We hope this newsletter finds all of you safe and well. I’m sure we speak for most in saying that the past few weeks have been among the most challenging any of us can ever remember in business. We offer our continued best wishes to all of you in riding out the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Of course, protecting people and stopping the spread of this terrible virus remains the top priority. So while some countries take their first tentative steps out of lockdown, and individual businesses look at how they can reopen or ramp up capacity again, the first and most urgent question being asked is – how can we do so safely, in a way that minimizes the risks to workers and customers alike?
Changing times creates the need for more versatility and flexibility in the indoor spaces we use and how we keep people safe within them. We have seen a rise in demand for our hinge and bracket hardware being used for droplet guards and our easy installation aluminium frame system for adaptive environments.
Droplet guards have already been widely deployed in healthcare and in essential retail categories like grocery, typically being installed at checkouts to protect staff and customers alike. We can expect to see them become a common sight in shops as retailers across the board consider how they can safely open their stores again. And beyond retail, they have a role to play in any customer-facing environment, as well as in helping to implement social distancing measures in offices and industrial workspaces.
Sugatsune has been working with retailers, banks, offices and more to supply components needed to make droplet guards. One solution we have been recommending to customers is using our HG range torque hinges as part of a droplet guard set up. Torque hinges provide ‘free stop’ motion – that is, they hold a door in any ‘open’ position until it is pushed to close. Used on a droplet guard, this provides the flexibility to position two panels at any angle to one another, meaning each guard can easily be repositioned to suit any space.
Having the functionality to take payments from customers and pass documents to colleagues when needed is essential whilst still maintaining a safe space to work in. Hinges can be added to droplet guards to create swing doors and small windows, which opens the possibility of building fully enclosed units for, say, checkout staff to sit inside as they work.
Another flexible solution for changing times is our AS aluminium frame system. The AS series offers a full suite of components required for erecting and installing aluminium frames. Designed to deliver simplicity and versatility, AS frames can be configured in any shape and size required, and for a huge range of purposes – from storage cupboards and units to aluminium frame doors, partitions and, yes, screens.
A significant advantage of the AS system is how easy it is to alter the size and shape of frames once built, making them extremely adaptable to all environments. With most aluminium frame solutions on the market, you have to dismantle the entire structure and start again if you want to reconfigure it. But our PJ corner connectors, which are mounted with just a single screw per groove with no nuts or pre-positioning required, can simply be loosened so bars can be slid around into new positions, without taking them apart completely.
If, for example, you wanted to move exterior vertical bars inwards to create a ‘T’ frame, you could loosen the connectors using an Allen / Hex Key and have the bars tightened in their new position in seconds. Similarly, if you wanted to extend a frame by adding a new cell above or either side, the PJ corner connectors make it quick and easy to do so.
This level of flexibility is extremely useful for businesses looking to deploy droplet guards at scale, fast, where there might be need over the coming weeks and months to switch around where and how they are used.
By design, the AS system makes it just as simple to add other components once the frame skeleton is built, including acrylic panels to create a droplet guard. As with the PJ corner connectors, AS range panel fixing brackets screw securely into the grooves on the aluminium bars, and can be repositioned simply by loosening the screws and sliding them around. This takes away any headaches involved in adapting frames for different size panels.
Our AS series includes an extensive range of adaptors that allows our hardware components such as hinges, stays, lid supports, aluminium sliding door and screen systems, including guide rails and roller guides to be fitted to an aluminium frame.
Whatever the challenges to come Sugatsune are here to support you with the hardware you need.