We had already been working with Codelocks in Newbury for a number of years when they asked us to assist them with diversifying their product range. They wanted to find new ways to use their expertise in mechanical and electronic door locks to broaden their market reach and expand their range of successful products. With unrivalled experience of the lock manufacturing sector, Codelocks were in an excellent position to diversify, and we arranged a workshop to get the process started.
Considering all the angles
Our discussions focussed on all the possible uses for a medium level security device. These included boxes for securing keys, desk drawers and externally mounted mail boxes. However, the idea that seemed to have the most potential was to replace the small keylocks that are often fitted to cupboard doors and lockers with a digital alternative. The sales potential of such a product seemed very promising, but our challenge was how to shrink Codelocks’s digital door locks down to the right size?
Honey, I shrunk the lock
Making the lock the right size to fit a standard office cupboard door and look appropriate involved a number of steps. First, we worked with Codelocks on the design of a new lock mechanism and control circuit board. Then we looked at ways of minimising battery use and size. We also explored ways of miniaturising the operating buttons and the programming button that is used to set the lock code. Finally, we spent a considerable amount of time designing the lever that opens the lock. This had to be easy to operate, but not so easy to grip that it could be forced open, which was a tricky balance to strike.
The product was designed to be a simple retro fit to a standard cupboard door, so it used the same size main fitting hole. The lock also had long-life batteries that could be replaced by releasing one fixing screw and pivoting the body about its main axis, allowing access to the battery compartment.
The original product was designed in 2004. Since then literally millions have been sold and the product has resulted in numerous variants, a new sub-brand: Kitlock, and many copy-cat products.
As Dominic Ryan, of Codelocks/Kitlock puts it:
“We had a good idea that the Cabinet Lock was going to be a successful product and are delighted to have been proved correct. It has opened up a large and very significant market place for us with sales growing month on month.” He continues, “We can comfortably attribute a significant part of the success of the cabinet lock to Crucible's involvement. The design is not only stylish; it is very easy to use and to fit.”