Growth – the buzzword at Cooper B-Line
With more than 50 years experience in serving the requirements of enclosure users, the ongoing mission of Cooper BLine remains the same – to design and produce quality standard and custom-made enclosure systems that meet customers evolving requirements worldwide
In addition, the company aims to continue to develop and enhance a wide range of enclosure solutions to satisfy a broad mix of requirements, both simple and complex.
Nigel Power, managing director for Cooper B-Line comments: “In today’s market, everybody wants something slightly different, whether it be depth, width, shelving or thermal requirements, customer needs can vary significantly. Our versatility and flexibility enables us to customise our products to suit the end-user. Whilst we do provide some standard products, we also develop custom-made solutions for our OEM clients, who want specific designs. Most of these products we will have never developed before, therefore we are very good at looking at their drawings and sketches, and interpreting what they want. This is one key factor, which differentiates us from our competitors.”
Originally known as Willsher and Quick (WQ), the company was founded in 1956. In 2000, Cooper Industries acquired the business and instantly WQ’s product portfolio increased through the introduction of additional products for the telecoms industry and in addition a comprehensive fixings and support system range for industrial applications. Re-named Cooper BLine, the acquisition enabled the business to penetrate new markets and develop new products for existing areas.
Being part of a larger group is extremely important to B-Line as it enables the company to benefit from the organisation’s main strengths. A good example of this is its manufacturing operations, as Nigel explains: “In our facility in Highbridge, we operate a lean manufacturing process, which is a version of Six Sigma and was implemented when we were taken over by Cooper Industries. This system is called ‘MVP’, which stands for Manufacturing Variance Programme. This has improved productivity significantly as it is a very systematic approach that looks at individual activities to identify areas for improvement.” He continues: “As we are part of a larger group we also have the ability to be a global supplier. We supply to companies who have many locations around the world through our sister company in the US and our sourcing centre in Shanghai.”
B-Line is a manufacturer of metal enclosures for the data networking, telecom and electrical industry. With a workforce of approximately 145, the company has worked on a number of significant projects throughout the UK. For example, B-Line worked with Siemens to develop a range of IP54 cabinets for the installation of high voltage switch-gear and control equipment in various substations throughout the UK for the national grid. These were not only flexible in their design approach but also had a modular panel design for multiple fit-outs.
In addition to manufacturing enclosures, B-Line has an extensive range of critical asset protection devices. “This is a range of security products designed to fit around an enclosure,” Nigel comments. The company offers two different solutions – the i-PAL and the i-BOX. The i-PAL brings a simplified solution to rack security. An integrated proximity access locking handle has been designed to incorporate a proximity reader, LED, buzzer and locking mechanism, therefore ensuring only authorised personnel can gain access to the rack.
The i-BOX is a fully integrated system, which provides a number of benefits for rack manufacturers. These include, a high quality enclosure, an online security system, which can initiate immediate security deployment, validation and thermal analysis of the rack, a stable environment, the ability to monitor rack power requirements, and remote monitoring.
With an outstanding range of enclosures and accessories to match, B-Line plans to take its knowledge and expertise to a wider customer base. Looking to the future, Nigel comments: “We want to maintain our reputation as the number one data centre supplier on the market. In addition to this, we plan to expand our expertise into mainland Europe and the Middle East. We already have some representation in these areas but we want to continue to build upon our success in the UK and strengthen our reputation overseas. We also want to continue to develop our customised expertise and raise our profile for custom-made products.”
He concludes: “The Middle East is of growing importance to us and to the wider Cooper group. The GITEX exhibition, which we will be attending in September, is the key emerging data networking event around the world. This is a very good opportunity for us to increase our presence in this area and show the market what we have to offer.” GITEX is among the world’s top three ICT exhibitions and is located in the business hub of the Middle East. This is the perfect platform for B-Line, as it looks to take advantage of the phenomenal growth taking place in the IT industry in the region.
Products: Enclosures, support systems and spring steel fasteners
Sites: Highbridge, UK