Restoring the balance

Fabricators have a lot on their plate – and sometimes, that means hardware gets overlooked. Caldwell MD Ken Wilson thinks that’s a mistake.

Balances and friction stays aren’t flash. They’re not exciting. In fact, they’re extremely easy to overlook. But they’re important.

As an industry, we’re understandably obsessed with the core window and door products. That makes total sense, because it’s what end-users are interested in, too. As far as they’re concerned, they’re buying self-contained products: a window, a door, a conservatory, etc.

But what they’re actually buying is a complex network of different components, all of which have to be excellent if you want the end result to deliver outstanding performance. And when hardware becomes an afterthought, it’s that performance that starts to suffer.

At Caldwell, we’ve been arguing for the importance of high-quality hardware for decades.

We’ve built our business on making some of the world’s most robust balances and friction stays. Our range has diversified hugely over the years – but it’s those two products that remain the core of what we do, and that, in my time as MD, I want us to focus on the most.

Today, it’s our aim to provide an outstanding balance and friction stay product for every requirement.

Whatever the window material, whatever the size, there’s a class-leading Caldwell balance to fit.

Our single-spring Spirex brand, for example, is best suited to more lightweight window configurations like secondary glazing, and is predominantly used in non-tilting timber frames. Compatible with sashes between 1kg and 13.5kg in weight, it offers 25% mechanical assistance.

Spiralift offers the same reliable, cost-effective performance as the Spirex model, but is built to take heavier loads. A Spiralift balance can handles sashes up to 18kg in weight.

The Alumatilt range offers the perfect solution for tilting sash windows, and comes in two types: Standard, suitable for sashes between 1kg and 13.5kg; and Heavyduty, suitable for loads up to 18kg.

When it comes to spring balances, the Ultralift 6 helps sash window fabricators offer flawless operation. Providing up to 80% assisted lift, the UL6’s superior technology allows for smooth, quiet, maintenance-free operation.

Its high spring tension along the length of the balance prevents the sort of ‘hop and drop’ issues that affect so many windows that use lower-quality components. What’s more, it’s currently the only spring balance on the market that achieves AAMA Class 6 (the highest grade possible) in performance testing.

But for the most demanding of applications, it’s our double-sprung Torso balances that excel the most. Renowned for its reliability, the Torso has been successfully tested to over 50,000 cycles, equivalent to 100 years of regular use, and can be used in sashes as heavy as 50kg. It also provides between 70% and 75% assisted lift.

And our comprehensive selection of friction stays is one of the best in the business.

For top and bottom hung windows, we have the four-bar AMC200, capable of accommodating weights up to 80kg. For side-hung windows, we have our AMC4000 series, capable of supporting vents up to 52kg, and the more heavy-duty AMC5000, which can cope with up to 72kg.

And for curtain walling and other heavier installations, we have the high-performance SG. Made from austenitic steel and brass, the SG’s reinforced support arm allows for superior strength and consistency, and can support vents up to 140kg.

Ultimately, our aim is to make it as easy as possible for fabricators to make best-in-class doors and windows.

They’re under increasing pressure from all sides, facing materials shortages, labour shortages, and ever-more demanding installers, who themselves are fighting to please ever-more demanding end-users.

And as I see it, it’s our job to ease as much of that pressure as we can, by being a reliable, supportive supplier of world-class hardware that’s robust, reliable and cost-effective.

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