Castell improves manufacturing process to reduce delivery times

Company wins Halma Manufacturing Excellence award for 2012

Industrial safety specialist Castell has redesigned its manufacturing process to increase flexibility and reduce delivery times. As a result, the company has received the Manufacturing Excellence award for 2012 from its parent company Halma, beating off competition from 40 other Halma subsidiaries.


According to Halma, “Castell has transformed its manufacturing capability through a combination of product design innovation, excellent application of lean manufacturing and an ambition for international expansion. Today it has an incredibly efficient UK manufacturing base and an assembly shop in the Halma China hub, which is now making the majority of company output.”

Traditionally, trapped key interlocking systems could only be produced once the key coding details had been received, leading to long delivery times while the system was confirmed. Three years ago Castell introduced the end-coding system, which meant that products could be built and then coded at the end of the manufacturing process. This dramatically reduced the time in which products could be delivered.

“End-coding had a significant impact on our ability to deliver standard products quickly and enabled us to make a step change in how we delivered our products,” explained Keith Allingham, Castell’s operations director.

All Castell products with ‘FS’-style locks are now end coded, which has given the company the opportunity to rethink its whole manufacturing process. The result has been a complete redesign of the manufacturing floor, so that manufacturing flows from end to end, assembly cells flow seamlessly into in-line test facilities where products are fully tested and coded, and products are then passed to in-line packing and despatch. The results have been dramatic: orders that would have taken weeks to build and ship can now be despatched in days, improving levels of service and customer response time.

David Hughes, sales director, commented: “Customers have told us that their lead times have been significantly reduced. In some cases this has gone from between eight and ten weeks to between eight and ten days or less for full switchgear systems. This has meant that we have had to respond. The work that has gone in to implementing the new manufacturing system really enables us to harness the benefits of end-coding. Being competitive in the marketplace means that having a high quality product is no longer enough – delivery is also key. Since we have gone live with the manufacturing redesign, our delivery performance has improved significantly. This will benefit our customers in a big way.”

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Castell improves delivery times and safety rating with new UPS systems interlock

Multi-voltage and solenoid-controlled KSUPS+ safeguards uninterruptible power supply systems

Industrial safety specialist Castell, currently celebrating its 90th birthday, has launched a new multi-voltage interlock primarily for use with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The KSUPS+ is a solenoid-controlled trapped key interlock that only permits access to a UPS system once the system has been put into a safe condition.


The KSUPS+ features a number of innovative design improvements, including multi-voltage input. Having a wide voltage input range means that a single device now replaces eight previous devices; the input voltage for the KSUPS+ ranges from 24 V AC or DC to 220 V AC or DC.

As a safety device, the integrity of the KSUPS+ is vital. A monitored solenoid increases the safety performance rating of the KSUPS+, ensuring a higher level of protection for personnel whilst working on UPS systems.

Castell has also reviewed the aesthetics of the KSUPS+. Not only does this improve the look of switchgear cabinets, it also aids operational efficiency and gives a clear indication of where the safety component is located on a panel. Importantly, the KSUPS+ retains the same mounting dimensions as the previous unit and therefore the KSUPS+ can be retrofitted.

Inserting and turning the key operates four pole switch contacts and allows the system to run. The key remains trapped and can only be released when a signal is received by the device and the solenoid is energised. Removing the key switches the contacts to the ‘off’ state, and the key can then be used to open the access interlock.

Simplicity has been at the forefront of the design of the new KSUPS+, as Paul Marks, Castell’s new product development director, explains: “Selecting the old KSUPS meant that customers had to first be sure of the signal voltage for the solenoid, which often led to delays in being able to place the order and selection errors.  Removing these issues has been uppermost in our minds when we looked at how to develop the new KSUPS+. The solution we have delivered is multi-voltage. Together with the improved level of safety offered by the solenoid monitoring, and the enhanced look of the unit, we are sure the KSUPS+ will be a very successful product.”

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Castell appoints new product development director

Castell Safety International Ltd has appointed Paul Marks as its new product development director. Castell has chosen to expand and strengthen the NPD team following a record year to April 2011.


Paul joins Castell form SMAC Corporation, where he was director and general manager, Europe. He holds a first class degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Surrey, UK.

Commenting on his new position, Paul said: “This is a great opportunity to move Castell towards the next stage in its development. The company invented the trapped key interlock and has a long and established history of innovation in the industry. Castell is the market leader and we intend to build on that position.”

Tim Whelan, Castell’s managing director, was equally pleased: “I am delighted to welcome Paul Marks to our company. He has enjoyed considerable success in his career, both as a developer of innovative engineering products and also a business leader. Paul will be responsible for building on the existing engineering capabilities within Castell to develop new products, and to ensure a disciplined approach to engineering is maintained throughout our worldwide operations. Paul and his dedicated team of engineers will work with our customers and business partners to develop and fortify our rich brand of reliable, innovative products for the machine guarding, switchgear interlocking and logistics safety markets.”

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Prevent fail-to-danger with the new KSD+ power isolator

Castell, a provider of industrial safety components for over 90 years, has redesigned the electrical isolator to prevent component failure leading to malfunction. The KSD+ is a new trapped key interlock power isolator, suitable for 3-phase currents from 32 amps to 250 amps, which dramatically increases safety protection over conventional designs, preventing fail-to-danger.


Designed to the latest standard BS EN 60947-3:2009, the new KSD+ has been created with a non-direct drive interlocking mechanism. The key that controls the operation of the isolator does not bear the load of switching the contacts, traditionally a potential point of failure. Switching is now achieved with an extending handle that increases the ease of use, as well as device reliability. The key traps the handle in place and prevents operation when the key is removed.

To further enhance the safety of the KSD+, the ability to switch the device on while the case is open has been removed through the use of a coded sensor. This is an issue for current designs of isolator, even where protection has been built in, as such protective measures can easily be overcome. The KSD+ coded sensor ensures the case is secure before allowing operation, meaning that the user is protected to a much higher degree.

The KSD+ features a stainless steel enclosure that can be placed in harsh environments – this is important for food, chemical and heavy industry applications.The new unit is fully compatible with previous FS lock types and can therefore be used in existing interlocking systems.

Keith Allingham, Castell’s operations director, commented: “The new KSD+ is a further example of how Castell’s understanding of customer requirements has led to the development of a product with superior features and benefits. The KSD+ also utilises end coding technology and is available off the shelf. Products can be shipped to the customer and coded to their requirements within 48 hours”.

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Castell introduces new X-type key exchange unit

Castell Safety International has developed a new X-type key exchange unit featuring an extremely robust design that minimises potential food traps.


The exchange unit has been designed to be both ergonomic and durable. The enclosure is now fully welded, offering increased rigidity. Newly designed locks, relocated to be rear mounted, mean that the unit has no visible fixing holes and therefore opportunities for dirt or food to be trapped are significantly reduced. This makes the unit suitable for environments such as the chemical or food and beverage industries, where dirt and food traps are a major issue.

When designing the exchange unit, Castell’s engineers reviewed the enclosure colour. The new colour selected was chosen to match the standard colour for electrical enclosures. The new unit is fully compatible with previous FS lock types and has identical dimensions to Castell’s X-type exchange unit, allowing it to be retrofitted to existing interlocking systems.

Exchange units are typically used when a control key, having isolated the electrical supply, needs to release multiple keys to allow access to a number of areas. The new exchange unit is available in multiple configurations, according to customer requirements.

David Hughes, Castell’s sales director, commented: “The new exchange unit demonstrates Castell’s commitment to continuous innovation and addressing market requirements. The unit supersedes the old X-type and is available immediately”.

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New Salvo™ Control Panel+ improves operational performance and installation time

Castell has launched a new control panel for its Salvo range of drive-away prevention products. Suitable for use with automatic and manual loading bay doors, Salvo Control Panel+ (SCP+) is easier both to use and install.


Fast, safe access is an important issue in the loading bay environment. The Salvo system, as reported by existing users, already delivers operating efficiencies in terms of visually indicating loading bay availability, reducing needless waiting time and confirming the presence of trucks ready for loading or unloading. The new SCP+ increases operational efficiency still further with the addition of an illuminated lock; in 24/7 operating environments this feature helps drivers locate the lock portion faster and therefore saves time.

Since Salvo is a global product, with installations across five continents, the operating instructions on the SCP+ have been redesigned to allow understanding regardless of local language. The instructions are now entirely visual, enabling drivers to follow them on the panel, and reducing the time taken by new drivers to understand and operate the system.

The safety function of the control panel has also been enhanced and now features forcibly guided safety relays that deliver a higher level of safety functionality.

SCP+ has also been designed for simpler installation. A new ergonomic enclosure allows for fast access to the electrical terminals and reduces wiring time. As a further development, SCP+ is also multi-voltage and suitable for 24V AC, 24V DC, 110V AC or 230V AC supply. Finally, the panel has been designed using the same footprint and so can be retrofitted easily.

To combat environmental temperatures ranging from the extreme highs of Africa to the biting colds of North America and Russia, SCP+ can be fitted with an internal heater.

David Hughes, Castell’s sales director, commented: “The new SCP+ is a key development in the Salvo range. The increased levels of functionality have been developed in conjunction with our blue-chip global customers. These features will deliver even higher returns on investment, both in terms of safety and operational efficiency, and further enhance our reputation for providing systems that deliver fast, safe access.”

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Castell establishes its presence in India by appointing a new application engineer

Castell Safety International Ltd, the leading manufacturer of trapped key interlocking safety systems, has appointed a new application engineer for India. Ashok Dhanasekaran will identify potential markets and opportunities in the Indian region.


Ashok joined Castell three years ago at the company’s China operation as a quality assurance engineer. Prior to that, he spent a year in quality assurance in the die casting industry and three years at Assure eServices in Chennai as senior design engineer and team leader. Ashok graduated from Anna University in Chennai with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Commenting on his new role, Ashok said: ‘I have gained considerable experience of trapped key interlocking in Castell China, and I look forward to introducing this fail-safe system to the Indian market to improve the working conditions of personnel throughout industry.’

Ashok will report directly to David Hughes, Castell’s global sales director, who commented: “We are very pleased to make our first appointment in India. We see that there is a fantastic opportunity for Castell products within India to support the development of safe industrial working practices. Ashok has gained a wealth of knowledge working in Castell China and I believe that customers in India will find his skills and experience invaluable.”

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Castell’s new Salvo™ Susie improves operational speed and performance

Castell has developed a new Susie lock for its Salvo™ range of drive-away prevention products. The redesigned Salvo™ Susie features an ergonomic grip that enables the lock to be fitted to and removed from an articulated trailer’s emergency air line coupling more efficiently, especially in wet and cold conditions. This is in keeping with Castell’s product development strategy, which seeks to enable fast, safe access.


The new Susie has also been designed to provide enhanced protection against oil and grease, substances commonly found in the environment in which the lock is used.

Paul Marks, who recently joined Castell as new product development director, explained the thinking behind the new Susie: “Salvo™ is a highly successful system which now protects thousands of loading docks around the world. To build on this success, the new product development team investigated how we could improve the product’s ergonomics and usability. We decided that increasing the product’s ease of use could deliver major advantages to our customers. With its enhanced grip, the new Salvo™ Susie can be fitted and removed faster than before and the thermoplastic elastomer used provides higher levels of protection for the device.”

Jason Reed, Castell’s global Salvo business manager, commented: “The new Susie further strengthens the Salvo™ product range and will deliver real benefits for both new and existing Salvo™ customers in terms of usability and operational efficiency, important issues in today’s high-pressure logistics settings.”

Salvo™ consists of a mechanical key-holding cylindrical lock, which is attached to the articulated trailer’s emergency air line, and an electro-mechanical lock inside the warehouse, fitted to the loading bay door. This system establishes a procedural link between the trailer and the bay door, forcing the driver to immobilise the trailer prior to the door being opened.  If the trailer is not locked in place, loading cannot begin.

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Castell appoints new area sales manager

Castell Safety International Ltd has appointed Ed Smith as its new area sales manager for central England.


Ed joins Castell from industrial panel and partition systems manufacturer Troax UK, where he initially spent five years handling internal technical sales before being promoted to business development manager for the company’s automation and robotics division.

Reflecting on his new position, Ed commented: “I believe this is a fantastic opportunity for me to join a forward-looking company with a long-standing history of success. I am relishing the challenge of growing the business and developing new and existing customer relationships within the wide range of industrial sectors that Castell is involved with. I’m very happy to be part of a successful and experienced team and excited to be involved in the structural changes that the company is making.”

Ed graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a bachelor’s degree in financial studies.

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Trapped key interlocks improve productivity at Uniq

Leading UK food-to-go manufacturer Uniq Prepared Foods has virtually eliminated downtime from the bacon-slicing process at its facility in Northampton, thanks to a trapped key interlocking system from Castell.


As part of its continuous improvement programme, Uniq replaced the electrical safety switches on its bacon slicer with a panel-mounted KSSE20 multi-key solenoid-controlled switch and four AI access interlocks. The safety switches had been prone to misalignment, with each incident requiring the intervention of an engineer and typical downtime of half an hour. Not only have Castell’s heavy-duty interlocks resolved this issue, but their stainless steel construction makes them much more suited to the daily hosing down given to the machine.

“Castell’s interlocks have completely solved the problem,” said Mark Caulfield, engineering manager at Northampton. “The trapped key system has worked really well and been welcomed by staff.”

Uniq is Marks & Spencer’s largest sandwich supplier, producing over half of the sandwiches sold in M&S stores across the UK. The company’s Northampton site turns out 2.1 million sandwiches in an average week.

When access to the bacon slicer is required, the machine must first finish its cycle so that a signal is received by the solenoid. The push button is depressed, which energises the solenoid and illuminates the LED, confirming that the primary key may be removed. Removal of the primary key changes the condition of the electrical supply to the machine to a safe condition. The primary and three secondary keys can then be used to unlock the interlocks on the access doors. The guards can only be opened once the electrical supply has been switched to a safe condition.

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