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Britplas launch new Multask handle for mental health environments

Britplas have launched a new operating handle for their award-winning Safevent window. The Multask was launched at Design in Mental Health 2019 and replaces three separate pieces of hardware, bringing improvements in both functionality and aesthetics.

The Safevent window is designed specifically for mental health environments, providing safety and security whilst also allowing natural light and ventilation and a high degree of patient control. Up to now, the window controls have comprised a ‘wizzy winder’, patient thumb lock and staff lock. The new patented Multask handle provides the functionality of all three components within an anti-ligature, stainless steel shell that has passed all relevant industry tests for mental health environments.

The brand-new handle can be stopped at any point of being open or closed, giving both the service user and staff increased flexibility over both ventilation and privacy. The anti-tamper design of the staff lock greatly reduces the potential for damage and associated maintenance costs.

“The Multask was very well received at the recent Design in Mental Health exhibition” commented Britplas head of sales Neil Guest.

“Innovation is an important part of our culture at Britplas and the continuous improvement of our proprietary product range will always be a priority. We have completed the first window installations using the new hardware and feedback has been very positive..”

Bright Thinking leads to continuous development of products

Since its inception in 2006, Britplas’ Safevent window for mental health has evolved through 8 models whilst the sill used has remained the same until recently.

With every detail of our proprietary window products under constant review, our dedicated research and development department has recently been focusing on improvements to the sill design of the Safevent. Key to the drainage efficiency and the overall aesthetics of the window, the development process has resulted in a new, mental health specific, Safevent variant with four brand new sill profiles for both internal and external sliding Safevents following a 6-month process.

By switching from face drained to bottom drained sills, we removed the need for press-in plastic drainage caps and minimised the chances of the drainage channel being blocked, creating a more efficient system.

 

The Britplas way

Bright Thinking is one of our core values at Britplas, and the continuous improvement of our products through the R&D department is key in Britplas maintaining this principle. The Safevent window, our flagship product for the mental health sector, is always under review. The new sill is the latest adaptation using our philosophy to ensure that clients have access to the best products and service possible

Britplas’ Research and Development Manager Steve McGuire explains more about this latest development:

 

How long did the process take?

The process took around 6 months – the new sills were designed in about a month. We then had to produce die drawings and source which thermal breaks would work best with the extrusions. Accurate die drawings were then sent out to 3 extruding companies for pricing. We then produced a cost comparison spreadsheet to compare all the extrusion costs including die costs. The next task was to look at rolling and painting costs from the powder coaters. This all took around 6 weeks.

The next stage involved ordering sample extrusion lengths for testing. Drainage test results for all four sill profiles were excellent, so we knew we had cracked the design. Production was ordered including extrusion, rolling and painting, and we prepared the product for internal launch including the creation of an ECN pack, issuing of Britplas part numbers and drawings for the sills and end caps, and full briefings held with our procurement, design, production and sales teams.

 

When was the Safevent mental health sill last altered?

The Safevent sill design has not altered significantly over the past six years.

 

What extra functionality has been added and why is this important in mental health?

By switching from face drained to bottom drained sills, we have been able to remove the press-in plastic drainage caps which service users could potentially break off the windows leaving unsightly slots in the face of the Safevent. There was also the possibility of blockage due to the path of the drainage through the frames.

By switching the drainage through the bottom of the frames, no slots are visible so there is no need for plastic drain covers any longer. This has also allowed us to extend the drainage slots through the frame to allow water to drain through the system much more quickly and effectively. This prevents any water from pooling in the frame.

Investment in tech helps Britplas slicken sales process

Last year Britplas invested in a 3d printer, purchased to reduce costs and time lines associated with developing new parts or new design ideas. Prototypes can now be turned around in hours rather than weeks at a greatly reduced cost, helping address sometimes troublesome design issues and so ensuring the right solution is offered.

Through printing and sending cross sections of bespoke curtain walling solutions, the sales team was able to visually demonstrate new ideas and designs to both contractors and architects, achieving the best possible result for all. This method was used to solve a number of small but critical design issues on a large project which Britplas successfully tendered for this summer.

The printer works by digitally slicing up a CAD model into a series of layers, each layer is then fed to a heated extruder at 230 degrees, liquefying a plastic polymer before rapidly solidifying to form the desired shape.

Ben Woodward, Britplas Pre-Installations Manager commented ‘We are always looking to help clients and their design teams when looking at unusual or challenging façade design issues and the new printer has definitely made a significant difference in testing ideas and confirming via practical demonstration that certain concepts are viable’.

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