Brig-Ayd Controls

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Brig-Ayd Controls is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Push/pull hand controls and
steering ball
Owen and Denise Briggs,
Choose independence. Brig-Ayd Controls is one of the
UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of wheelchair/
scooter hoists, hand controls, left-foot accelerators,
steering aids and other driving aids for people with physical
disabilities. They have been designing and manufacturing these
products since 1975 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. It
all started when Owen Briggs’s mother, then an independent
businesswoman with young children, contracted polio. She
wanted to continue driving, however, and the first hand-
controls that allowed her to do so were designed by Owen’s
father, Peter. Owen joined Brig-Ayd in 1983, and has been
redesigning and innovating these products ever since.
The adaptation market has increased immensely in the last 20 years; many disabled
drivers now have far more knowledge and choice concerning driving aids for their
particular situation than ever before. Our customers range from having a vast array
of disabilities, to elderly individuals who now require a scooter for basic mobility.
Two examples in particular of how our products can assist follow:
»A woman with a Nissan Note who historically relied on her family to take her out
shopping due to the weight of her mobility scooter. After we installed a hoist,
she is now able to be independent on the move.
»A 16-year-old with problems with his right leg. After we fitted a left-foot
accelerator, he was delighted to discover that he could learn to drive, just like his
»Directors: Owen and Denise
»Established in 1975
»Based in Welwyn Garden City,
»Services: Manufacture, design
and installation of adaptations
for vehicles for disabled drivers
and passengers
»No. of employees: 21
»Over 120 installers across the
UK and Europe that can fit our
»Thousands of customers are
independent thanks to our
»We will find a solution for a
disabled adaptation to any
vehicle, from a go-kart to a
Brig-Ayd Controls
Our goal is to assist as many of these
people as possible, to allow them to be
independent and to remain passionate
about providing the right product
for each customer. I am personally
always looking at how to improve our
products; some Brig-Ayd designs I have
worked on have since become the
standard for the industry. Our designs
are unique and successful, and, as
a result, we own patents and have
Workshops and installations
We have made a monumental
investment in machinery and
workshops. Our main unit, which
focuses on manufacturing and
engineering, is located on Woodfield
Road. Our array and range of machines
has increased over the years as a
result of this reinvestment, and now
includes robotic, laser, plastic injection
moulding, welding and 3D-printing
capacities amongst other things.
We have recently purchased another
nearby workshop with a view to
converting it into a powder-coating
facility. This also provides us with a
large storage area for metals and
components. Finally, we operate, on
Bridge Road East, central premises
for the main office and customer
reception. All vehicles arrive at this
facility for product installation, and
it is there that product assembly
Around the UK and Europe, over 120
installers have been trained to fit our
products. We provide free training to
any company before they purchase
Brig-Ayd adaptations. This enables us
to assist customers with an installer in
relative proximity – this allows nearby,
quick-response help and guidance. We
recognise the monumental importance
of fostering partnerships with our
installers, no matter their size – they
are integral to our success.
Motability Operations,
challenges and further
Motability Operations is a huge
organisation that provides disabled
people with a stipend to lease a vehicle
and acquire appropriate adaptations,
most of which are then supplied to
the customer either free of charge
or on a heavily subsidised basis. This
provides the adaptation industry with
a constant flow of demand for various
products. This, in turn, generates
a huge proportion of income and
business for the installer, manufacturer
and car dealership involved. We
attend all Motability Operations shows
throughout the year to promote and
display our products. By the end of
Twin flip left foot
Our designs
are unique
and, as a
result, we
own patents
and have won
We are proud to have won a number of awards for both our hoist
and the company as a whole.
»Disabled Motoring UK – Smart Product Award, 2013
»Disabled Motoring UK – Best Car Converter, as voted for by
customers, 2015
»Federation of Small Businesses – Business Innovation Award, 2015
»EEF – Future Manufacturing Award – Smart Product Regional
Runner-Up, 2015
»SME Hertfordshire – Entrepreneur Finalist, 2017
»Biz4Biz – Made in Herts Finalist, 2018
Highlighting best practice
2018, we will have been present in
shows in Northern Ireland, Birmingham,
Exeter, Harrogate and Peterborough.
While we do manufacture all Brig-Ayd
products in-house, we do still rely on
some suppliers for our components.
Unfortunately, in the 2010/2011
financial year, our actuator supplier
provided components that soon
became faulty or degraded massively
after only a short period. This, naturally,
saw a big impact on our sales of hoist
aids; customers and installers began to
lose faith in our products. In 2012, we
thus saw a dip in our sales, and felt it
was time to redesign our hoist.
This proved to be a monumental
challenge, as we began researching
and sourcing actuators that fitted
our specifications perfectly. After
numerous meetings with companies
across the world, we eventually made
our way to Taiwan. Our actuators
and control box components are now
made specifically just for us under a
slew of precise requirements.
Our customer feedback has also
raised some areas for improvement,
including greater arm freedom,
a removable lifting bar and other
positional concerns. The geometry of
the hoist arm was soon changed, and
we have incorporated a new linkage
system, which we have since seen
patented. We have also made the
hoist programmable, and, last year, we
altered the lifting bar to accommodate
buckle and tongue-type attachments;
it is now far easier to use for customers
with, for instance, weak or arthritic
hands to attach to their scooter or chair.
As we are a manufacturing company,
we are also able to fabricate entirely
bespoke adaptations when necessary.
These vary from adaptations on a Ford
GT, for instance, to a request from
Stanmore Hospital for a cup-shape
steering aid to assist an amputee with
The future
In the last ten years, we have seen the
hoist market’s overall turnover increase
by more than 50 per cent, and we
want to start taking advantage of this
industry-wide growth.
Our hand controls, left-foot accelerators
and the Evotech hoist are car-specific.
Every time a car manufacturer alters
a model or releases new vehicles, we
are always looking to produce new kits
alongside. By producing a ready-made
kit for these vehicles in tandem, our
installers can purchase this kit, and install
it at a dealership or customer’s home.
After timely development, our
next priority is increasing customer
knowledge and awareness. The majority
of disabled customers, whether they
are born with a disability or otherwise,
often do not have the opportunity
to see the sheer variety of Brig-Ayd
products available. In keeping with
this, we will be attending at least 15
shows this year to expand our general
market presence and reach. There is no
better moment, in our experience, than
helping a customer who has not been
able to drive for an extended period of
time to realise there are hand controls
or feet controls that can accommodate
their unique situation.
Our next
priority is
and awareness
Evotech programmable

This article was sponsored by Brig-Ayd Controls. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.