Carrying on the hardware theme on here, and picking up from a point I made in yesterday’s post, I have come to the conclusion, as I am sure many others of you out there have, that the 240 hour salt spray test is now a total joke.
Right now, the LockLock door handle from Brisant Secure is currently making a mockery of the test, and is now nearing 6000 solid hours in the spray booth. Just consider for a moment that there are 8760 hours in a year. Is anyone willing to bet that it won’t pass that mark? If it does, then the rest of the industry has a mountain to climb to get back to level par.
But the real issue here is the test itself. 240 hours? 480 hours? Does the industry really think this is enough?
No longer fit for purpose
A lot of hardware companies boast their door hardware passing the 240 hour or 480 hour salt spray test. But throughout the years of marketing spin and hype, have we ever stopped to consider that these actually only represent just 10 or 20 days?
In an industry that gives ten year guarantees on pretty much everything as a minimum, this is an utter joke. Are we seriously saying to home owners that the rest of the door we’ve sold and fitted will be fine for at least ten years, but don’t count on the handles or letter plate? If so, then we need to take a serious look at ourselves.
Right now, there is a handle in a salt spray booth by the name of LockLock currently embarrassing the rest of the sector when it comes to corrosion resistance. I have confidence that it will pass the one year mark. And if it does, do we not think that in 2018 it’s a little bit sad that only one handle has been tested to these lengths and passed?
The reality is that anyone boasting that their hardware meets even 480 hour tests needs to cut back on the triumphalism. It’s only 20 days. Modern doors are built to last 30 years. Is it now time to revolutionise the hardware sector?
Ask any installer what their biggest beefs are when it comes to hardware and many of them will shout back the word: pitting. For years the installer part of the market have had to put up with shoddily made, poorly crafted handles, hinges and letter plates that pit well before the guarantee period is up. I have had two sets of handles on my door at home. I have 6 years of my warranty left. Poor.
Yet, if you ask installers if they would be prepared to pay a little bit more for door hardware if it meant that it wouldn’t pit, I am pretty sure that they would all say yes.
Think about the cost implications for installers. Even though the hardware might have a 5 or 10 year guarantee, the company still has to spend time and money for someone to go out and replace the hardware each time it fails. That then distracts the installer away from sales. All remedial work does. And worse, it novelty for the home owner of a brand new door is quickly washed away if their handles, letter plates and knockers start pitting far too quickly. These items are a big deal. They dress a door. They can make an average looking door look much better.
Then the costs go back up the supply chain, to the fabricator and ultimately the hardware supplier. But I see no need for this to happen.
The LockLock handle is physical proof that it can be done. A company can make a handle that won’t actually pit. At least not for a very long time. And it’s not even that expensive. Yes it costs a few quid extra, but when you factor it in to the overall cost of a door, it’s not prohibitively expensive, and home owner’s aren’t going to stop buying a door because of it. So, that’s a reasonably priced handle, built to last, won’t pit after 20 days and also happens to have the Sold Secured standard too. Not exactly rocket science.
I think common sense would now dictate that the people who put together the 240 and 480 hour standards need to go back to the drawing board and start to implement new standards that would force hardware companies to improve their offering. I’m thinking a new minimum of 1000 hours, with an upper level of 2000 hours. If our industry thinks it now competes at the higher end of the home improvement market, then the hardware needs to live up to those expectations. Right now they don’t. But new rules could force that improvement to happen, and we already have proof that it’s not impossible to do.
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