Warm edge excellence

As Swisspacer celebrates its 20th anniversary, John Cooper, commercial director of UK and Ireland, looks at the evolution of warm edge over the past two decades.

This year, Swisspacer celebrated its 20-year anniversary. We now manufacture 120 million linear metres of warm edge spacer a year. That’s enough to circle the world three times.

Swisspacer has led the way in raising awareness of energy efficiency and providing the market with long-lasting, tried and tested warm edge solutions.

Swisspacer was the first to introduce high performance, rigid spacer bars to the UK, and we’ve driven demand, partly through licences we’ve issued to other warm edge suppliers.

Swisspacer makes warm edge accessible to all sizes and types of sealed unit makers with a user-friendly design and strong, rigid structure. Because Swisspacer matches the shape and dimensions of aluminium spacer bars, and handles in a similar way, it can be processed on existing machinery, or by hand with corner keys; it doesn’t need the dedicated machinery foam spacers use.

The drive for energy efficiency helped build recognition and understanding of the importance of high performance spacer bars to the energy saving window, which fuelled demand for premium products, and Swisspacer’s growth. Swisspacer launched Ultimate, our flagship bar, in 2013.

Tried and tested, it gives outstanding energy efficiency over the lifetime of the unit thanks to its High-Tech Gas Barrier, which stops 100% gas and moisture penetration, preventing sealed unit failure.

Ultimate is ideal for triple glazing because it’s strong enough to cope with the weight of extra glass without modification. It’s widely specified in the most energy efficient buildings, including those built to Passivhaus standards.

Ultimate was the first warm edge spacer to win Passivhaus-approved accreditation and can be found in most Passivhaus installations. According to the database of certified Passivhaus components, Swisspacer is used in 70% of windows, 86% of windows with fixed glazing, and 97% of curtain wall systems.

Swisspacer’s ability to evolve with the market is key to its success. We’ve a solution for every application and a choice of 17 colours to suit the fast-growing demand for colour, and a choice of 19 spacer bar sizes for very slim sealed units and traditional-style windows to oversized sealed units for doors, large windows and curtain walling.

London’s Gherkin, MoMA in New York and the Turning Torso in Sweden are some of the iconic skyscrapers with Swisspacer inside.

Homeowners have fallen in love with heritage-style windows and want looks and outstanding performance. Our Georgian bar, with two sizes specifically for the UK and Ireland, gives a seamless warm edge solution from inner to outer bar, eliminating the need for energy-sapping aluminium internal bars. It has a beautiful high-end finish and the best energy efficiency.

We’ve almost reached the limits of what’s physically possible with psi values, but innovation is the lifeblood of every successful business, so we’re expanding our focus to provide an all-in-one solution, of quality, design and optimal workability. We believe concept solutions that look at the full picture are the future. That includes the most efficient automated solutions for large-scale production, such as Rottler and Rüdiger’s Roweldo XL welder, which produces Swisspacer frames in under 25 second cycle-times.

Swisspacer AIR is our latest innovation, regulating air pressure inside the sealed unit to prevent problems caused by changes in air pressure or altitude. AIR fits unobtrusively into the Swisspacer spacer bar and sealant, relieving changes in air pressure inside the unit to help prevent sealed unit failure. It can be retrofitted to existing windows with Swisspacer inside to ensure long-term performance of the unit. Specifiers and facade companies are also interested as a way of preventing glass deformation caused by temperature changes in large windows.

The market has come a long way since 1998 and we’re proud of Swisspacer’s team and fantastic customers. Our founding principles of honesty, reliability, quality and service remain. We have campaigned for transparency in the market and independent testing of all spacer bars. All Swisspacer products are tested by ift Rosenheim and we believe our customers should be able to compare products across the market and know they are comparing like for like.

In 2017 we established a distribution centre in the UK to give customers the same high-performance product with shorter lead times and outstanding service – our otif rates are near-perfect. We’ve also launched an online ordering platform to make it even easier for customers, and there are more exciting plans for 2019.