The FIRA Innovation Award
FIRA Reception at the House of Lords 2015
Left to Right
Michael Powell, Chairman - FIRA,
Cliff Petit - Space Plug Inventor,
Lord Hoyle of Warrington,
Phil Reynolds, General Manager - FIRA.
A former kitchen fitter, who came up with an idea which aims to revolutionise the way kitchens are installed, has received a prestigious award for his invention.
Manufactured in the UK, Space-Plug is a new type of fixing designed and patented by Cliff Petit. It is an alternative to traditional methods of fixing kitchen base units to a wall and has been selected to receive the FIRA Innovation Award.
With 65 years experience, FIRA is an organisation with unparalleled knowledge of the furniture industry. Expert judges look at innovation, safety, how well the product performs and if it is unique.
Phil Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer at FIRA, said: “Congratulations to Cliff for identifying a problem and inventing this new style of fixing to address it. Our experts were impressed with Space-Plug for its ease-of-use and as an alternative to fixing brackets at an angle. We are pleased to present the Innovation Award to Space-Plug and look forward to seeing its success within the industry.”
Consisting of a small, light-weight plastic spacer with a threaded telescopic body, Space-Plug allows a fixing to be made from the internal front of a solid back kitchen unit. This replaces the need for wall mounting brackets and has a number of additional benefits, including fewer fixing points and enabling a good fit even when working with uneven walls.
Using Space-Plugs to fit kitchens can also benefit manufacturers, as it could enable side panels to be shorter, saving on large amounts of materials.
Cliff Petit, inventor of the Space-Plug, explains: “I first had the idea several years ago while working as a kitchen fitter. It seems like such a simple alternative to using L brackets, which can prove to be tricky to use and there was nothing else like it around. The idea is the Space-Plug is easily adjustable to meet the exact size of the service cavity at the back of your base unit, giving support to the cross-brace anywhere you choose to locate it and then enabling you to fix straight through. Using Space Plugs when fitting a kitchen means that fewer fixing points are required and each fixing point has fewer pieces of hardware. There is also no need to mark, you can fix whilst the unit is in the exact place and you will never need to move a unit. Overall it will allow a better fit, it takes less time and is simple to use. I have received a lot of really positive feedback and encouragement from the industry and so I am thrilled to have been chosen for the FIRA Innovation Award.