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Contractors – the driving force for product development

Marie Parry, group marketing director, Scolmore Group, looks at how feedback from electrical contractors is helping shape the company’s growing wiring accessories portfolio.

Regular engagement with contractors via social media, trade magazines and face to face at exhibitions and trade shows is how Scolmore gains constructive insight into how contractors like to work, the issues they face and what they need to help them do their work in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way.   It is this valuable feedback from contractors working on the job and often in challenging environments that helps to drive the new product development programme.  We want to come up with solutions that will help them to overcome issues and be able to carry out their work more quickly and efficiently.  These are the some of the latest new products that have been brought to market as a direct result of the feedback we have received.

Half media plates

A new range of half media plates was developed to satisfy requests from contractors who were looking for a smaller version of the existing media plates.  The plates feature a decorative ingot switched double socket outlet with a triple aperture that will allow the installation of any three new media modules to build a plate to suit a variety of installation requirements. 

With flexibility and quick installation for the end user in mind, the half media plates include a pre-manufactured insert onto the back of the plate to eliminate the need for a mounting yoke.

There are five new half media plates available - Polar White, Polished Chrome (with a choice of black or white ingot) and Satin Chrome (with a choice of black or white ingot). 

GridPro Media Modules

The extensive GridPro collection of interchangeable mounting plates and modules has been enhanced with the addition of a range of media modules that will widen the appeal and applications for the range with specifiers and contractors.

The new modules are fully compatible with the GridPro range and have been designed to allow a combination of power and media modules within the same plate.  These additions will expand the installation of GridPro across an array of applications where some form of media or media and power combination is required – such as education and training facilities, offices, healthcare premises, hotels, conference rooms.

A total of 16 media modules have been added including USB, VGA, Satellite, TV, Telephone, RJ11, RJ45 CAT-6, RCA x2, Loudspeaker x 2, Audio Jack, HIFI, HDMI, Time Delay and Buzzer modules.

Illuminated switches

Developed with the hotel sector in mind, but with appeal across other applications, are new illuminated blank modules which have been added to the GridPro range, as well as a new accessory plate that allows two single modules or a twin width module to be situated next to two Grid Pro switches to build a plate specific to hotel requirements.  

Combining the key card module with two GridPro switch modules with neon on the hotel accessory plates provides a smart, modern and secure solution.  The occupier of the room will have an internal switch furnished with etched neon indicator modules that they can switch on and off, for example ‘clean the room’/’do not disturb’.  This will illuminate the corresponding module located outside the room, giving staff a clear indication of the occupant’s requirements.   The illuminated blank modules are available in both red and green and available in all 11 of Scolmore’s finishes.

Also new to GridPro is an illuminated switch locator module, which provides a solution for the location of switches in the dark, such as hotel rooms during the night.  There are 3 new modules available each in Polar White and Black finishes with a blue neon indicator.   The 1 and 2 way switches illuminate when the switch is in the OFF position and the double pole switches illuminate when the switch is in the ON position.

Utilising Scolmore’s in-house laser etching service which is available on all GridPro modules, will allow bespoke solutions to be created.

Key lockable switches and sockets

A range of key operated switches and sockets is available across our vast range of wiring accessories collections, offering contractors and specifiers multiple choice when it comes to procuring products that have this required additional security feature.

Providing the means to lock and unlock the power supply to the sockets and switches makes them ideal in a range of applications where security is of prime importance – such as hotels, schools and care homes, to name a few.  With only the key holder able to operate them, this will prevent any unauthorised use of the switch or socket outlets.

The range includes 20A double pole lockable switches and 13A 1 gang double pole lockable sockets and they are available in all of the Click wiring accessories collections - Mode, Polar, Metal Clad, Deco, Deco+, Define and Definity.

The sockets are fitted with two earth terminals to provide a double earth facility when installations require high integrity protected connections.  The sockets also feature a neon indicator to give clear visual evidence of the on or off status of the socket outlet.

Dual mode Dimmer

The problems of flickering and poor dimming range are well-documented issues for installers when it comes to LED dimmers and it is a problem that we regularly hear about when talking to contractors.  We came up with an intelligent dimmer module that not only eliminates flickering, but is much easier to control than regular dimmers.  It is essentially two dimmers in one and offers the installer maximum compatibility.


With a choice of dimming modes – leading or trailing edge – installers can choose the mode that works most effectively with the LED lights they are using.  The electronics inside some LED lamps have better compatibility with trailing edge and some are better in leading edge.


Flicker at the bottom end of the dimming range is quite common when dimming LEDs.  By incorporating a minimum brightness setting, the Dual Mode Dimmer Module allows the minimum brightness to be adjusted, so that any flicker at the bottom end of the dimming range can be trimmed out.


Some LED dimmers can also be quite complicated to install.  We have made installation much easier by positioning two small switches on the back of the module.  Switch 1 allows the minimum brightness to be adjusted; switch 2 allows the dimming module to be adjusted. Their position on the back of the module also makes it easier to change the dimmer settings without removing the module from the plate and so saving installation time.


The Dual Mode Dimmer Module also includes electronic thermal overload protection, so that if the module gets too hot it will cut out without damaging the internal electronics, allowing the module to cool down.  With some dimmers, the overload protection will reset the dimmer to factory settings, resulting in the installer having to be called out to reprogram the dimmer.  With the Scolmore module, the thermal overload protection does not have any effect on the installation settings, which means that the dimmer will remain set in the ideal compatibility settings for the LED lamps, as originally set by the installer.


The small size of the new dimmer module means they can be placed above/below each other on multi-tier plates.  They will fit into 25mm back boxes when used on raised plates and into 35mm back boxes when used on flat plates. 

As part of our quest to engage with contractors, we have recently launched a dedicated YouTube channel – SGTV.  The aim is to provide the viewing contractor audience with engaging, informative and innovative content that will help keep them up to date with the latest products and developments and to hear the opinions of industry experts on issues that impact their working lives.