Over 100 years of innovation with WernerCo
Aug 22, 2023
Founded by R.D Werner in 1922, the WernerCo brand started life as a carpet and flooring supply company, its work also included metal floor and wall mouldings. Today, over 100 years on, WernerCo, which boasts a portfolio of premium quality ladders, access towers, work platforms, accessories and fall protection equipment under its Werner, BoSS and ZARGES brands is a business recognised across the world for its state-of-the-art products. Specifically for its dedicated focus towards the ever-changing needs of end-users through a long-standing commitment to innovation, evidenced by the company’s 600 plus patents, and industry-leading awards over its history.
WernerCo’s passion for innovation began as it anticipated metal shortages in the lead-up to World War II, in 1939. The company became one of the first to extrude plastic and served as a prime contractor for the US Navy, manufacturing plastic inhibitor strips for rockets.
Just over a decade on from this, during the 1950s, the original Werner brand unveiled previously unheard-of designs for homeowners, such as ladders that didn’t require assembly and Alflo twist-proof rung joints manufactured to offer a stronger rung-to-rail connection for optimum stability. In addition, Werner pioneered the field of fibreglass ladders for the climbing industry.
Over the following years, WernerCo made several key acquisitions, building the company’s business and product portfolio, extending its market reach. In 2006, WernerCo launched the Werner MT series of multi-purpose ladders featuring an adjustable telescopic design.
Fast forward to today, WernerCo remains a name synonymous with innovation, and visits to its Maldon factory and Burton-Upon-Trent distribution centre confirm just why that is. In order to meet consumer needs, Maldon offers global manufacturing capabilities; home to leading manufacturing equipment including a range of fully and semi-automatic welding robot cells that ensure efficiency to meet demand.
Such machinery runs for 16 hours per day and is partly responsible for the factory’s impressive 1.1 million cuts and 3.6 million welds per year; helping to support its 69 skilled employees across the site, including six dedicated manual welders.
This investment in technology not only supports efficiency, it helps WernerCo to tackle waste too. This is a particular focus, with 80% of the 250 types of products manufactured in Maldon being made to order. In addition to the factory’s zero waste strategy, is its sustainability practices, such as LED sensor-enabled lights, which have amounted to a 70% annual energy saving on lighting.
However, despite a clear focus on productivity, safety remains the key priority for WernerCo, and its commitment to ensuring the safety of those working at height and innovation surrounding this issue is at the heart of all three of its companies.
So much so that the company extended its efforts beyond product development initiatives announcing its ‘Stepping up to Safety’ campaign last year. Having been viewed by thousands of professionals and generating hundreds of web visits, the campaign’s online guides cover best practice topics to help users feel more confident when using working at height equipment, such as how to use equipment safely, how to choose the right equipment for the job, as well as how to inspect ladders correctly.
It also continues its work as a gold sponsor of the No Falls Foundation - the first charity to offer advice and support to those working at height, encouraging safe practices and risk awareness among users. In addition, the brand has developed close relationships with industry bodies, such as the Ladder Association, and supports initiatives, which are dedicated to promoting the safe use of ladders and access equipment through education, training and resources.
WernerCo looks forward to another 100 years of product innovation and development and continuing to support professionals in working at height safely.
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