Drayton celebrates 70 years of manufacturing this year. PBM’s Kelly Newstead takes a look at the business and how its range of intelligent heating controls have developed into the ones now appearing on merchant’s shelves.
Founded in 1949, Drayton, part of Schneider Electric, has developed some of the most recognisable products in the heating industry that are frequently spotted on merchant’s shelves. These include the TRV4; Digistat room thermostats; Lifestyle programmers and timeswitches; and most recently, Wiser, which has seen the company move into the smart heating controls market.
Over 78 million products have been designed and built by Drayton in the last 15 years, from its 348,000sqft production plant in Plymouth. The business counts over 240 employees, including an R&D team of more than 40, which delivers new innovations and product enhancements.
A continual cycle of product improvement will see new features added to key lines in the next 12 months, and merchant staff should be aware of these to stay up to date with the upcoming changes.
This will include further expansion of Wiser, Drayton’s newest control which was launched in 2017. The smart multi-room control system embodies an entire home’s heating system and comprises a multitude of features. These include the introduction of a user-oriented Comfort Mode, data-driven Heat Report, individual room control, away mode and the launch of a complementary Smart Plug.
The smart plug allows integration with the Wiser Heat App and gives homeowners the option of using 10 plugs per system — a great add-on opportunity for merchants. It also enables homeowners to link up with other smart products, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, as well as set schedules for seven days a week.
Remi Volpe, Vice President & General Manager, Residential Temperature Controls (RTC) at Schneider Electric, said: “Key to Drayton’s position as one of the leading brands in the UK domestic heating market is our ongoing commitment to extensive research and development, and product innovation. By having a constant dialogue with our customers, we understand their requirements and we ensure this fuels our future product development, both in terms of bringing new products to market and the evolution of existing ranges.
“This approach led to the launch of Wiser in 2017, providing a smart solution that meets the needs of today’s inquisitive homeowners who are looking for more control over their heating system and its performance. Smart is a continual journey of development and, as we move forward, we will be continually enhancing our Wiser offering, giving homeowners more functionality to maximise heating efficiency.”
Looking ahead, Drayton believes that the “power of the future is electric” and claims that electrical uptake will increase by 80% in the next 25 years.
The driving trends for energy consumption will be urbanisation with 2.5bn people expected to be living in cities by 2050. An increasing focus on digitisation, with 50bn ‘connected things’ expected by 2020, will also contribute to this as the digital revolution will see smart heating controls and smart metering, to name but a few, flooding the market.
With this in mind merchants will need to be aware of the direction the heating industry is heading. With products beginning to focus on electrification as well as the pressures surrounding government’s energy targets and the review of Boiler Plus in April 2019, merchants need to keep abreast of these developments.
For more information, visit www.draytoncontrols.co.uk.