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Battery charge gives power to motorisation
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 00:00

If you think motorisation of blinds and curtains is too much trouble for the busy installer, think again, says Paul Atkinson of Somfy

Increasingly, consumers are becoming more comfortable with technology and the lifestyle benefits it brings to the home.

This is one of the main reasons home automation is an industry with huge growth potential for those willing to take up the challenge of developing products and selling them into this market. For the blinds industry, motorisation is the key to keeping in step with these wider market and societal trends. That said, there are those in the blinds industry who view motorisation as a complex undertaking that is more trouble than it is worth. However, Somfy’s range of battery-operated products should change this perception as they allow every retailer to fabricate and/or fit motorised blinds with minimum fuss and disruption.

This is where battery-operated blinds really are different – they have none of the traditional, widely perceived challenges associated with conventional motorisation methods. To begin with, as they are battery-powered, they don't require a 240v mains feed. This is often a significant stumbling block for clients who would like motorised blinds. We are all familiar with customers who decide they would like automated blinds, but only decide this at a late stage – a very common occurrence. Because window dressings are often the finishing touch to a room, there is the risk of damaging the walls and surrounds while routing the required electrical supply. A clear advantage of going down the battery-operated route is that this problem is completely eliminated and the customer can have their motorised blinds after all. This applies whether roller or venetian blinds are chosen.

Our Roll Up Wirefree system offers a simple automation solution for all types of roller blind project. Fitting the motor into the blind is effortless. It simply fits into the tube in place of the chain or cord pulley system; just secure the battery wand in place and then plug it in. The blind installation process is exactly the same as with any manual blind. Commissioning is equally straightforward: there is a simple set-up procedure to determine the motor stopping points; once these are established, the automated blind is ready to use. Usefully, battery life is optimised with our power-save feature and there is also an option to use rechargeable batteries if preferred.

Our motorised options also extend to venetian blinds with the Tilt Only Wirefree system designed for 50mm blinds. Fitting the motor is as easy as it is with our roller version; just insert the motor into the headrail and connect to the tilt shaft to let your client enjoy the automatic tilt function alongside the normal manual raise-and-lower operation. Again, commissioning is a simple process of determining the motor tilt stopping points to fit in with your client’s wishes.

An additional benefit of having a motorised blind is the safety aspect, an often overlooked benefit.  The BBSA Make it Safe campaign has been hugely successful in raising awareness about the risks to babies and children associated with window blind cords and chains. The advice on using cord tidies and keeping furniture away from blinds is eminently sensible and practical and should be encouraged by all in the trade. Motorisation also has a role to play as it eliminates the risk associated with looped and pull cord operating systems by doing away with them. That said, inner tapes and cords still remain (on some products) so there’s no room for complacency. It’s just worthwhile considering the important role that motorisation can play in making an installation safe.

It is clear that as customer tastes change, motorisation is increasingly becoming a desirable option for many customers. As a retailer you should embrace this trend. Any product that allows you to upsell and turn in a healthy profit is a blessing for anyone operating in a competitive environment. Our battery-operated solutions are designed to do just that by taking away the headaches traditionally associated with motorisation while allowing you to enhance the value of your offering and make a more profitable sale.



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