The market for efficient components
Mark Hickox, sales director at Thermoseal Group, discusses the group’s current perception of the market for energy efficient products.
In the UK, we supply the highest volume of spacer systems to the majority of sealed unit manufacturers, which accounts for approximately 60% of the market, so our sales trends should be reflective of the UK market in general.
We know the demand for more energy efficient warm edge spacer systems is high because while our aluminium sales declined as expected, our warm edge sales increased at a greater rate than this decline. Warm edge sales now account for approximately 80% of our spacer sales, and we expect that this percentage will continue to increase as the specifications for high performance windows demand lower U-values.
In Europe, there are also U-value penalties for Georgian bar and systems used to create the multipane window effect, which we anticipate will come into effect in the UK as well. For this reason, we have introduced a range of plastic Interbar and Duplex systems to help reduce this penalty. These systems are colour-matched to suit our Thermobar and Thermoflex products. We are continually expanding this range to include a multitude of sizes to meet customer requirements.
With our eye on the worldwide market, we are also working closely with the majority of machinery manufacturers so our customers can automate their warm edge production using Thermobar and Thermoflex warm edge spacers. Our products have now been tested and approved for use in automation to minimise the cost per unit produced.
We see product innovation as a must in helping to lead the market, so we have employed an additional chemist to concentrate purely on new product development. One of our latest product releases to be designed in our Innovation Centre, and tested within our EN1279 test facilities, is the new Thermobar with 4mm air cavity. As a result of customer feedback, it has been redesigned with a smaller profile height of 5.5mm as opposed to the standard 6.5mm to give a slimmer sightline at the edge of the unit to fit into the window rebate. This is to suit applications where smaller and narrower window frames are required in the restoration and replication of traditional style windows.
Our next product introductions will be larger sizes of Thermobar including 22mm and 24mm profiles. We also have a new Thermoflex Dual Seal product that has been tested and approved for automation. Following that, there’ll be a steady introduction of new products to expand our portfolio of UK-manufactured components and support growth in export business.
You may have seen our recent announcements relating to the multitude of awards we have won for our export business including: The Queen’s Award for Export – International Trade; Amazon’s Export Champion of the Year; and further local awards including a Wigan Business Award and an EEF Future manufacturing award for the north-west region.
Over the past few years, we have continually invested in our Innovation Centre with the addition of further skilled chemists and a whole array of laboratory equipment to develop and trial new products. We now manufacture over 50% of the products we supply and intend to continue to manufacture more industry-leading IG components in-house.
Thermobar is our highest performance rigid tube spacer offering a best thermal conductivity value of 0.14W/mK and also phA+ Passivehaus ratings with hot melt secondary sealant. Thermoflex is the highest performance flexible spacer system with a thermal conductivity value of 0.135W/mK and also offers a phA+ rating.
Both spacers are independently tested and have Bundesverband Flachglas (BF) data sheets for both windows and facades. BF data sheets and Passivhaus certificates are available online at the respective websites.