Appleyard Lees

Walker Bros takes new display product to market with support from Appleyard Lees

engineering and physics

Elland-based manufacturing company, Walker Bros, has worked with IP specialists at Appleyard Lees to protect an innovative new retail display solution.

Walker Bros (WB), which was established more than 40 years ago and employs 39 staff at its site in West Yorkshire, has developed a direct entry hanger for retailers, which is unique in its function and application. The development of this hanger has resulted in a product which is compatible with most hanging systems, but has some significant advantages.

Adam Tindall, a Senior Associate in Appleyard Lees’ Mechanical Engineering team, describes the new two-piece and robust design as “incredibly clever” and “beautifully engineered”. Whilst working on a patent application for the new product, he was struck by the amount of thought that had gone into creating this simple, two-piece, yet robust design, making it easy to operate and manufacture.

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Commonly used hanging systems in retail outlets use hangers which slot into a support wall, and products are hung from the hanger. The problem with most systems is that, while they are simple to operate, the angle through which the hanger must be pivoted in order to engage and disengage it from the support wall is quite large, and depending on the spacing of the hanger assemblies, can be so large that a lower hanger will collide with a higher hanger.

If the display comprises five rows of hanger assemblies and a shop worker wishes to adjust the lowest of the hanger assemblies for a new product to be suspended from it, he or she must first remove all of the above four rows before the lowest row can be adjusted. WB’s design is easy to deploy and there is no need to move hanger assemblies in adjacent rows, which is a big time saver.

Neither do you need to de-merchandise the hanger to move it. Additionally, as removal is achieved with a simple squeeze of the hanger, at rest it is locked in the support wall. So even if the hanger is knocked, it won’t become disengaged from the wall. It even has a unique triangular ticket location to hold wing ticket price and other information, which has an aesthetic quality as well as a practical health and safety benefit. It is also fully compatible with all Pegboard, slatwall and slotted panels.

Being substantially made from just one piece of polished galvanised wire, plus a locking bracket, it is also inherently strong and tolerant of all environments.

WB works with national high street brands to develop bespoke product lines to meet their specific requirements. This new design is part of an extensive portfolio which includes many display products, for example news and magazine systems, flower displays, wine towers and greeting card solutions. WB has also recently launched a new e-commerce website under the banner of Retail Innovations that now includes a full range of standard “off the shelf” solutions.

The company has seen a phenomenal 73% surge in sales in Q1 2014, and has recently announced a contract to take over the UK distribution of Simple Click, which is a unique Shelf Management System that allows retailers to optimise their on shelf products which can result in an increase in sales of up to 30%.

The last decade has seen a period of marked growth for the manufacturing specialist, which has received the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s ‘MAS Works’ award, recognising major improvements to the business’s operational activities.

Commenting on its new product development, Steve Pollitt, Head of Sales & Marketing, from Walker Bros, said: “This is a highly competitive market, so we recognise the importance of protecting our innovations. The work done for us by Appleyard Lees means we’re now well placed to take the product to market.”

Speaking on behalf of Appleyard Lees, Adam Tindall added: “We are delighted to provide Walker Bros with IP support for its new products. They are a highly focussed and professional client.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with fast growing and innovative manufacturers with engineering at their core. While most shoppers won’t appreciate the intellect that has gone into designing these hangers, I’ll be very excited to see them on the high street.

For further information on Walker Bros, visit www.retail-innovations.co.uk

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