Barnsley inventor’s new plumbing product snapped up by B&Q

A Barnsley inventor’s new product, designed to make light work of removing radiators, has gone on sale in hundreds of B&Q stores across the UK.

Former Goldthorpe colliery fitter and entrepreneur Tony Cardno has created a radical new design for the humble radiator valve which means there is no need to drain a radiator before taking it off the wall to decorate and so on.

His radiator isolation valve has so impressed buyers at the DIY giant that they have ordered 7,000 units – the ‘Never Drain’ valve will be on sale in 250 stores from this month.

The B&Q order represents Tony’s first big 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.”

TCI Developments Ltd has been supported to bring their product to market by 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. After much research, Tony 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. And Tony is promoting the innovation at trade exhibitions across the UK – with plans to attend one in Germany in March 2016.

The pair’s long-term ambition is to encourage all new-build homes and social housing developments to be fitted with the radiator isolation valve as standard.

Tony said: “It makes sense to us for this low-cost innovation to be fitted in all homes and workplaces to dramatically reduce all the costly, messy, time-consuming hassle we’ve all gotten used to when handling radiators.”

Tony, who has a career in machinery maintenance, welding and plumbing behind him, worked for British Coal at Goldthorpe pit as a fitter for seven years until 1985.

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.”

The radiator isolation has been designed to be compatible for use with all existing systems in the UK, Europe and the USA. And it also works with contemporary column radiators and heated towel rails.

Tony Cardno (left) and Shaun Perry with isolation radiator valve
Tony Cardno and Shaun Perry with isolation radiator valve

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