New torches from Coast: Filling the niches

AS if summer doesn’t descend so quickly into autumn anyway, the recent spate of wet and windy weather has reminded us all that colder and darker days are inevitably on their way, writes PETER BRETT.

Time for all torch users - be they dog walkers, tradespeople or professionals - to make sure that they have a good torch on hand for when it will be needed! And just to make our choices that little bit more sophisticated, Coast has snuck a couple of interesting new torches into its comprehensive range.

Never a company to stand still - it is always developing new ideas - Coast has identified a couple of niches where product development and changes in the market have coincided, creating a couple of new products that really hit the spot.


Rechargeable is the New Green Dynamic for a Head Torch

The Coast FL13R comes in the familiar clam pack that is easy to hang and display in a retail environment. Potential purchasers are given comprehensive - but easy to see and understand - information on the front and back of the packaging. Of course, it also helps a purchaser that there is the ‘try me’ option to test the light output, light options and switch operation. This is enough to kill any doubts at the point of sale about how bright the beam is or how easy it is to cycle through the switch options.

Brass tacks time now, so let me deal with the rechargeable part of the spec. I live in a house in the country where there is no street lighting and relatively frequent power cuts. When the sun goes down it is DARK. Consequently, I have at least six torches in various locations in the house for emergencies, but twice this year I have been caught out on the battery front.

The simple solution is to have a recharging point with a torch nearby so that it is always recharged ready for use. The fact that the FL13R uses a USB connection for charging makes it much more flexible than standard three pin plug chargers. USB charging is an option on many power tool batteries now, as well as laptops, desktops, cars and, increasingly, on adapted mains plug sockets. Users will probably never be far away from a charging point.

Selecting the light options is done via the red switch on top of the torch body. The switch is sensitive and very positive in action so it is easy and quick to cycle through for the option wanted.

A full recharge will give a runtime of 10 hours at the low light setting of 85 lumens. In practice, most head torches are used at the low power setting because the high setting is simply too bright and reflective for the typical close-up work that head torches are used for. 10 hours amounts to a long shift at work or a long night’s angling, so running out of charge should not be an issue.

At the high setting of 270 lumens, the light is so intense that users have to be careful not to flash it into their own, or others’, eyes. Even at this intensity, users can expect a decent run time of five hours. The red light options are much less power hungry, so longer run times can be expected. Many outdoor users like campers and anglers, prefer using a red light because the eyes do not need to get accustomed to it.

The LED on this torch is wide and consequently the beam is a wide flooded light suitable for general purpose vision. Working, as a plumber might do, in a confined space, the beam on low setting provides a white flood beam that does not reflect harshly and provides enough light over the whole work area in front. It is hard to put a number on it but at about a metre distance the lit area is over a metre wide.

Other important features are the IPX4 weather rating, the included safety helmet clips, the comfortably wide and nicely elasticated (not too elasticky!) head strap and the five-year guarantee.

Good news for retailers and end users alike is that the pricing is very competitive: it will be hard (or impossible) to find a rechargeable head torch of similar quality with all of the features, for the price. All excellent reasons for stocking the FL13R.


The classic style hand torch, re-imagined

Think of the standard hand torch used by law enforcement and around the home and you can easily see the HP7XDL. It is a very popular style because it combines a compact body, light weight and a powerful beam that is adjustable for spot and flood light patterns. But this design is expensive – users have to pay for Enforcement-type specs. In some ways, it may seem foolish to fiddle about with a classic but (as ever) new technology, better LEDs and better manufacturing have created an opportunity for Coast to look again at the design and tweak it to suit a slightly different niche.

The plastic clam packaging does its usual job of protecting the product as well as making it easy to display and provide key information for potential purchasers. Not to mention the ‘Try Me’ switch, which is often the deciding factor for many purchasers.

As ever, the key specs are the lumen count and range of the beam. At high setting with 240 lumens on tap and in spot mode, the beam will reach 270 metres. A much lower lumen output of 70 still gives a beam reach of 147m but a runtime of 17 hours on fresh batteries compared to five hours on full beam.

Selecting the beam is simple via the rubber-protected button on the rear of the casing. The straightforward system of simply sliding the head of the torch forward and back between finger and thumb enables focus control from spot to flood.

What users might notice when they shine the light against a flat surface is the quality and clarity of the beam pattern that shows that the lens is a good one.

Once again the HP7XDL has a five-year warranty and an IPX4 weather rating and comes with 3 AAA batteries as standard. If you want an enforcement/emergency services style torch at a lighter weight and a competitive price-point then it’s a very good choice.

Dickies celebrates a passion for the trades

GLOBAL workwear brand Dickies has launched a campaign celebrating the passion and skills of tradespeople who inspire others with their dedication and ingenuity.

Whether it’s the creativity of those who make a living with their hands or the dedication of tradespeople who are always looking for new ways to do what they do best, the initiative includes a series of videos featuring tradespeople from a range of disciplines. This includes a stonemason, carpenter, brewer, sign painter and vehicle painter and explores their work and what they love about it.

“Ever since Dickies was first established in 1922, we’ve been making clothing and footwear to support people who work in a wide variety of trades – creating goods as hard-working as they are,” said James Whitaker, Marketing Director for Dickies.

“We know that across the trades we support, there are many people who are really passionate about their jobs and this campaign is a way to celebrate that. The people in our videos have an independent spirit, a strong focus and a love for their work that shines through. They feel privileged to do what they love every day and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Dickies’ series of videos will be featured on the blog at:

MHM Plant are in the City

CITY Hire, the London-based hirer of a wide range of tools and equipment, are expanding their supply of power generation machinery following their recent investment of a line of 45kVA sets from MHM Plant.

Caspar Douglass, City Hire’s Marketing Executive explained: “We currently offer our clients a range of power generators from 3.0kVA to 20.0kVA. However, we were receiving a number of enquiries for larger sets, which prompted this latest investment.”

Caspar continued: “We chose the MHM sets over another leading brand principally because of their excellent service and past experience of MHM going the extra mile whenever there’s an issue.

“The MHM generators are good value for money and we’re pleased to strengthen our generator fleet through MHM."

The MHM ‘Ready to Rent’ 45.0kVA generators have a host of features and benefits that make them ideally suited for use on UK wide construction sites. These include; an engine protection shutdown system for guarding against low fuel, low oil pressure, high engine temperature and battery charge failure. The sets are also fitted with a three-way fuel valve that allows easy connection to an external fuel tank for longer operation. The emergency stop button is a requirement on any UK site and its’ fully bunded base is built to retain all spilt fluids, helping to eliminate the possibility of any ground contamination.

Caspar summed up by saying: “These sets have proven to be easy to maintain and operate. Their robust construction makes them a perfect fit for our hire fleet.”

Poll reveals alarming lack of fire door knowledge across trades

DESPITE reporting a growth in demand for fire safety products and devices in the last year, a new poll by online ironmongery supplier IronmongeryDirect has revealed that over half (54%) of tradespeople do not know how to check that a fire door is operating correctly and complies with regulations.

The poll also found that 84% of respondents don’t believe there is enough fire door safety information readily available to tradespeople, despite extensive media coverage about the dangers of inadequate fire protection following the Grenfell disaster in 2017.

The results are published in support of the seventh annual Fire Door Safety Week (23 September – 29 September), which aims to highlight the importance of fire doors and increase good fire safety practice across the trade industries.

The online poll follows a national survey of 2,000 adults which was carried out by IronmongeryDirect. The results show a disturbing lack of general awareness on the life-saving role that fire doors play, with almost six in ten (59%) of the general public admitting they do not know how to identify a fire door.

Ian Moore, CEO at the Fire Industry Association, said: “Fire door-sets are a critical fire safety measure, designed, tested, manufactured and third party certified to exacting standards.  For that reason, they need to be maintained in line with the door-set manufacturer’s instructions with the correct replacement parts.“

The research emphasises the need for tradespeople and the wider public to be more aware of the essential role that fire doors play in keeping them safe. Fire doors are designed to withstand fire for between 30 and 240 minutes and, when maintained correctly, they can make a remarkable difference in saving lives and reducing spread during a fire.

Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, Wayne Lysaght-Mason, commented: “We are pleased to see an increase in the sale of fire safety products across the industry. However, it is worrying that a large proportion of tradespeople still seem to lack basic fire door safety knowledge.

“A well installed and maintained fire door can really be the difference between life and death for building occupants. We urge all tradespeople to use our new online fire door checklist to help assess whether fire doors they are responsible for are safe and legally compliant.”

Final guest speakers announced for HAE EHA conference

HAE EHA has revealed the full, exciting line-up of guest speakers adding their insight and take on events affecting the hire industry at the third annual Conference at Loughborough on 1 October, which is themed around 'collaborate, innovate and inspire'.

The comprehensive timetable now features presentations by Dr Léa Cléret, CEO of The Leadership Trust, Frank Elkins Chief Operating Officer Trade Merchanting Travis Perkins, Sue Brandrick and Chris Lucas from HSE, Detective Superintendent Neil Austin from the West Mercia Police, while discussing mental health issues will be Phil Hemsworth (HSS), Brian Parker (AFI), Hans Fairley (Stihl) and HAE’s own Jim Maccall and Paul Gaze.

Dr Léa Cléret will explain the science behind leadership development programmes, and Frank Elkins is to offer up a CEO's perspective on dumper and digger safety. Kicking off the afternoon session will be HSE duo Sue Brandrick and Chris Lucas of the Construction Health Policy Team, followed by an overview of the UK construction industry and the country’s economic performance by Tom Hall, Chief Economist, Barbour-ABI and AMA Research.

Crime prevention in the hire industry will be the topic of Detective Superintendent Neil Austin’s presentation, while last but not least the final five will round off the conference with guidance on mental health policy at work before the closing address by James Dickson.

The latest announcement comes hot on the heels of the first round of speakers, which includes Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, a British computing, mathematics and language genius who founded Stemettes in 2013, a social enterprise promoting women in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. Taking up the theme of collaboration with no gender barriers will be a representative of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

HAE EHA Chairman, Brian Sherlock, will open the event before Commercial Manager Paul Gaze and Scott Ball from HireTrain join forces to give the low down on the steps the industry is taking to encourage a constant learning environment for new starters. The comprehensive list of speakers reflects the importance of the Hire Industry to the UK economy and the construction sector – Brexit and recruitment issues are also certain to be major talking points dominating the conference.

EHA members will have the chance to address the unique challenges event hire businesses face, giving them a glimpse into the future and enabling them to find out what opportunities could lie ahead for the industry to grow.

HAE EHA Chief Executive Officer, Graham Arundell, said: “We have a comprehensive line-up of speakers giving their insight and expertise on all the important issues facing our members and these are sure to inspire debate on the direction of travel for our industry.”

The HAE EHA Conference is open to all members but people wishing to attend need to register online on the website

If you would like further information on exhibitor spaces and sponsorship options, please contact the team on 44 (0)121 380 4605 or e-mail [email protected].

The Preparation Group's 'How to Use' cards make operation easy

THE Preparation Group has introduced easy-to-read ‘How to Use’ cards onto its range of shotblasters, grinders, planers, scrapers, dust extractors and tools.

The cards have clear, step by step pictorial instructions and include QR codes that, when scanned with a mobile phone or tablet camera, take people directly to a video that shows switching the machine on, changing components and fitting accessories.

The company has spent the last few months producing a series of videos for its youtube channel that aim to simplify using its machines and highlight important Health and Safety features.

Said Tracey Glew, Group Managing Director: ‘The company has recently attained its SafeHire Certification for the third year running and Kate Walshaw, Group Hire Manager, re-elected as an HAE Supply Chain board member. Our marketing and technical personnel have been committed to leading the way in innovation and Health & Safety.

"The launch of our ‘How to’ initiative for The Preparation Group’s 110v equipment in the hire market has been a huge success and we have now rolled it out to all of our three-phase machines. As part of our commitment to provide quality surface and floor preparation products, we will continue to address key issues to ensure user confidence in a clean, safe operation and the health and safety of others where operations are being conducted.’

The full range of videos can be found on The Preparation Group’s youtube channel.

Below is an example video for the 265 Shotblaster.

Construction Youth Trust's DIY course helps young people build for their community

IN partnership with CLF Construction Careers, Construction Youth Trust ran a fun filled five-day DIY course at The Curve community centre in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and at Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre in Camden.

The aim of the partnership is to introduce local young people not currently in education, employment or training to construction careers through a practical project that benefits their community.

For young people who have little to no experience of the modern construction and built environment industry, it can be easy for them to discount the sector as not for them and miss the many opportunities open to them. By embedding the project within their local community, in a fun and relaxed way on their turf, the partnership aims to gently widen young people’s career horizons and introduce them to local opportunities within the construction and built environment sector.

The first courses in the boroughs welcomed a range of local young people, also working with the Camden Youth Offending Team offering the course as part of their reparation programme, and saw participants collaboratively working together to build new benches and a set of bird houses. The idea was to construct items that would benefit a wide range of local residents. At The Curve community centre the bench is now in place, allowing anyone to enjoy the last of the summer sun, with the bird houses being donated to local primary schools to support nature studies.

Throughout the courses, the participants were encouraged to explore their teamwork skills, taking the time to find out about their fellow course mates and how their skills might complement each other to complete their practical projects. The participants were encouraged to recognise and celebrate their accomplishments across the five days, whether that be arriving on time at the centre or completing a practical project to a high standard. A major aspect of the programme was giving the young people the space to reflect positively upon themselves and their work, acknowledging their individual skill sets. It can be hard for a young person to picture themselves in any kind of career if they don’t think they have the ability to achieve it.

About the partnership, Kharima Dada senior programme manager at Construction Careers said: “As a programme we have a number of aims but the one that is key to all aspects of our work, is that we positively promote the construction industry as a viable and rewarding sector. Through our partnered work with Construction Youth Trust, who have expertise within the sector and engaging young people, we felt confident that we could facilitate sector exposure in an innovative way and raise aspirations of participants on the programme.”

Following the end of the programme the participants were referred across to Construction Careers for employability skills development. Construction Careers is a Central London Forward programme which is funded by eight London boroughs. Following their support from Construction Careers, Construction Youth Trust hopes to welcome the young people onto one of their longer courses helping them gain a CSCS card and supporting them into their desired industry careers.

Illumin8 Lights power ahead with Trime’s hybrid lighting towers

SITE lighting specialists, Illumin8 Lights are making preparations to meet the increasing demand for more sustainable methods of lighting construction sites and rail projects.

To help satisfy these requirements Illumin8 has purchased a fleet of X-HYBRID LED lighting towers from Trime UK Limited.

Neil Fenwick, founder and managing director of Illumin8 said, “We are always seeking out the best sustainable and cost-effective solutions for our clients. The Trime X-HYBRID has a number of environmentally slanted features which brings benefits to our clients in terms of carbon emission reductions and lowering of fuel costs.”

“We have one of the newest and largest fleet of lighting towers which is perfectly equipped to supply construction sites, outside events, highway and rail projects. We believe that we are now one of the leading rental lighting suppliers across a broad range of industry,” added Neil.

As the name suggests, the Trime X-HYBRID lighting units are powered through an individually designed hybrid power supply system. This comprises of a series of rechargeable batteries backed-up by a small diesel engine. The combined system provides for extensive fuel savings and a corresponding reduction of CO2 emissions, making them ideally suited for night working and in urban environments.

In hybrid mode the X-HYBRID has an uninterrupted running time of up to 18 hours. The batteries are recharged in around eight to nine hours and diesel consumption can be as little as 0.17 litres per hour.

Illumin8’s hire fleet, which numbers over four hundred sets, consists entirely of Trime manufactured lighting towers.

Illumin8 Limited was founded in 2015; the company provides a bespoke service hiring mobile tower lights to both the event, rail and industrial markets. The Illumin8 management team combine over 40 years’ experience within the lighting industry. The company is based in Essex and a new northern depot is currently under development.

Trime UK is headquartered in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; their manufacturing plant is based near Milan, Italy.

Dormole invests in a new HR & Payroll system and powers ahead with growth plans

DORMOLE, one of the UK and Ireland’s fastest growing SMEs, is laying the foundations for future growth by undertaking a major overhaul of its HR and payroll processes in partnership with industry experts, MHR.

The family-owned Dormole group of companies which includes Toolbank, Forgefix, Faithfull, Olympia, Biz, Tucks O’Brien and Tucks Fasteners & Fixings, has invested in a single integrated HR, payroll and time & attendance system as part of a project to centralise its processes and embrace new digital ways of working to replace outdated systems.

The system will bring together MHR’s leading cloud-based HR and payroll solution iTrent with a time & attendance solution from workforce management specialists HFX, enabling the company to automate many repetitive tasks and simplify the management of its 1100 employees located across multiple sites.

The new system will enable Dormole to gain total transparency of its people and perform all tasks from a single source, which will reduce administration time and drive cost savings.

Seamless integration with HFX Time & Attendance enables employee data to be shared and flow directly between the two systems without the need for manual data entry, accelerating the payroll process and improving its accuracy.

Wendy Milne Bennett, group HR director at Dormole said: “Dormole remains a privately-owned and managed business committed to providing a first class, efficient and friendly service for our customers and suppliers delivered by our team who all work in a rewarding, secure and enjoyable environment.

 “As a result of our success and recent growth we have inherited multiple legacy payroll systems, and it was becoming increasingly clear to support our future growth plans we needed to consolidate all of our HR and payroll needs onto a single system and increase our digital functionality.

“iTrent’s functionality and proven integration with a market leading time and attendance solution will enable us to manage all of our payrolls in-house while automating the entire process which will reduce the number of potential errors associated with data duplication and manual entry.”

Anton Roe, CEO at MHR commented: “We are delighted to support a successful and ambitious family company as it looks to bring its people processes right up to date to support its future growth.

“Consolidating its HR and time & attendance functions using iTrent will provide Dormole companies with the ability to carry out critical tasks much faster while delivering greater control of its people and payroll costs.”

Construction dust control focus pays off for Armorgard

WORK platform specialist Armorgard has reported a 'substantial' increase in sales of its ground-breaking CuttingStation SS7X, following the recent HSE blitz on site dust.

Latest sales figures show a widespread uptake of these extraction and air filtration enabled mobile workstations, which are becoming an essential part of measures put in place by construction sites to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust.

Firms across mainland UK were subject to a series of inspections by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in June this year focusing on dust control.

Growth in the dust extraction equipment market is also being influenced by a greater focus on collaboration between contractors and manufacturers to come up with designs and concepts for new solutions to health and safety challenges.

Armorgard say their annual Innovation Workshop, which takes place in London this week, has seen a marked increase in the number of senior safety, site or project-management representatives in attendance.

The firm said its long-held policy of supplying high grade products as solutions that increase health and safety to UK construction had paid-off.

“Our approach of the last few years to focus on end user innovation is showing strong results with positive customer feedback and a robust, sustainable forward order book,” said Armorgard's managing director, Terry Mitchell.

"As the company does with all its high-quality security and safety products, Armorgard sought end-user input on safety imperatives and design improvements. The CuttingStation SS7X design has arguably revolutionised on-site cutting, reducing exposure to noise and dust, and eliminating any requirement to provide a separate cutting area on site.”


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