Sangamo was acquired as a new business by Scolmore Group in 2018 and added to the ESP product portfolio, but the origins of the company actually date back 100 years. PEW spoke with Neil Baldwin, managing director at ESP about how the company has evolved over the last century.
Q1. How did you get involved in the industry and with Sangamo?
I started work straight from school in export sales for a UK lighting manufacturer and quickly progressed through the ranks to area sales manager, regional sales manager and finally to national sales manager, a position I held for five years. In 2013, I joined the Scolmore Group of Companies as national sales manager for ESP, before being promoted to sales and commercial director and finally taking over the reins as managing director in 2019. Sangamo was acquired by the Scolmore Group in 2018 and its range of specialist time switches and heating controls, now sits under the ESP umbrella.
Q2. Sangamo is currently celebrating its 100th year, how has the company evolved and what challenges has it faced over the years?
Over the years, there has been a significant reduction in the workforce, as new machinery and technology and changing working patterns were introduced. However, there is one product that has stood the test of time. Sangamo has been manufacturing its famous Round Pattern Time Switches for more than 70 years and has sold over 11 million units to date. The installation of these time switches used to be a regular job for many electricians. Despite the electro-mechanical time switches being less common today, we still sell thousands of units each year, both as replacements and as brand new installations.
We regularly hear from people with Round Pattern Time Switches still going strong after 40 and 50 years. When they eventually need a new switch, they reasonably assume, because of its age, that it might not be possible to get a direct like for like replacement. However, because the original design has never needed to be updated, an RPTS you buy today is completely interchangeable with one bought decades ago.
Q3. Is smart technology and building automation changing the way contractors and end users think about switches and controls?
We are living in a time of rapid technological development, with smart homes and the internet of things seeming to dominate the sector. With the speed of this change and the huge number of smart devices and products being developed, it can be a challenge for electrical professionals to keep up to date with the latest new products and trends. ESP has continued to invest in the Sangamo range of heating controls and time switches to ensure they harness the latest technologies.
Bluetooth-compatible timers were added to the Sangamo DIN Rail Time Switch collection. The range is designed to offer convenience and versatility to the user and broaden the product category reach to a wider potential market, where it will help manage costs in residential, commercial and industrial applications. It uses Bluetooth technology to programme the timer and is compatible with Android and IOS, and applications include lighting, security, heating, ventilation, irrigation and horticulture.
As more and more households are seeing the benefit of smart devices to control various elements in the home, so the demand for smart controls that can help with energy saving in particular is on the increase. The introduction of a Wi-Fi thermostat to the Sangamo range offered installers the opportunity to easily add a smart control function to their customers’ home heating. The Choice Wi-Fi Thermostat allows users to control and monitor the room temperature and thermostat activity from anywhere in the world, through the free to download SANGAMO CHOICE APP.
Q4. What do you think has the greatest impact on customer purchasing decisions in the controls market?
There is a growing awareness of the benefits of smart heating controls. UK householders are becoming much more environmentally aware and are using smart heating solutions in order to minimise energy usage and to save money. It is estimated that around 5% of UK homes now have smart heating controls installed.
In 2017, it is estimated that around 30% of heating controls sold by value were smart heating controls. This figure is likely to increase to over 45% of heating controls sold by value by 2022. However, the shift to smart heating controls is likely to be gradual and a large number of homeowners are expected to continue with conventional solutions. The primary focus of many suppliers will be key benefits such as ease of use and convenience for customers.
Q5. What does the future hold for Sangamo?
We made a significant investment earlier this year to develop the Sangamo range of timers and heating controls. The new range has been totally revamped and showcases brand new products, as well as enhancements and improvements to existing products and introduces key features that are designed to boost the products’ energy saving properties. The new-look range can be broken down into four main product categories – timer controllers, thermostats, programmable thermostats and programmers – with a total of 15 products making up the comprehensive collection.
With energy efficiency top of the agenda for the economy, businesses and householders, a key aim of the revamp was to introduce features that will assist with efficiency and performance and that will ultimately drive down energy usage and costs.
We will continue to develop the Sangamo range and will have some exciting new additions to showcase very soon.
To learn more about Sangamo, Click HERE