Lock maker Pickersgill-Kaye, which became a trading division of ASSA ABLOY Limited from 1 February 2017, is set to become a specialist production base for the rail industry following the announcement of significant new investment in the Yorkshire business by the owner and global leader in door opening solutions.

A dedicated R&D facility and rail centre of excellence will be created as part of an overhaul of Pickersgill-Kaye’s Leeds plant to help drive opportunities for the company in the rail sector through innovation and improved service levels for its emergency override mechanisms, safety critical solutions and locking equipment.

ASSA ABLOY says the level of investment, which includes attracting and recruiting more designers at Pickersgill-Kaye, is a demonstration of its commitment to the business by creating the right environment to develop the next generation of specialist products for the rail industry both at home and overseas.

Managing director, Simon Teagle, said: "Pickersgill-Kaye has been heavily allied to the rail industry for over 150 years and it is this expertise and knowledge that was one of the rationales for acquiring the company. Investing in design technology and designers will not only enable us to continue to support the rail sector in the UK, but also drive sales in export markets too."

In addition to further developing Pickersgill-Kaye’s core offering for train companies, such as LED train door status indicators, cab door locks and passenger emergency units, the Leeds facility will also become a design hub for creating future locking solutions tailored to meet customers’ specific requirements.

Pickersgill-Kaye’s resilience has laid the groundwork over the years in a very specific environment which has won significant orders for its products from high-profile rail projects and Its customer base includes Hitachi, Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, Irish Rail, CAF, Hyundai-Rotem, Ocean Eagle and DB Cargo UK to name but a few.

It is this long-term penetration of the rail market which has enabled Pickersgill-Kaye not only to manufacture locking systems fit for 21st Century trains but also the capability and equipment to support legacy rolling stock on the UK’s rail network – often retro-fitting problematic locks originally supplied by competitors.

However, there is a move towards higher quality, more robust products and some operators are recommending Pickersgill-Kaye’s locks to the train manufacturers in order to achieve the standards they need.

Train companies cannot afford to have a vehicle taken out of operation because one lock is not working, whether it’s on a toilet or a locomotive cab door, which is where Pickersgill-Kaye comes in by producing safety critical equipment that is built to last.

With over 150 years’ experience supplying the rail industry with door locks, Pickersgill-Kaye’s manufacturing flexibility and commitment, now with the considerable support of ASSA ABLOY, will help the company to compete and win further orders for high profile projects against often tough overseas competition.