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Technical Design Assistance for Regulatory Approval for Louvreties product

Our Innovation Clinic, a project funded by the European Union, has recently helped Burnley-based business Louvreties bring a new product to market, complying with legislative changes within the domestic and commercial window blinds sector.

Businesses across Lancashire are leading the way in bringing new products to market, thanks to expert support from The Innovation Clinic at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). We offer free strategic business development support to small and medium sized companies.

FROM BLINDS THAT SWAY, TO BLINDS THAT STAY!

Burnley-based business, Louvreties, was granted a patent in 2010 for a tie-back for window blinds, following a comment from the grandmother of Managing Director David Howarth that a product was needed to stop her newly-fitted blinds moving around in the wind.

Since then, many new legislative requirements and approvals were introduced around child safety, so an improved and more versatile solution was needed. The team at the Innovation Clinic implemented the principles of user-centred design, competitor/customer analysis, regulation/approval research and resource-efficient industrial design. This ensured the product was intuitive to use and fit for purpose.

The result consisted of physical components that provided a versatile modular solution, one that can be used solely as a cord-safety device or complemented with the addition of a tie-back arm, attached via a simple twist-locking method.

The system was approved by the Bureau Veritas in November 2019, after undergoing strict mechanical and material testing around load bearing and UV stability. The new product was launched in mid 2020 and the first supply to traders Decorquip was established in August.

INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE LEADS TO MANUFACTURE-READY SOLUTION

The support from the Innovation Clinic has enabled Louvreties to develop the business with an extended product range which is both versatile and compliant to ever- tightening regulations. 

"The Innovation Clinic helped with the design work of the new concept that was critical up to the point of manufacturing a tool and ensured all the functionality and style criteria was met and was possible in one mouldings tool. A new patent has been applied for and will be the fourth attributed to the concept."

David Howarth, Owner of Louvreties

SUPPORT FOR LANCASHIRE BUSINESSES

The Innovation Clinic is an EU funded project with eight experienced consultants who help local companies turn their new products from a concept into a saleable product.

Support is available to Lancashire-based businesses which employ fewer than 250 full time people and have an annual turnover of less than £40million. The support varies from brief strategic advice through to full product support. Ourteam, based at the University’s Preston Campus, has widespread experience in market research, devising growth strategies,product design and prototype development, through to product testing, manufacturing advice and brand development.

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