Supplier Focus: Cobra Anchors – Innovation in Fixings
Wall fixings are a primary focus for our Metex, and we’d like to highlight an important UK exclusive partner of ours: Cobra Anchors. Our Corefix is well known in the UK, but despite being an industry leader in wall fixings and anchors in North America, Cobra fixings are still very much a “new kid on the block” here in Britain!
Metex have been selling Cobra fixings since 2018, and you may recognise some of the Cobra selection from our DIY retail kits. However, Cobra themselves have been operating in the fixings market since 1973, and have introduced more new patented and value-added products than any other fixings manufacturer in North America, with over 22 worldwide owned patented products! Their fixings range from plasterboard and masonry fixings to picture hooks and ceiling fixings, with many self-drilling options and distinctive (and descriptive) names like FlipToggle, TripleGrip and MegaHook.
The Cobra Story
Cobra started out in 1973 by first simply distributing fixings – and the market was very different: “Cobra made its debut in the anchoring world by taking the distribution route. At the time, there was very little choice in this segment and the products available were of very poor quality. Afterwards, we made the transition from a distributor to a manufacturer due to investments. Since then, our mission is to market 1 new product every 2 years,” describes Sales Manager Michel Belzile.
Cobra is now considered the largest direct manufacturer for wall fixings and hooks in North America, and operates two state-of-the-art plants in Montreal, Canada and in Temple, Pennsylvania, as well as a distribution centre in Gonesse, France and up to 15000 points of sale around the world.
Belzile credits Cobra’s growth and success to innovation: “The fact that we have invested heavily in the development of innovative anchoring products has allowed us to stand out from our competitors. The proof today is that the largest retailers (including Lowes, Home Depot and Bauhaus) in North America and Europe sell Cobra products!”
“Our motto is always “Faster, Stronger and Easier” when starting a product development process”Michel Belzile, Sales Manager, Cobra Anchors
How Cobra Work
With their heavy focus on innovation, Cobra invests a great deal in research and advanced technology, with the goal of always improving the performance, safety and ease of use of their products with unique features.
“We always start with existing products and look at the possibility of improving them. Our motto is always “Faster, Stronger and Easier” when starting a product development process. We also have the necessary equipment and qualified personnel to do the testing here in-house, which speeds up the process. And finally, we have partners/suppliers who always provide us with state-of-the-art manufacturing products”, Belzile describes.
Staying ahead of the competition requires constant work, research and monitoring of the fixings market though, as Belzile explains: “Innovation is our engine of recognition on the North American market but also a way to make us known internationally, as consumers are continually looking for products that will make their lives easier. But to be effective, our products are patented to avoid others copying them.
In order to be ahead of the competition, we are constantly looking at what is being done in the anchoring market through the purchase of products, and various trips to trade shows, and there is also the testing element that we have developed here at Cobra with state-of-the-art equipment. We always keep the various new product development projects very confidential, but our goal is to always make the Cobra brand known by continuously adding innovative products.”
The development of a new fixing always starts with examining Cobra’s existing fixings. Their newest fixing in the market is WallDriller Plus, which is, in fact, an improved version of their well known WallDriller, but with double the maximum load, improved grip with three expandable legs, and ceiling fixing capacity.
“We started from an existing product (Cobra WallDriller) and were looking for a way to make the product even more efficient. We also wanted a product that could resist vibration, and at the same time we were also looking to fill a need for ceiling installations,” explains Belzile.
Cobra in Europe & UK
As mentioned earlier, despite being huge in North America, Cobra fixings are relatively new to the UK and the rest of Europe, with brands like Fischer and Rawlplug more visible in the market: “Fischer is of course a well-established and known brand in the European market. Cobra does not have the same recognition, but with the deployment of all our new products on the market since the last 15 years Cobra has built a solid reputation on the world market,” Belzile comments.
However, this is changing fast – according to Belzile, the well-known Bauhaus chain of DIY stores in Germany have chosen Cobra as a main partner thanks to their high-quality products standing out from global competitors.
Cobra is also growing in the UK, supplied not only as part of Metex’s DIY fixings retail kits to hardware stores around the country, including Home Hardware and Bira members, but also distributed by online retailers like Ironmongery Direct and WallWizard. And in addition to the DIY retail kits, Cobra fixings are now available online at B&Q and Selco, with other strong retail brands such as Screwfix & FFX to follow later in 2022.
Find out more about Cobra fixings in our Fixings Knowledge Base – and keep an eye out for more news on our social media!