Keen to find out more about one of the UK’s most popular premium electrical component manufacturers, Hospitality Interiors’ editor Sophie Harper enlisted herself on a factory tour of Focus SB’s East Sussex HQ –
An established British brand based on the glorious Sussex coastline, Focus SB manufactures, finishes and project- manages the delivery of premium electrical accessories and components for hospitality and leisure resorts, prime residential developments, heritage buildings, royal residences, commercial and superyacht interiors internationally.
With expert craftsmen producing both catalogue and bespoke products since 1979, all Focus SB’s products and components are manufactured, finished and tested in-house across the company’s three sites, and exported to Asia, West Africa, Malta and the Middle East.
Well known in the design industry, Focus SB’s beautifully crafted electrical accessories have been selected for some of the finest heritage and luxury hospitality interiors, from Grade II listed buildings and historic royal palaces to iconic modern interior renovation projects, specified by world-class architects and interior designers.
Combining traditional methods of manufacturing with the latest technology, Focus SB’s distinctive faceplates and switches feature elements of hand finishing, which we were lucky enough to see for ourselves during a factory tour.
Having a guided tour of Focus SB’s main factory site is an education, revealing a world of machinery, metals and finishing techniques. GM Chris Turner has been with Focus SB pretty much since the beginning, and what he doesn’t know about electrical components and switch plates, quite frankly, isn’t worth knowing.
Chris shows me around the machinery – the punching and laser-marking equipment, the brand- new CNC machine, and ‘Nelly’, the polishing robotic arm (you’ll have to do the factory tour yourself if you want to find out the story behind the name!). We’re introduced to the team, and get to see each stage of the production process as it happens in real time.
They start with quality raw materials, which are delivered to HQ direct from the mills. The materials – namely, stainless steel and solid brass – are then sorted ready for use, where they are punched, laser- marked, polished, and assembled by hand before being quality checked. One of the most satisfying parts is the electrophoretic process, where the finishing solution is applied, washed, smoothed and baked on.
The amount of water used for the process raises questions, but Chris tells us how everything is recirculated, sorted, and then used again and again. In fact, one of the best things about Focus SB’s manufacturing process is that it is pretty sustainable, in as much as every piece of waste metal is sent back to the supplier to melt down and recycle, machinery is serviced and maintained on-site to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, packaging has been reduced down to the bare minimum, and this year the company has installed its own solar panels to help generate its own electricity.
“Sustainability is important to us and we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and minimising our impact on the environment,” says Steve Moss, sales and marketing manager. In 2021 Focus SB became a member of BEAMA, the UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure technologies and systems, and was invited to join and be front and centre of policy- making and decision-making for the future of electrical industry standards, alongside their peers.
Focus SB products have been selected for a number of high-profile hotel projects because of their quality and the number of colours, finishes, shapes and sizes the company is able to produce. In fact, most of the company’s job orders are for bespoke items – most recently creating unique faceplates and electrical accessories for 1 Hotel Mayfair, The Londoner Macao, The Aspen, and a couple of top- secret projects to be revealed at a later date.
Focus SB’s niche ability to match finishes across a myriad of specialist electrical accessories offers a solution to designers that enables them to set their interiors projects apart from the mainstream. “The experience of our engineering team means they’re able to make complete bespoke packages for our clients,” says Steve, showing us examples of custom- made panels and faceplates. Even bespoke back boxes are manufactured for these products in-house to ensure a perfect fit. They’re so conscious of how their products should look and feel to the end-user, they even provide a dedicated project manager to work alongside their product consultants, and technical resource to work with the design and installation team on-site at each project.
The overarching message from factory floor to company leadership is the care and attention that goes into making Focus SB products. There is a great sense of ownership from every member of the team. Pride takes centre stage, which shows in the quality of the finished products – and that sets a high benchmark for the industry.