Cabinet Maker pays a visit to Heico Fasteners UK in Essex to find out more about the company’s more than 100-year heritage and its plans for the future.

Having operated in the UK market for more than 20 years, Heico Fasteners UK can quite rightly lay claim to leading the way when it comes to the supply of upholstery, decorative nails and other supplies including webbing, tack strip, chair glides and more to the upholstery and furniture trade

A member of the international ‘Theo Heimann Group’ whose headquarters are based in Ense, Germany, the company was known until 2009 as Fisco Fasteners Ltd, but its experience actually stems way back to 1900, when the group was formed. The last 100 years has seen the group continually invest and expand, and today, as well as specializing in the supply of upholstery and decorative nails, the group also manufactures and supplies precision component parts to the automotive industry with customers including Volkswagen, Audi and BMW.

More than 500 people are now employed by the group worldwide, with two manufacturing sites in Germany and distribution sites in USA, China, Vietnam, France, Spain, Czech Republic,  Italy, Poland, Russia, Netherlands, Turkey and, of course, the UK, which leads us nicely back into our visit, where we met with marketing manager, Stuart Elmy. It was exciting to say the least, hearing about some of the business’ latest developments, and gaining a preview into their plans for the futur

One of the most recent moves for the company was the development of its rust free ‘Blacquer’ range of springs, which were designed to meet the demands of the UK furniture industry, with a unique anti-rust coating which provides unrivalled corrosion resistance.

The unique coating is fully elastic, which ensures that it will not crack with movement, and so there will be no reduction in the corrosion protection even under continuous use. The lack of rust and oily residue means that the springs are cleaner to use in production than existing alternatives, which brings the company’s manufacturer customers genuine benefits.

” This new product is UNIQUE and offers SUPERIOR  corrosion resistance ”

Fira awards ceremony 2016

Fira awards ceremony 2016

Stuart explained: “Such a coating for furniture springs has historically led to the use of lead based paints, but this is not the case for our ‘Blacquer’ springs.” Instead, environmentally friendly nano technology is utilised, which is fully compliant with EU regulatory requirements. The coating is applied using a electrophoretic deposition process, which enables even coating of the entire spring so 100% of it is protected.

So innovative is the new product, that Heico recently had the honour of being awarded Gold Product Certification by the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA). This level of certification is only awarded following the most rigorous assessment, with tests including height measurement (in accordance with BS EN 1957:2012) and fatigue (in accordance with BS EN 1728:2012), both at 200,000 cycles. The height measurement tests are particularly rigorous with a loss of greater than 10% being a fail but the ‘Blacquer’ springs scored an impressive average loss of just 1.2% and an additional test at 400,000 cycles still only recorded a loss of 1.7%.

The award was presented at an extravagant ceremony at the House of Lords, after which, Dave Read, general manager at Heico, commented: “We are proud to be the first distributor in the UK to achieve this prestigious award. This new product is unique and offers superior corrosion resistance that cannot be matched by any other springs available in the UK furniture industry and we believe it is a real game changer in the market.”

With so much going on, the company could be forgiven for allowing themselves a breather before the next big development. But this is not the case, as Stuart told us: “As a company which prides itself on innovation, we have no intention of resting on our laurels. There are a busy few months ahead, with lots of plans in the pipeline.” 

Indeed, in just a few weeks’ time visitors to the Engineering Design Show which takes place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry will be able to meet the Heico team for themselves, and get up close to the Heico-Lock® range of wedge locking products that are designed to provide proven anti-vibration security for bolted applications. Including the  the original Heico-Lock® wedge lock washer, ‘Ring Lock’ system and one piece Wedge Locking Nut, the range is easy to use, and effective. They can be found on Stand C60 from 19 - 20 October. This isn’t the only place where readers can meet the company, as they will no doubt also be busy on Stand A30 when the January Furniture Show comes back to the NEC from 22 to 25 January.

If that weren’t enough, the company is just about to embark on a campaign to ensure a greater social media presence in line with its customer focused website. We look forward to following – and reporting on – their latest news and developments.