Here at Wienerberger, we constantly strive to innovate through continually reviewing our product range. A big part of this is gathering feedback from our customers, listening to their advice and looking at how we can incorporate their suggestions into our products moving forward.
One of our latest developments is our new Monkey Grip tile and eaves clips, available for use with the Calderdale Edge and TLE. Both new clips grip onto the tile and hang in place independently, making the installation process much smoother. Not only is this going to help speed up the installation process, but you can also be confident in their ability to perform, with the new clips demonstrating a 30% increase in strength over their predecessors.
Why we redeveloped the clips
The existing metal tile and eaves clips have been in production for over 25 years, and whilst they still provide a sufficient fixing all this time later, there was significant potential for improvement. With the ever-increasing requirements for fixings and the more specs being clipped brought about through revisions to BS5534, we felt innovative designs that makes installation simpler and the clips easier to use would be welcome.
The tile clip
Understanding how critical customer research is, we started the development process by speaking to the installers of these products. One overwhelming point stood out from this and that was increasing the speed of installation through ease of use. We also got involved with laying the tiles so we could see first hand the problems installers experienced on a day-to-day basis. During our observations, we saw several clips dropped down the underlay and therefore a lot of time was lost fumbling around for the next clip and/or nail. When it came to my turn, I found that holding the clip in place, whilst reaching for the nail, inserting the nail and finally hitting the nail home was an extremely awkward process. It
was from these observations that we derived our two key design objectives:
- The clip must hold itself in place on the tile, eliminating dropped clips and the need for more than two hands
- The nail should be part of the clip, eliminating time spent reaching in pockets and removing your hand from the area you are hammering.
A third design objective was derived from observing both left and right-handed installers at the same time. Because roofs are traditionally laid from right to left, we witnessed how much easier it was for the left-handed installer when it came to hammering and how much quicker he seemed to install the clips.
Being a right-hander myself, I gave it a go and found myself in a rather strained position with my arms crossed in order to hit the nail. There was no doubt this aspect could be improved, especially given the fact that the majority of the population ar
e right handed. We achieved this by ensuring the nail sits further away from the side of the interlock than traditional clips. By doing this it significantly improved hammer accessibility and made installation a lot easier, all without sacrificing the integral strength of the clip.
The eaves clip
During our observations we witnessed several bruised fingers as installers held the small eaves clips in place whilst they fixed the nails. However, removing their fingers often saw the clip jump off the
interlock. From this, we decided the eaves clips should utilise the same grip feature of the tile clips to eliminate these issues. The second problem with the eaves clip was its lack of ability to change on different pitched roofs. Often on steeper pitches the rigidity of the metal clip meant the clips were either installed incorrectly, or made the tile above kick up, leaving it vulnerable to wind driven rain. To combat this, we designed the eaves clip with a rounded underneath that rocks on the flat surface at the eaves. This allows the clip to be fixed at all pitches the tile can achieve, whilst remaining parallel with the tile to avoid kicking up the tile above.
Plastic vs metal
In order to achieve all of the design objectives, which were put together after our customer research, we decided to manufacture the clip from plastic rather than metal. The process of injection moulding allowed us much more freedom in design over traditional metal manufacturing methods. A common misconception is that metal is always stronger than plastic, but this is far from the truth. To disprove this misconception, we used modern methods to bring our designs to life. The designs were then put through the same BS5534 testing procedure as the existing metal clips. The results showed the new clips were on average 30% stronger than their metal equivalents and, in some instances, more than 60% stronger.
How to install
Installation of this range of clips is extremely easy. Take the clip and hook it onto the interlock of the tile, hit the nail on the head and you are done.
The result of achieving all the design objectives set for this product development is a range of new tile and eaves clips that should drastically reduce installation time, make the job easier and most importantly improve safety.