WBS: Let’s build a wall bed together

We are delighted to welcome back Wallbed Systems Ltd for our Commitment to Excellence Award.

Malaysia show apartment in new development

Wallbed Systems Ltd (WBS) is a London-based global business offering an exclusive range of beautiful wall bed hardware designs to furniture manufacturers and retailers, hardware distributors and retailers, hotel and hospitality contractors around the world.

Taking inspiration from the original models, which originated in the USA in the early 20th century, Wallbed Systems Ltd (WBS) has been manufacturing in-house spring balance systems over a 20 year period, allowing for precise tension adjustments and easy lifting, so there is no compromise on comfort or convenience.

Behold the Alpha bed
The Alpha bed system is the most popular product globally, available in standard and special sizes, vertical and horizontal mounting, with a choice of leg options and even a desk. The lightweight design comes with robust steel bed frames, with strengthened steel stiffeners for a strong platform. Alpha bed frames are available in single, double, queen or king sizes and come with the adjustable SBLM, allowing perfect balance and easy, safe ‘finger-tip’ operation every time.

Hallmarks of WBS design
All WBS wall beds are easy to install and fit full height mattresses up to 300mm, meaning there is no compromise on an excellent night’s sleep. The full wall bed design includes the bed counterbalance mechanism (SBLM), bed frame rails, mountings, pivot system, springs and fasteners. The powder-coated parts are ergonomic and durable, offering assured longevity. Even more remarkable is the ‘finger-tip’ control mechanism with minimal effort to open and close each bed.

Typical inventory at warehouse

NeXT bed
The latest designs hot off the press include the NeXT bed which give an immediate, ready-to-use solution with or without cabinet, and which still delivers comfort levels indistinguishable from a conventional bed. All products are stocked at multiple locations globally with advice provided around options and sizes.

The beginning: Asian furniture bedding influences for US market
During his previous time in China and Hong Kong working in engineering, then later furniture and bedding 20 years ago, Managing Director, Jeremy Waller, soon saw opportunities for sensible designs of reliable, safe and flexible wall beds, which could feature comfortable mattresses. Once back in the UK, this engineering/bedding combined expertise led Jeremy to helping US clients (where wall beds have been popular for decades) source directly from China.

With Jeremy’s help, the US clients started thinking more in global terms, “That is how WBS started and we continue to manage the supply chain, as well as building the non-North American business. We now distribute in over 20 countries.

“We specialise in creating and manufacturing the complete hardware needed to make any sort – size – shape of wall bed, and latterly have extended this to accessory components.”

“There is considerable power in a wall bed, so we chose to use our own ‘spring system’ which we developed and this has become something of an industry standard. We realised over the last couple of years, that we could license this ‘know how’ – we are now doing this to broaden our supply chain and be more local in many markets we work in. This is now underway and is one of the more radical parts of our strategy for gaining overseas markets,” added Jeremy.

Library bookcase design for our NeXT bed

Lockdown gave design breathing space
The COVID-19 pandemic was a litmus-test for many businesses and luckily for WBS, with everybody working at home and short on space, demand was high as Jeremy Waller explains, “Fortunately, we had inventory, the factory was open ahead of UK shutdown as Asia’s COVID emerged faster, and we ordered increased production based on what we felt the trend was and what underpinned it. It led to record years of growth and sales globally and taught me a lot about change and being prepared.

“Our sleeping solution works equally well in home office environments, small bedrooms, through to student accommodation, micro-apartments and hotel rooms, providing an excellent hybrid living, working, studying and sleeping area, fully maximising the space available.”

The Pandemic gave pause for reflection and allowed WBS the creative thinking time to develop a truly ‘democratic’ wall bed: one that everyone knows and can afford. After a design period, the company came up with the idea of a free-standing bed, with or without a cabinet. This idea has now been brought to market after positive feasibility with cabinet partners: new lightweight but robust cabinets which will further develop this idea.

Nitty gritty of design functionality
Robust wall beds have moving parts that need the correct combination of wear resistance and strength, so WBS make sure they address this with testing and the right processes. The key part of the system is always the correct lift mechanism: the large loads involved in lifting a wall bed. WBS’s objective is to ensure the bed will lift with minimal effort, ‘finger-tip’ effort in fact.

The trademark spring design was not easy to make and was a real labour of love for the team but after now producing somewhere in the region of 1.5 million springs, the proof is in the pudding.

“Most springs are still performing in their original product. Occasionally we are asked to replace a spring which has worn, but it is really rare. Clients like the fact they can replace all parts if needed, even after 15 years.”

Commitment to Excellence: Moving with the times – the magic of lasers
With Jeremy’s traditional engineering background, it has been a revelation seeing the advent of processes such as CNC laser cutting, in the place of press tools and CNC formed parts. CNC machinery has enabled batch size reductions and created a new level of flexibility at unprecedented levels.

“This is then, the next transformation of industry, which has driven the cabinet sector. More than ever, we have to embrace these new methods and advantageously, we find ourselves able to respond to special sizes, small runs, and even special finishes.”

Exceptional distributor customer service and delivery times
WBS has had a longstanding relationship with a UK distributor, Hideaway from the start, who provide exceptional customer service and advice. With high stock levels across many other locations, including Asia, there is always enough for container order completions from inventory, “This is a much higher investment than companies usually make. I also try and understand our suppliers’ challenges and anticipate issues based on experience we have. Most suppliers have been with us for many years, as have our customers, fortunately. We work with talented engineers and look for people who know their machinery, materials, and are enthusiastic. Most seem to be like us, family companies often second- generation with a legacy and massive enthusiasm and persistence.”

For more information on the full product range and cabinet designs:
T +44 (0)208 704 5796
M +44 (0)7780 661958