Innovation in the Screed & Concrete Sector
We are often asked about the background to the company, and why we develop and market some construction industry products but not others. Basically, it all comes down to the way we see our position in the construction sector and what we seek to deliver to those who work in it.
Metex focuses on three main areas of the construction industry: Screed and Concrete, Fixings Hardware, and Plumbing and Drainage. We do not try a be a “Jack of All Trades” as this inevitably leads to ending up as a “Master of None.” Instead, we decided to focus on innovation and listening to our customers in the industry looking for a better way of doing a particular task, and developing products for those specific purposes.
We started out by agreeing to develop useful tools for the construction industry, combining the strengths of the two directors – one as a long-time director in material supply within construction, the other as a product design engineer, working from makeshift garage offices 300 miles apart, designing, fabricating and painting parts by hand. Thankfully, we no longer need to work from a freezing cold garage, as we now have manufacturing facilities in both the UK and internationally, providing innovative construction sector related products!
Screed & Concrete
We actually started with screed & concrete tools after noticing that certain construction sectors had been unloved until now: The first products we offered for sale were our mild steel screed tripods, painted by hand for corrosion protection. We noticed a need for more stable, stronger and consistently level screed tripods on one of our own self build projects which involved some cheap and cheerful screed tripods, so we laid a cutting jig down and started to manufacture the components to make our own screed tripods!
We realised quickly after talking to and selling our screedpods into the screed sector that this was a niche sector that needed more attention, and we now work closely with the large material suppliers such as Tarmac, Breedon & Cemex.
Our screed & concrete tools are all based around our ethos of innovation, and as the liquid screed market continues to secure market share from traditional dry sand and cement screeds, we’ve developed a quality range of tools that are really useful to the contractor on site – better than using a length of timber as a screed tamp or a cheap fabricated screed level! Now, we are well known for producing high-quality, long-lasting tools for the Screed & Concrete sector, and work with some of most respected material suppliers and installers of flowing concrete and liquid screed in the UK.
We’re also now the exclusive UK supplier of industrial pressure sprayers from Chapin International, a leading manufacturer of industrial and amenity sprayers in the US. For some time, we’d supplied the market leading concrete sprayer for curing aids and mould oils purchasing in volume via a UK distributor, but when this agreement was due for renewal, we negotiated an exclusive agreement with Chapin on a direct basis.
Since then, we’ve stabilized and grown this business within industrial supplies, tools wholesalers, amenities and paving & driveway cleaning / sealing sectors. And it keeps growing: We’re excited to be adding two new much need products to the sprayer range this month, with a commodity 8ltr sprayer that’s used extensively in most sectors, and a dust suppression water bottle that keeps the dust down to a manageable level when working with power cutting and grinding tools on site!
How we work
Knowing your market and talking to your customer base is key to find out what they want or need to make their lives easier, so when developing a new product, we first take an idea and talk to customers to get feedback. We then move to the design phase and then prototype the product using 3D technology, again confidentially talking to customers along the way, and test prototypes in live situations for every product we manufacture!
We’ll then agree our IP strategy for this product and set target manufacturing and retail price points before deciding whether we should commit to metal and lay down tooling that will produce the part. All of this takes time and significant financial investment with most products taking at least 12 months from seed to be ready on the shelf items.
So there’s a lot more going into our product development than meets the eye! For example, a dapple bar is hardly the most technologically advanced piece of kit on a building site, but if you are using it for hours every day, even the smallest improvement becomes noticeable.
We powder coat ours, so they are easy to clean, and did extensive practical research when designing the 38mm bottom bar so that it creates the correct “wave” on site ensuring the correct surface finish is achieved. We even made the handle removable on the 3-metre bar as many tradesmen asked: “How do I get that in my van?”
We are constantly looking for new opportunities and spend a lot of time with tradesmen and other industry professionals, looking at ways (and products) that can save them time or money or overcome a particular niggling issue.
We are always willing to listen to new ideas that can bring widespread benefits. We have enjoyed our journey so far and believe that through our products we have delivered tangible value over and above being competitively priced.
Please get in touch on 0800 130 3646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any further information, or have a product idea you would like to discuss!