It’s time to think big, says Thermoseal Group’s managing director, Gwain Paterson.
Sealed unit manufacturers appear to fall in one of two distinct camps, according to Thermoseal Group’s owner and managing director, Gwain Paterson: those who are aware of an increase in demand for triple glazing, and are doing something about it; and those who are aware, but choosing to sit still.
“I’ve genuinely had conversations with customers who have stopped me mid-sentence because they don’t want to think about what they need to do to change their operations if the demand for triple glazing goes through the roof,” Gwain says. “I suppose they think that if triple glazing is specified more to meet the expected tightening of the regulations in 2025 – where we could see windows having to achieve U-values as low as 0.8W/m2K – then they will be able to make the necessary adjustments. But I have to question that strategy.”
Thermoseal Group’s growth strategy has been a continuous one since it was established 44 years ago, first expanding its product range, before growing its manufacturing division, then developing its export strength. This, Gwain says, means the company’s ability to meet the expected increase in triple glazing demand is taken it is stride.
“The business will continue to grow regardless of the move to triple glazing from double glazing,” he says. “But since we expect it to happen (and are already seeing it happen) then it makes sense to factor those requirements into our plans.”
The most popular width of Thermobar is 20mm for a standard double glazed unit, and Thermoseal Group is installing new lines and storage facilities to manufacture and distribute Thermobar in 12mm, 14mm and 16mm widths in preparation for the increase in demand for triple glazing.
According to Thermoseal’s figures, Thermobar is the glazing industry’s most popular warm edge spacer bar. Manufactured and distributed from its new facility in Wigan, Thermobar frames can be cut and joined with corner keys, processed on labour saving automated bending equipment, and is PassivHaus approved thanks to it ultra-low thermal values.
Thermoseal also manufactures Thermoflex flexible spacer bar from the same site, and has recently invested in a third twin-strand extruder, which can produce all thicknesses including 4.8mm, 6.3mm and 7.3mm, and air spaces up to 28mm in twin strand. And because it is quicker than the company’s existing equipment, it can produce more than double the quantity of product per shift on certain product types.
Thermoseal also supplies a range of other products required for the manufacture of sealed units, including corner keys, Georgian bar, desiccant, primary and secondary sealant, and cloth tape. All components are tested at the company’s laboratory before distribution, guaranteeing that they all work together effectively for a long-lasting sealed unit.
Recent investment includes new injection moulding machines at the company’s large warehousing facility in Birmingham, new solar panels, new electric vehicles and new product development.
“We now have upwards of 100,000ft2 of factory space in Wigan,” Gwain says. “And along with new tooling, lorries and stillages, we are prepared to keep our customers stocked with the components required to manufacture triple glazed units.
“But we are also growing our export division because regardless of what we expect the triple glazing market to do, we need to keep expanding the business.”
Thermoflex is especially suited to the export market because there’s a growing global demand around the world for flexible spacer bar, according to Gwain.
“There are not many companies producing products like that around the world,” he said. “We see governments bringing in legislation to have more efficient windows to keep the heat in and to keep the heat out. This presents a fantastic opportunity for us.
“And with flexible spacer bar, you have the added benefit of automated production, which many overseas customers are developing.
“So, while I’d say that our customers may fall into one of two camps, we sit in a third: continuous growth and expansion that will allow us to service the increased demand for triple glazing as and when it occurs.”