This week, light switches in a sexy leather outfit, door locks that don't need a key and a digital lighting system that even technophobes can program. Plus the latest news hot off the manufacturers' conveyor belts
Switches dressed in leather
Leather-clad accessories specialist Turnstyle Designs has added a range of switches and sockets to its portfolio of door and cabinet handles. The faceplates are covered in a choice of black, chestnut and chocolate-coloured vegetable-tanned bridal leather and the metal switches are available in a choice of metallic finishes. The company has also diversified into metal door handles with the introduction of its Tube range. Four finishes are available: satin nickel, polished chrome, polished brass and dark bronze. Other door and window hardware including hinges, switches and sockets will also be available in the same choice of finishes.
Turnstyle Designs 301

Mega-efficient boilers
Heating products maker Baxi Potterton has launched a range of five gas-condensing, wall-mounted boilers. The HE Plus range is based on the original Baxi HE range but has 42 product enhancements. These include a new heat exchanger, a more robust ceramic plaque burner and simplified electronics. The company says the boilers have SEDBUK Band A energy-efficiency ratings. There are three combination boilers, the Combi 80HE, Combi 100HE and Combi 133HE with outputs of 24 kW, 30 kW and 39 kW respectively. These offer hot water flow rates of 10 l/min, 12 l/min and 16 l/min with a 35ºC temperature rise. There are two boilers designed for use with a separate hot water tank: the 30 kW 100HE Plus for use with unvented heating systems and the 30 kW 100/2HE for use with traditional vented heating systems.
Baxi Potterton 302

Air-conditioning for small spaces
Mitsubishi Electric has updated its M series of air-conditioning systems for use in apartments, small offices and shops. The products now use R410A refrigerant and inverter-driven heat pumps for greater energy efficiency.

The range includes a ceiling-mounted inverter ceiling cassette. It can run pipes up to 30 m horizontally and 15 m vertically and has a multi-split capability so that a single outdoor unit can be connected to several indoor units. The options include cassette, ducted, wall, ceiling and floor-mounted versions operated by remote control. The system has an output of up to 6.2 kW cooling, and 7.5 kW heating.
Mitsubishi Electric 303

Easy-fit flexible piping
Manufacturer Uponor Housing Solutions has introduced a range of flexible, pre-insulated pipes for outdoor applications. The company says the product, called Ecoflex, is suitable for connecting supplies to a single dwelling or an entire development. As it is made from plastic, it is said to be easier to install in trenches than metal pipes.

The range includes pipes suitable for heating, drinking water, foodstuffs and chemicals. The pipes can be pre-cut to a specified length and delivered to the site on a roll ready for installing straight into the trench.
Uponor Housing Solutions 304

Remote-controlled door locks
Door maker Lindman has brought out a remote-controlled locking system for domestic applications. The company believes the system to be the first of its type on the market. The door lock is operated by a programmable key fob in the same way as a car locking system. The system can include an alarm system and if a key fob is lost it can be barred so locks don't have to be changed. The company says it is particularly suitable for elderly and disabled people as the door pulls shut and locks behind the user without further action being required. The door can still be opened manually from inside in case of emergency. The lock motor can operate any number of locks within the door, and all parts are concealed within the door and frame.
Lindman 305

Louvres that don't need drains
Louvre and sunscreening specialist Levolux has launched a range of aluminium louvres for cladding plant rooms in commercial and industrial buildings. The company says the system, called VLS50X, minimises airflow resistance through the louvre while maintaining good weather performance. Water is removed from the airflow through the louvre's aerodynamic shape instead of relying on upstands and drains that can become clogged with dirt. The blades can be used at different spacings, and the company says that when they are spaced 50 mm apart they form a continuous visual barrier irrespective of the angle of view. The louvres are available in a choice of anodised or mill finishes, or in powder coat colours.
Levolux 306

Traditional bricks under one brand
Brick maker Ibstock has brought together all its handmade bricks from its six factories that produce traditionally-made bricks under the name Ancestry. The range includes bricks from Sussex made from Weald clays, yellow London stock bricks from Kent and a choice of bricks made in Dorset and Devon.
Ibstock 307

Change of lighting scene
Light switch maker Hamilton Litestat has introduced a range of digital lighting controllers called Digital Mercury. The system can control two, four, six or eight lighting channels by connecting the lighting control boards together within one control box. It is suitable for controlling lighting circuits via computer cabling and can control up to either 600 W or 1200 W per circuit depending on specification. The company says it is easy to install and is suitable for smaller domestic applications. The system can remember up to four lighting scenes – the user adjusts the level of each channel of light to create a scene and the system recreates this setting when the lights are next turned on.
Hamilton Litestat 308

Movers and makers

  • The Precast Flooring Federation has added seven companies to its ranks, more than doubling its total membership. The companies are Acheson & Glover Precast, Collier & Henry, CR Longley & Co, Litecast, Melton Concrete Products and Merseybeams. The PCF said the increased membership gave the precast concrete flooring industry a stronger voice on issues such as health and safety, building regulations and European product standards.

  • Modular building specialist Yorkon has won its first contract under procurement vehicle NHS Procure 21. The contract is for a £1m two-storey facility on the roof of the radiotherapy department at Christie Hospital in Manchester. The building will increase the department’s capacity, which is the largest of its kind in Europe. The contractor is HBG Construction, and the deal is part of a Procure 21 £12m contract for redeveloping the hospital. Modular construction is being used to minimise disruption to the hospital as the site is constrained.

  • Insulation board manufacturer Celotex has opened a £5m extension to its factory at Hadleigh, Suffolk. The company said the 4000 m2 extension had been built to accommodate increased demand for its products following changes to the Building Regulations. The extension will be used for warehousing and production. A new production line is being installed and will start operation next year.

  • North-east firm Baydale Architectural Systems, a manufacturer of fire-resistant doors, screens and specialist glazed products, has been awarded a contract by Bovis Lend Lease to supply bomb-resistant doors for the Scottish parliament. The £500,000 contract will involve the company supplying steel blast-proof doors faced with timber from sustainable sources for the debating chamber. The doors are designed to fit with the internal and external surroundings. This is the second contract the company has won for the supply of bomb-proof products.

  • The British Combustion Equipment Manufacturers Association has changed its name to the Industrial and Commercial Energy Association (ICOM Energy Association). The trade body said the name change better reflected its position as a trade body for industrial and commercial products rather than domestic heating systems. ICOM Energy Association said it intended to become more active on political and economic fronts and planned to become more involved in consultation processes with government.

  • Glass maker Pilkington has brought together two arms of its organisation under the name Pilkington Building Products – UK. Previously, volume glass making was handled by Pilkington Primary Products and downstream processing by Pilkington Processing and Merchanting. The company said the formation of a single company brought greater simplicity and provided for future market opportunities.