Embracing Automation

In this article for Window News, John Crittenden, Managing Director of Carl F Groupco explains that attitudes in the hardware sector are changing regarding automation.

Ten years ago some capability was offered, but Smart Tech hadn’t been embraced by the UK market and the appetite for electronic systems was embryonic.

Today that is changing, solutions have been created, capabilities are being recognised and people are putting real value on the technology.

Looking at why we are on the cusp of a boom in Smart Tech, John points to three things:

i)    The acceptance of, and confidence in, automation in other areas of our lives
ii)   The move towards Smart Homes supported by initiatives taken by major utility companies and technology providers
iii)   The impact of national media coverage and the lifestyle vision presented on programmes such as Grand Designs

With regard to the first point, we are immersed in automation and it has widely become the accepted way of life. Cars have been unlocked using key fobs for many years and are even being superseded with keyless entry systems. We don’t question this technology: it has become second nature, it simplifies the process and most of us would be reluctant to return to the traditional key. This significantly helps the evolution to electronic based technologies in the door hardware sector.

Smart Homes no longer sound like a futuristic prediction. Many people have some element of Smart Tech in their property and, spearheaded by major utility providers, we are moving towards full control and connectivity of home appliances.

New electronic era

The new era of electronic living is widely presented on television and in newspaper supplements – it is regularly featured in aspirational TV programmes including Grand Designs. It is also a topic that is taking centre stage at both business and consumer home exhibitions.

Additionally, other countries have been trail blazers setting out the stall for the scope and potential of the new technology. Germany, the home of locking specialists FUHR, has been particularly pioneering in developing and adopting the intelligent home and integrating this within their door fittings.

Against this backdrop, and supported by our long-standing partnership with FUHR, in 2016 Carl F Groupco introduced SmartSecure, our electronic locking and access control brand. With our track record working with FUHR understanding the practicalities and the needs of the market, we made the decision to fully embrace this opportunity.

The established FUHR multitronic 881 locking system is at the heart of SmartSecure – this gives all important validity to the solutions and assurance that it is tried and tested technology.

 

The traditional key is replaced with a range of access control options

‘SmartConnect easy’ is an optional access control package using a smartphone. Keyless operation and monitoring is provided via an intelligent WLAN-based system. Complete assurance is given with sensor monitoring of door leaf and bolt positions that enable verification of the locking status wherever and whenever required.

A second SmartSecure option is ‘SmartTouch’. This pioneering keyless access system enables easy entry by simply touching a sensor. Access to the property is gained if an active, moving transponder is within range and the sensor is touched. This means keys can be in a pocket when hands are full and the door will open – so, no more struggling up to your house with shopping, putting bags down, finding your key, unlocking the door and picking up your bags again. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

The real value in Smart Tech, such as SmartSecure, comes from the benefits it affords to users, such as easy access when carrying shopping, as described above. The advantages can be value add aesthetics to create a ‘Grand Design’ style home or  practical and pragmatic reasons such as in the care sector e.g. controlled access to authorised nurse or welfare visitors.

Total support and tailored solutions

Total support is essential. Smart Tech can’t be gloss, hype and vapour ware – it has to be a tailored solution, it has to offer real benefits and it has to be supported. The technology is just the tip of the iceberg. Advice and guidance is needed to assist customers as they embrace the new Smart era – our service team was in place from the outset and we appointed a dedicated Business Development Manager. Additionally, all staff that have customer contact are trained in SmartSecure’s solutions.

These are exciting times for the industry where we are witnessing real change and a real opportunity. At Carl F Groupco we firmly believe that you can’t play around on the side-lines offering ad hoc products: total solutions are needed that are comprehensively supported and this is our focus for SmartSecure.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about our different access control options, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Advertisements

Carl F Groupco’s emergency hardware supports safety standards

Established hardware supplier Carl F Groupco is promoting its extensive range of panic and emergency exit gearing, which meets stringent safety standards for public and commercial installations. A comprehensive technical advisory service, including guidance on standards, is also offered by the company.

A comprehensive range of panic and emergency exit hardware is available from Carl F Groupco. Image shows Strand Antipanic gearing (left) and a FUHR emergency exit lock.

A comprehensive range of panic and emergency exit hardware is available from Carl F Groupco.
Image shows Strand Antipanic gearing (left) and a FUHR emergency exit lock.

Commenting on the importance of offering support to the hardware sector, John Mitchell, Carl F Groupco’s Technical Manager explains:

“It can be time consuming for fabricators to translate standards into hardware selection – recognising this, we ensure that we are well versed in the regulations that impact this process and ensure we are fully equipped to advise customers on the best route to achieve panic or emergency exit doors.

“First, it is important to establish exactly where the door set will be fitted and who will be using it – this will determine what hardware is required to meet regulations. Non-public buildings, for example, where potential users have received full door operation training, require hardware to meet the EN 179 standard for emergency exits. However, if the door is to be fitted to public buildings or other premises where occupants may not be familiar with exit routes and hardware devices, the door will need to meet EN 1125 for panic exit. Carl F Groupco offers hardware solutions to meet the requirements of both of these standards.”

As a long-standing partner of the German lock manufacturer FUHR, products offered by Carl F Groupco include the FUHR 870 and 871 Type 8 emergency exit locks for aluminium, PVCu or timber doors. Proven over 18 years of service, the multipoint locks are capable of achieving EN 1125 panic exit and EN 179 emergency exit requirements: in order to comply, the lock must be used with a tested hardware set, such as the CES free movement cylinder and FUHR panic bar. Carl F Groupco also distributes facefix Strand Antipanic gearing: products offered are the EN 1125 Motorised or Modular Touch Bar, the EN 1125 Modular Push Bar, the EN 179 Modular Push Pad and a lever or knob operated Outside Access device.

For a wide selection of panic / emergency hardware plus advice on regulations and solutions, contact Carl F Groupco, the experts in hardware distribution, services and support.

 

For more information about our range of Emergency Hardware, click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

SmartSecure: Intuitive Installation

Carl F Groupco reports that the industry is embracing a major Smart Home technology revolution. To assist those working in the front line, this article sets out to provide an overview of the company’s SmartSecure brand, which offers a range of electronic door locking and smart access control solutions.

John Mitchell, Carl F Groupco’s Technical Manager demonstrates SmartSecure.

John Mitchell, Carl F Groupco’s Technical Manager demonstrates SmartSecure.

Incorporating state-of-the-art FUHR multitronic 881 locking technology, aesthetic, practical and technical benefits are offered across a wide-range of installations including housing associations, the growing retirement-living sector and care homes.

The traditional key is replaced with a range of access control options. ‘SmartConnect easy’ is an optional access control package using a smartphone: this intelligent WLAN-based system is a significant USP that provides keyless operation and monitoring. Sensor monitoring of door leaf and bolt position ensures complete peace of mind as locking status can be verified from any location, whenever required.

‘SmartTouch’ is a pioneering access system that is another SmartSecure option. Easy entry is enabled by simply touching a sensor. Using innovative technology, access is facilitated if an active, moving transponder is within range. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

With strong security and safety benefits, SmartSecure has wide ranging appeal including the fact that doors are automatically locked on closing, which means that occupants are always secure.

Reinforcing the high calibre of security offered, the FUHR 881 multitronic lock, which is at the heart of Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure electronic door locking and smart access control solutions, has achieved Secured by Design accreditation.

Commenting on the importance of being able to display the Secured by Design logo for the FUHR 881, John Mitchell, Carl F Groupco’s Technical Manager said:

“As an officially recognised accreditation body, Secured by Design reassures home owners that products are tested to the most stringent and current security standards. It also aids fabricators and installers in demonstrating the quality of their offer.

This achievement affirms our commitment to the evolution of our range and underscores our objective of providing the very latest in technology without compromising security.”

The FUHR multitronic 881’s intelligent technology, combined with a modular construction, has made the versatile locking system ideally suited for SmartSecure’s range of  access control solutions while also being compatible with third party building control systems, alarms, door openers and access control.

Simple to Fit

It would be easy to think that with all this capability comes complexity of installation but Carl F Groupco emphasises that this is not the case, the company stresses that SmartSecure products are very simple to fit and technical experts are on hand to answer any questions. It is also stylish – all components can be concealed, which reduces the risk of tampering and, for total flexibility, the system can be integrated with existing access control or building management systems. The lock requires just four additional routings compared to a standard multipoint lock, this allows the transformer and cabling to be fully concealed into the frame. If any assistance is needed, the company is on hand to support – as with all Carl F Groupco’s hardware products, comprehensive service and technical assistance is readily available.

To demonstrate the sophistication and simplicity of SmartSecure, a high quality, professionally animated video depicts the capabilities of the company’s state-of-the-art SmartSecure solutions for electronic door locking and smart access control. The video can be viewed on the SmartSecure website http://www.smartsecure.co.uk or via the Carl F Groupco YouTube channel.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about our different access control options, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Cairngorm Group success supported by Carl F Groupco

Recent contract gains for the Inverness based Cairngorm Group, manufacturers of high energy rated windows, are being supported with hardware supplied by Carl F Groupco. With a Scottish distribution centre located in Cumbernauld, Carl F Groupco has a strong track record in Scotland and a partnership with Cairngorm Group that dates back to 2004.

Recent contracts which incorporate Carl F Groupco’s hardware are announced by Cairngorm Group

Recent contracts which incorporate Carl F Groupco’s hardware are announced by Cairngorm Group

Cairngorm Group began working with award winning new home builder, Springfield, in 2013. Latest news is a contract that has resulted in the company supplying its ninth Springfield development. With each site ranging from 50-100 mixed dwellings, the contract is significant. Commenting on the company’s success supplying Springfield, and the input of Carl F Groupco, David Dowling, Managing Director of Cairngorm Group said:

“An ability to provide a PVCu alternative for timber windows, while maintaining aesthetics and functionality with PN reversible window gearing supplied by Carl F Groupco, was pivotal in Springfield’s decision to work with Cairngorm Group. The PN reversible hinge is particularly important as Scottish Building Regulations stipulate that it must be possible to clean upstairs windows from the inside.

“Carl F Groupco has also supported this contract with the Trojan Patriot hinge, which has been colour matched to complement the design requirements of this development. Colour continues to be a hot trend – for this particular scheme, an anthracite grey RAL 7016 outer was selected with white inner window and door frames.”

An additional contract success announced by Cairngorm Group has been achieved in partnership with Compass Building and Construction Services. Working on behalf of Albyn Housing Association, the prestigious project – which is in year two of a potential four-year contract – will result in renovation of 66 houses during this phase. Originally built in the 1970s to accommodate oil rig workers, timber windows have previously been replaced however, PVCu windows have now been selected to offer enhanced durability and longevity. Having successfully fulfilled the security and insulation standards required, the social landlord & local authority sector is a market set for further development by Cairngorm Group.

Established in 1988, Cairngorm Group is active in trade, commercial and domestic markets. A significant increase in both new build and local council contracts has seen growth in fabrication to around 500 frames per week. Services provided by
Carl F Groupco include product supply, hardware selection support and regulations advice.

 

For more information about the Cairngorm Group, click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Doors Open for Smart Tech

An article written for Glass Times, July 2017.

John Crittenden – Managing Director of Carl F Groupco reports that markets are opening up for SmartSecure, the company’s Smart Tech electronic locking and access control technology.

Representing the biggest investment ever made by the company, SmartSecure was no leap of faith.

The FUHR multitronic twin-drive motor which has the capability of locking and unlocking doors.

The FUHR multitronic twin-drive motor which has the capability of locking and unlocking doors.

The solutions incorporate FUHR’s multitronic door lock – these have been distributed by FUHR within Europe and they are already widely adopted in Italy and Germany. Other European countries are following the Smart Tech trend with Carl F Groupco championing roll out of the technology in the UK.

The traditional key is replaced with a range of access control options. ‘SmartTouch’, where entry is made by touching a sensor, was particularly popular with stand visitors at the FIT Show. Access is simple, it is facilitated if an active, moving transponder is within range – it means that you can walk towards your door with your key in your pocket, touch a sensor and the door will automatically unlock. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

The SmartSecure brand also includes ‘SmartConnect easy’ an access control package using a smartphone: an intelligent WLAN-based system that provides keyless operation and monitoring. Sensor monitoring of door leaf and bolt position ensures complete peace of mind as locking status can be verified from any location, whenever required.

Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

Early interest in SmartSecure in the UK is coming from care homes, residential & Housing Association organisations and this is where the first contracts have been won.

 

Selling Solutions

Expanding on the value of the technology, John Crittenden says:

“The appeal to Housing Associations comes from the safety and access features afforded by FUHR’s multitronic
locking system. This is a very neat product which, although it can be described as hi-tech, it is by no means complicated.

“What we are selling here are solutions. We’re not promoting the FUHR multitronic per se, we are providing an answer to controlled access… this means that only authorised visitors, such as care staff, can enter. And access is easy; the person in the home doesn’t even need to go to the door.

“People reading this might think that all this is great in terms of access and control, but what happens in the event of an emergency escape. That is catered for very efficiently, and very simply, with a door handle over-ride all to
EN 179 and EN 1125 emergency and panic escape standards.

“And, aside from care home organisations, this solution has individual appeal. If anyone is worried about an elderly relative, SmartSecure will give peace of mind. The door lock automatically throws all locking points and fully secures the door on closing, meaning that the door is safe from opportunist burglars.”

Both Carl F Groupco and FUHR recognise that the potential for Smart Tech is huge and that care homes are just the tip of the iceberg.  Around the corner are the ‘Grand Design’ opportunities where, increasingly, people with the aspiration for home improvements are looking for state-of-the-art solutions to advance controls and enhance their door locking technology.

Supporting the company’s promotion of SmartSecure is a permanent stand at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon.  The display presents the solutions, and their advantages, to the self-build, renovation and home improvement markets.

The potential for SmartSecure is such that the brand has become  a major new division for Carl F Groupco supported by specially commissioned marketing materials including a video, website, literature and showroom at the company’s Peterborough distribution and administration centre. The company’s technical and sales teams have all been fully trained in the products to provide the answers and support that are needed to support the electronic evolution.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about our different access control options, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Carl F Groupco’s hands on hardware

Julie Warner demonstrates the Roto / PN System 700 launched to the UK at the FIT Show by Carl F Groupco.

Julie Warner demonstrates the Roto / PN System 700 launched to the UK at the FIT Show by Carl F Groupco.

An article written for Window News, July 2017.

Exhibiting on its largest ever purpose built stand, a wide range of hands-on hardware displays were by presented by Carl F Groupco at this year’s FIT Show. Centre stage was SmartSecure – Carl F Groupco’s electronic locking and smart access control solutions: launched at last year’s exhibition, the company celebrated the first anniversary of the brand and its success becoming established as a smart hardware hub.

Managing Director John Crittenden was pleased to meet Window News to present a display which distilled the company’s range of over 7,000 product lines and highlight a handy hardware selector tool that has been developed in-house – watch this space for a new app based on the selector.

Regarding SmartSecure, first year achievements have included developing a fully equipped showroom at the company’s UK distribution centre in Peterborough which presents solutions in a range of installations. Carl F Groupco has also established a permanent SmartSecure display at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) and supplied doors for a number of customers’ demonstration showrooms.

Not Just a Lock in a Box

Commenting on the interest in Smart Tech, John explained:

“Attitudes are changing. The UK market is starting to put value on locking and control technology. What we are doing here is selling solutions…..this is not just a lock in a box and it isn’t a gadget. The real value comes from ease of access and the ability to check remotely that people are secure. This technology is of huge support, and interest, to the care sector, and this is where we are experiencing early attention that is converting to sales.  With the likes of British Gas heavily promoting its HIVE system, there is growing awareness of the capabilities of smart home technology.

“Electronic locking and smart access control are no longer visionary technologies, they are a practical reality. This market is huge: it represents over 20% of FUHR’s business and we are just starting to tap into its application potential. Italy and Germany are the biggest markets, with the UK and Holland following as major growth sectors.

“We recognise the importance of providing a full range of solutions with comprehensive support. We have never been just ‘box shifters’, we have always backed our product ranges with full technical service and this philosophy has never been more important than in our support for the electronic evolution.”

System 700 Show Launch

Aside from SmartSecure, there was plenty to talk about regarding Carl F Groupco’s mainstay hardware range that is the backbone of the company’s offer. As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, the new System 700 range for reversible windows was revealed. The fully reversible system features a slimmer hinge that works on a 7mm groove. With consistent aesthetics across all window types, widespread appeal is predicted including the new build housing market. Expanding on the product launch, John said:

“Reversible windows are an established market dating back over twenty-five years. What we have with the System 700 is an upgraded version of the PN UNI product that retains the trademark durability and functionality while advancing the range making it easier to fit. The latest product in the PN by Roto series is ideal for timber fabricators and systems companies looking to complement their flush casement window range.”

There was a real buzz on the Carl F Groupco stand with staff kept busy demonstrating products. The comprehensive selection of hardware on display also included Cotswold, Greenwood, Hoppe, Ingenious, Kenrick, MACO, Siegenia and Trojan products.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about the System 700 reversible gearing, click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Opening Doors: Access Control in The Domestic Sector

An article written for Glass and Glazing Products, June 2017.

Access control technology has been adopted in industrial and commercial buildings for decades and has evolved to create hugely complex and effective systems to suit the fast-moving pace of business. What is intriguing is the relatively slow transition into residential property. However, as Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure explains in this article, the potential in the domestic sector is about to be realised.

The domestic access control market offers major potential.

The domestic access control market offers major potential.

“The application of, and confidence in, smart solutions in the industrial sector abounds – everywhere we look in the commercial market we see its adoption.

So, why has the domestic sector been slow on the uptake?

One important reason is perception:  the general public often aren’t aware that access control can be simply incorporated into their front door.

All this is changing, interest in Smart Tech is increasing and this is reflected in the number of articles published on the subject, and the exhibitions that are dedicated to the topic, or incorporate it within their remit. We are all familiar with the features regularly appearing in the national press – a simple google search provides numerous articles on the subject.

Smart Technology is also a hot topic at many current events, not least the FIT Show. Outside the glass and glazing industry, there is the Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Summit, now in its third year in London:  a number of high profile brand names backing the event confirm the importance of the subject of intelligent connected living. And, with powerful influencers like Grand Designs promoting Smart Tech, it is clear that we are on the cusp of its more widespread adoption in the home.

People will always want to ensure only those they trust can enter their home: what is evolving is how access is granted.  And, as we rely increasingly on Smart Home technology, the security of the systems in place is becoming more important than ever before.  

Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

At Carl F Groupco, we believe that development and simplification of access control are key to meeting the needs of the home owner. Intuitive design and application is essential: this is the way Smart Tech will move forward in the domestic market.

Access control has worked in the commercial sector since the 1960’s and has effectively eliminated the problems relating to the loss of keys and the issues associated with instant barring of access to unwanted visitors. Although ideal for business, entry systems such as swipe cards are not quite slick enough to enhance our experience of entering our homes, and houses aren’t built with the infrastructure required to support and run commercial systems. Addressing this, Smart Tech has allowed access control products normally associated with commercial buildings to be simplified to suit the domestic market.

Domestic Demand

The domestic access control market is in its infancy, but growing fast. The major opportunity comes from the lack of access control currently in residential properties. With 28.1 million houses in the UK and a Government pushing to build 250,000 new homes a year, the scope is clear to see.
It’s also clear that the retrofit market is buoyant, with DIY installs on the up. The first fit market for people buying new doors is expanding too, with more and more door manufacturers offering a ‘Smart’ solution.

As one of the UK’s leading distributors of window and door hardware it’s imperative that we stay ahead of the curve. Our dedication to having a specialist SmartSecure brand means we can provide expert guidance on this developing market, and supply products and services to suit.  We have utilised Smart Tech to offer the simplified solutions that home owners need – the development of access via mobile with the SmartSecure option SmartConnect and concealed solutions, such as SmartTouch, have made accessing homes much more convenient.

For a hands-on demonstration, and to have your questions answered about the latest in electronic door locking and access control solutions, visit the purpose-built SmartSecure showroom and training centre at Carl F Groupco’s UK distribution and administration offices in Peterborough. Alternatively, we have a display at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon, the UK’s only permanent venue designed to support the self-build, renovation and home improvement markets.

These are exciting times for the growth of smart solutions: anyone interested in any aspect of the new generation smart access control locking solutions is invited, without obligation, to call our office to speak to one of our technical advisors.”

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.