Tony Cardno with the radiator isolation valve.
Nick Hill

Barnsley inventor’s plumbing product picked up by B&Q

A Barnsley inventor has seen his new product, designed to make removing radiators an easy task, go on sale in hundreds of B&Q stores across the UK.

Entrepreneur Tony Cardno, a former Goldthorpe colliery fitter, has created a new design for the radiator valve which doesn’t require a radiator to be drained before taking it off the wall.

B&Q were so impressed with Tony’s radiator isolation valve that they have ordered 7,000 units - and now the ‘Never Drain’ valve will be on sale in 250 stores from this month.

The B&Q order is Tony’s first major deal following seven years hard work and investment to design, develop, patent and manufacture his innovation.

Tony, who has set up TLC Developments with his nephew and business partner Shaun Perry to promote the new valve, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see our product on the shelves at B&Q. It’s been a long journey to get to this point and we hope this significant order with such high-profile retailer will be the first of many.”

TCL Developments Ltd was able to bring this product to the market after receiving support from Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) through the Enterprising Barnsley programme, which is funded by Barnsley Council.

Tony had the idea for his radiator isolation valve, which can seal off radiators from heating systems, while he was changing a radiator at Shaun’s chalet in Cleethorpes in 2008.

Tony said: “It was such a messy and cumbersome job having to drain the thing before I could take it off the wall and I thought, there’s got to be a better way to do this.

“My valve simply seals the radiator on the one hand and then closes the pipe to the heating system on the other so that it just lifts off the wall intact with its chemical-based inhibitor fluid still inside.

“It removes the need for towels on the floor to soak up spillages and also means you don’t have to pour the anti-corrosive fluid taken from a radiator down the drain, which ultimately pollutes our water courses. It makes it a much easier, quicker, greener DIY job.”

Over the last seven years, the company has registered the patent for Tony’s design and gained the BS 2767 standard, following rigorous testing at Sheffield Testing Laboratories.

Tony then secured a manufacturer for the product in Ningbo, China through the Alibaba global trade site.

Tony and Shaun have now begun working with Masefield Beta UK plumbing distributors to push the product out to more customers including plumbers’ and builders’ merchants. Tony is also promoting the innovation at trade exhibitions across the UK – with plans to attend one in Germany in March 2016.

Enterprising Barnsley has helped TCL Developments with marketing, sales and corporate development.

Kevin Steel, Enterprising Barnsley’s business development manager at BBIC said: “B&Q’s order is fantastic news for Tony and Shaun who have worked long and hard to bring their product to market.

“It just shows that in business you need the innovation first and then the determination to launch a brand new product and get it to market successfully. We hope this order is the first of many for Tony’s radiator isolation valve.”

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