Edgetech – optimistic about the future
Edgetech managing director, Chris Alderson, assesses the last 12 months and gives his thoughts on the year ahead.
At Edgetech, a proud part of the US building products powerhouse Quanex, we work to the same financial year as our American parent company, which ends in October.
Reflecting on the last 12-month period ending in October, we are very pleased with our strong performance and are ready to face a more uncertain economic environment in the UK for the next year.
Over the last year, we have observed several trends which we anticipate will continue throughout 2023 and beyond.
A notable trend is the growing demand for automation. Confronted with the enormous pressures of rising prices, shortages of key materials and the difficulty of finding and retaining qualified staff, many IGU manufacturers are now embracing the switch to automation – and they are finding it much easier than they expected.
I suspect the adoption of more automated processes will continue past the UK’s current economic difficulties and increasingly become the norm throughout the 2020s.
Additionally, there is a significant rise in the number of fabricators who are choosing to produce their own IGUs in-house. This is a response to the unprecedented levels of disruption in their supply chains over the past few years. This will give fabricators a greater control over their supply chains – another trend which will likely continue in the years ahead.
Regarding sustainability, there have been some notable developments. The introduction of Part L has increased the energy efficiency requirement of window products, which may account for the rising demand for triple-glazing in some quarters.
The government has also announced that they will spend £1bn funding measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation for homes with a low energy efficiency rating, although, at the time of writing, this spending does not appear to include window and door insulation.
Economists predict that 2023 will be a difficult year for the UK. Inflation is expected to continue remain high, and a short supply of workers combined with continuing supply chain disruptions and rising fuel costs all contribute to the harder economic environment.
However, not all sectors in the UK have been or will be impacted equally. Our sector has repeatedly demonstrated its resilience. Whilst it will be affected by the broader negative economic trends, I believe it will be strong enough to withstand it. In the years to come, the prospects for glass and glazing will remain extremely bright.
The current housing crisis and climate change will necessitate a substantial amount of new-build and refurbishment work in the decade ahead, and this will drive demand for energy-efficient glazing products.
For these reasons, I continue to be very optimistic about our sector’s future.