test for different scenarios, such as whether you can put a bracket on if you’re in a certain direction.

Can you tell me a bit more about the test lab?

We have an internal area, which is testing for smaller doors and experiments. We use cyclical testing to simulate the life cycle of a door, as well as different security tests for our range of products.

Outside we have a large external area where we can test larger products as well, so we can do all our testing with notified bodies of test houses – the people that come in and audit all our products.

And what is the testing for?

We do invest a lot in testing to satisfy the requirements of our CE Marking, so we know that we’re compliant, and that the CE Mark is completely accurate.

We also put a lot of effort on testing against the British Standards – which again, allows us to meet the requirements of the CE Mark.

There’s also testing against other standards, such as SBD [Secured by Design] and for the LPCB [Loss Prevention Certification Board].

Testing is also used for improving products, new ideas we have, and research based on customer suggestions. Part of improving is working out how a product can fit together easier, for instance, and enhancing it that way.

And finally, do you have any new products that you’re designing that you’re able to tell us about?

Unfortunately, I can’t give details about what the products are as they’re top secret, but we do have a lot of exciting products being released over the course of the next year.

What I can say is that we carry out a lot of the market research ourselves. I recently spent about two weeks with customers to gather their feedback. We know that customers want products to be quicker to fit, but it’s about understanding the little niche things that customers like as well.

My team and I have fitted test doors, so we also know if a product can be quicker and easier to install. What we’re trying to do now is design products that are easier to fit but are more intuitive – almost like a jigsaw where you can see where all the pieces fit.

Where we’re getting to is that instead of creating lots of complicated bits, we have a few bits that can be used in many different ways.

Thanks very much Paul!

To contact the SWS UK team about becoming a supplier or installer, you can phone the head office on 01524 772400 between 08:15 and 17:00 Mon-Thur and 08:15 to 15:45 on Fridays. Alternatively, you can use our website to get a quote.