Draperstown firm engineers growth through innovation

Fourds Ltd, a Draperstown engineering business, has launched an innovative window blind system with assistance from Invest Northern Ireland. The investment in innovation is expected to provide five new jobs over the next three years in addition to the three people already employed by the company.

The company, which was formed in 2006 by Cormac Diamond, the Managing Director and an experienced engineer, has received Invest NI Product and Process Development (PPD) assistance to develop the black-out window blinds for roof windows and is being helped to market the new product through a range of activities including e-business technology.

Announcing support for the business, Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s Regional Office in Londonderry, said: “Fourds has developed a highly innovative click and fit black-out system in response to a demand from Keylite, the successful Cookstown manufacturer of roof windows. Keylite will be the first to fit the new system to its windows and will thereby provide Fourds with an important and substantial source of ongoing business.

“The company has accessed a broad range of support from Invest NI divisions in developing the blinds and for marketing activities. Our support is geared to enable this innovation-led and entrepreneurial company to bring the innovative product to market fast and to support its sales and marketing plans, particularly in terms of exploiting the significant opportunities it has already identified for the new system in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

“It’s another excellent example of market-focused innovation being developed by smaller companies, in particular in key business sectors in the North West such as construction supplies,” he added.

Mr Diamond, commenting on the new product, said: “Our black-out system features a unique fast fit installation system that we developed in conjunction with Keylite, a major and very successful manufacturer of roof windows. Keylite has been immensely encouraging and supportive.

“Our focus is on offering Keylite and other manufacturers, as well as DIY enthusiasts, a very competitively priced product that they can access quickly from our production operation in Draperstown.

“Development of the new system has also been influenced by extensive market research and is the result of our extensive experience and knowledge in contract engineering and design. The blinds are being manufactured from high quality plastic and aluminium components.

“We’ve designed the system to be both robust and as easy as possible to install on all brands of roof windows in just a few minutes. Installation can be carried out by a homeowner or installer with the minimum of tools.

“Another important feature of the click and fit system is that it makes the blinds much easier to clean, maintain and, if required, to replace.  Homeowners will also be able to purchase the blinds using the newly launched www.fourdsblinds.com website,” added Mr Diamond.

The project represents a £126,000 investment by Fourds and includes financial assistance of around £31,000 from Invest NI.