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Engineering for child safety

Meet Bas – The driving force Behind Our Child-Safe Solutions

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At Coulisse, we are passionate about creating innovative and safe window covering systems. Our dedicated in-house engineering team works tirelessly to design and test our products, ensuring they meet the highest safety standards. One of the key members of this team is Bas Klein Tuente, an authority in the window covering industry and the joint Manager of Engineering at Coulisse. We sat down with Bas to learn more about his background, his role, and his vision for the future of child safety in window coverings.

Bas, can you tell us about your background and role at Coulisse?

I have been working at Coulisse for over 21 years, and I love what I do. As the Manager of Engineering, I oversee a team of over 25 expert engineers who specialize in different aspects of window covering systems including the quality engineers and product managers. We're always thinking ahead, striving to find better solutions for the market.

What is Coulisse's philosophy when it comes to child safety in window coverings?

Child safety is a top priority for us. We adhere to the latest safety regulations and industry standards, but we also go beyond that. Our philosophy of 'child-safe by design' means integrating child-safe solutions into our systems from the start, rather than adding devices as an afterthought. For instance, our cordless systems, like the cordless solution and smart motorized Motionblinds, eliminate the risk of cord entanglement. The Twin Pull system, a unique feature, allows operation with two short wands. Additionally, our manual pull control to operate Motionblinds smart motors offers a safe and simple manual operation to override smart controls if needed. All these solutions are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and cost-efficient.

How do you develop products to ensure they meet safety standards?

We follow a rigorous four-phase process to ensure our products meet safety standards. The R&D phase involves market research, trend analysis, and defining product requirements. The design phase focuses on creating child-safe, modular solutions across product lines like roller, honeycomb, and roman shades. We design safety features like child-proof pull wands and safety tensioners, test in-house, and 3D print prototypes. The production preparation phase is critical - we build molds and tools for mass production, then rigorously test products using specialized equipment like endurance test machines, climate rooms, motor test machines, and tensile test machines until results meet our stringent standards. Finally, the market launch phase ensures proper documentation, certifications, marketing materials highlighting safety features/benefits, and comprehensive training for distributors/retailers on safe installation and use. Our dedicated customer service team supports any post-launch issues. Safety drives our rigorous multi-phase development and testing process.

How do you ensure child safety compliance?

To ensure compliance, we send our product samples to external accredited testing facilities for certification according to relevant safety standards. We collaborate with reputable organizations such as Bureau Veritas and TÜV to ensure our products meet regulations across different regions. Our products comply with standards like ANSI/WCMA A100.1, EN 13120, EN 16433, and EN 16434. Moreover, our engineers stay updated with the latest industry news and participate in standardization bodies like the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) and the Conceptual Engineering Network (CEN) workgroups. This involvement allows us to contribute to the development of new safety standards and ensure our products remain compliant with the most up-to-date requirements.

How do you help customers with the product launches?

Finally, we launch our products to the market, providing customers with the necessary documentation and certification. We also offer training and support on how to install and use our products safely and correctly. We create marketing materials and manuals that showcase the features and benefits of our products, and we provide online and offline training sessions for our distributors and retailers. We also have a dedicated customer service team that can answer any questions or issues that may arise after the launch.

What future trends do you foresee for child safety in the industry?

I believe motorization will continue to grow, becoming more accessible and affordable for end users. Motorized systems are not only convenient and smart but also very safe, as they eliminate the need for cords or chains. We are particularly proud of our Motionblinds range, which offers wireless and battery-operated motors that are easy to install and integrate with smart home systems.

What sets Coulisse apart from the rest?

Our Twin Pull system is likely to become more popular and widely adopted as it is a great alternative to conventional chain-operated blinds. Twin Pull, which we invented and patented, allows operation with two short wands. It features a beautiful, integrated design and is available for roller and honeycomb with plans to expand to other product groups.