Advantages of British Technology

Harper Chalice is promoting the key advantages of its British-designed and manufactured technology – better design, quality and cost – in a new…

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Harper Chalice is promoting the key advantages of its British-designed and manufactured technology – better design, quality and cost – in a new campaign aimed at top-end buyers, not just in the UK but internationally.

“Harper Chalice’s PulseSecure and FenceSecure advanced electrified and electronic perimeter security systems are made in one of the centres for British manufacturing and design – the West Midlands – and that gives us important advantages that we are able to pass on to our customers,”
says Managing Director Graham Harper.

Not least, Harper Chalice systems can be manufactured and delivered more quickly and efficiently. Harper Chalice says a key factor determining its success is its ability to be more responsive than its competitors at every key stage, including site survey, system design, order processing, and delivery, product support and customer service. This responsiveness applies equally to its network of Accredited Dealers, to end users and to system specifiers.

But perhaps the most important advantage, says Graham Harper, is the fact that the company’s technology just works better, because the systems have been designed from the ground up, without compromise.

“The philosophy behind all of our research and development is that the systems we design should be best-in-class and also best value. With each improvement we are aiming for a product that is better, quicker, neater, easier to install, more secure and more reliable.”

“In all aspects of our business – whether its a technical challenge for our engineers or the way we improve our administrative systems – we are looking for what we call ‘elegant solutions’.”

Harper Chalice’s success is demonstrated by the growing number of major, high profile contracts where its systems have been specified. The UK is one of the world’s most demanding test-grounds for perimeter security systems. Traditionally electrified security systems (power fence or ‘electric fences’ to most people) evolved from the agricultural sector and were adapted, with varying levels of success, to sell in the global security market.

“Looking back, these designs seem rather primitive adaptations – yet they are still widely used.”

Taking a different approach, when Graham Harper founded his company in 1998, he used his experience in the market to re-think the way that these electrified systems work; he developed the PulseSecure™ and FenceSecure™ systems from scratch.

Among early innovations was the development of a special, very strong lighter-grade wire for the system infrastructure, which counter-intuitively made the systems more secure, yet easier to install and maintain. In addition, the new PulseWire was specially coated, which gave it superior conductivity and up to four times the corrosion resistance against rusting than normal high tension wire.

As improvements Mr Harper recalls how these were initially greeted by competitors with a mix of scepticism and envy. But this first round of innovations set the stage and regular improvements in component design and electronics have followed continuously in the decade since.

A vital step in this development process was submitting the new Harper Chalice PulseSecure PROTECTOR high and low voltage system to independent testing by various official agencies. Unlike other electrified perimeter security systems the PulseSecure PROTECTOR is a true double pole monitoring system that monitors the integrity of each detection zone with the system armed (HV pulses on) or disarmed.

The testing process was an important challenge and one of the key drivers to innovation, says Graham Harper.

“There was a useful pressure on us to evolve and improve, in order to compete for top level UK contracts. As a result we developed meaningful operational advantages that are as attractive to international buyers as much as those in the UK.

“Today PulseSecure – PulseSecure PROTECTOR and FenceSecure Perimeter Intrusion detection systems are continuously tested to the highest level and they consistently out-perform competitors. Not only that, our technology is proving itself in the field, preventing persistent crime in some very challenging environments.”

In effect the company has responded to pressure in the security-conscious UK to make its technology work better, and this is giving it an advantage in markets around the world. Harper Chalice’s turnover grew by more than 120% last year, and it is expected to do expand more rapidly year on year to meet the growing world markets demands for reliable, effective and dependable electronic perimeter security increases.

The company’s success as a British manufacturer is not just coincidence says Graham Harper – for him it is important that all its components are designed and manufactured in the UK, is it gives his company much greater control over the quality of workmanship. Harper Chalice has not been tempted to outsource off shore despite repeated offers to do so.

“We are regularly approached by manufacturers from China, India, Poland etc offering to take over aspects of our production, but we strongly believe that this would not serve our customers best interests, and nor would it help us to develop successfully long term. We need to be fast on our feet in improving our systems, as risks and requirements change; that is the nature of security technology. By having everything done in our manufacturing heartlands we can test ideas and experiment. In short we can be much more agile.”

Mr Harper lists the key advantage of buying British as: better product design, total quality control, faster delivery time and lower costs. With fuel and shipping costs continuing to rise, he argues that customers in the UK will increasingly benefit from sourcing locally. The same logic applies in other regions, and Harper Chalice will be looking to establish manufacturing partnerships in other countries as its global sales grow – but the production heart (and technical head) of the business will always be in the UK.

Reflecting on the manufacturing tradition that his company is part of, Graham Harper says that for a variety of reasons British companies have been slower to promote their ‘national quality brand’ than those from countries such as Germany and France – even when they have every right to do so.

“When you talk to a German company at an international trade fair the ‘Made in Germany’ slogan is always one of the first selling points, because it is seen around the world as a guarantee of quality.

“We are equally confident in promoting the ‘Made in Britain’ message, and that’s why we have made it one of our key marketing themes for the coming year.

“Our company is a prime example of how British manufacturers are now very smart and very quality-driven – we are part of an industrial tradition that is evolving and finding effective ways to compete in highly competitive global markets,” adds Graham Harper.