Irish inventors aim to make self-insulating clip a staple for electricians
Julie and Davy Gray are the driving force behind ViperClip, a non-conductive staple that secures electrical cables to wooden beams and other structures five times faster than existing fastening systems. Traditionally, electricians have used nail clips and a hammer to get the job done, and it’s slow and tedious. Metal clips are available but can only be used with low voltage cables. If a clip is accidentally burned into the cable, it will be live if the cable is live, which could result in electric shock.
Davy Gray is an electrician with 30 years experience and he couldn’t understand why no one had ever designed a staple that didn’t conduct electricity. He had an idea for a fully isolated clip running through his mind for years, and in 2015 the couple decided to put everything they had into developing and marketing it.
The Grays first turned to Queen’s University in Belfast for technical assistance in developing the plastic compound for the staples. “We knew that the success of the product would depend on two things – the design and choosing the right materials for the staples,” says Julie Gray. “It took us a couple of years to work through different designs and we probably looked at 10 different types of polymer blends before making the final decision. There were a number of factors that needed to be taken into account, such as: B. climatic differences, as this can influence the behavior of wood. “
ViperClips are suitable for use on 110V and 240V cables and are specially shaped to ensure a secure fit. Due to their design, the clips cannot be overfired, so there is no risk of damage to the cables. The clips come in strips of 20 and are fired with a pistol that easily fits between bars and into awkward gaps.
“Our staple solves the time-consuming problem, the security problem, and is the quick, easy and safe alternative to manual clips and other cable clips on the market,” says Julie Gray. “ViperClips are used with a cordless, battery-powered stapler. This turns a job that really needs three hands into a job that two hands can easily do.”
ViperClip’s patented system is aimed at professional electricians and is expected to be available by the end of this year. The project was a tremendous time and financial commitment for the couple, who sold everything, including their house, to finance development costs, which to date are around € 340,000.
The dragon’s den
The company was backed by Invest Northern Ireland, and while the Grays were offered an investment by businesswoman Deborah Meaden after appearing on Dragons’ Den, they turned it down in favor of local angel investors. Participation in the program, however, met with great interest in the ViperClip worldwide. The couple have been inundated with calls from potential distributors and licensees and are currently deciding the best route to market.
“We had originally planned to market the ViperClip as a product for electricians’ wiring houses, but from the calls we received, we realized that the product had far more potential, not least because it could be used in difficult conditions.” says Julie Gray. “We have received calls from electricians wanting the product to wire cowsheds in Scandinavia, glamping pods in the Netherlands, trailers in Ireland, caravans in England and an entire city in Scotland.
“There are no other non-conductive cable clips on the market – ours are a unique product,” she adds. “When it comes to staples, our closest competition is US companies that make metal staples with an insulating plastic wrap. However, metal staples conduct electricity and if installed incorrectly, the consequences can be fatal.”