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 Cars have been unlocked using key fobs for many years and are even being superseded with keyless entry systems.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.

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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.

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.

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.

Women In Industry: Clare Crockett – Marketing Manager

An article written for Clearview, May 2017.

 

1. Describe your current role – what do you enjoy most about it and what are the more challenging aspects of it?

As Marketing Manager for hardware distributor Carl F Groupco, I am responsible for managing the marcomms for all our brands, including Carl F Groupco, SmartSecure and Carl F direct. The scope of my role includes planning and strategy. I enjoy the variety of my work, which includes practical implementation of campaigns and close interaction with the rest of the team. As distributors of over 7,000 hardware products there is often a challenge presenting the diversity of the range, but with this comes the satisfaction of successfully showcasing our lines and service capabilities.

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

2. Explain your previous roles and qualifications, and how they lead to your current job – how has your previous experience benefitted the job you do now?

After graduation from Oxford Brookes University with a BA in Marketing Management in 2008 I became Marketing Assistant for, what was then, Carl F Petersen. I was heavily involved in the rebranding of Groupco and Carl F Petersen following the merger in 2010 which resulted in the formation of Carl F Groupco and that paved the way to my promotion to Marketing Manager.

 

3. What job did you aspire to have when you were at school?

At school I loved Business and Media Studies. For me, Marketing is a great combination of both of these disciplines where I get the best of both worlds. It’s great to be working at the forefront of Carl F Groupco’s strategy including creating the new brand SmartSecure and developing collateral to help achieve our business objectives. The marketing role fulfils the career path aspirations I had at school.

 

4. What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the industry?

I wouldn’t say that there are any particular challenges to face as a woman in this industry. Most organisations have women at senior levels and, as I look around me, 40% of the Carl F Groupco workforce is women, a number of whom are in senior positions.

 

5. Likewise, what opportunities are there for women coming into the industry and would you recommend it?

I would definitely recommend this industry to anyone; there are plenty of opportunities for good career paths. As long as you are passionate, committed and qualified there is scope to succeed.

 

6. What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar career?

My advice would be to know yourself and know your craft. It is also imperative to put customers at the heart of the matter. Be prepared to stand back from your work and be critical – don’t be afraid of inviting comment from colleagues and customers. Gender is not a barrier to career progression.

 

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 at the FIT Show 2017: Smart Tech and Hardware Highlights

After winning the most successful visitor campaign at the FIT Show in 2016, Carl F Groupco prepares to return to the exhibition with a bigger stand, more Smart Tech demonstrations and impressive hardware innovations. Managing Director John Crittenden explains why the show is exciting for the company, and for visitors to the Carl F Groupco display:

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco.

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco.

“We work hard to be proactive and, as we offer one of the largest and most innovative hardware ranges in the UK, our demonstration area always has strong appeal. Our 96 sq metre stand houses exciting new generation hardware in the form of SmartSecure, our electronic locking and smart access control brand, plus a range of industry leading hardware highlights.

With over 7,000 product lines from leading manufacturers, it is always a challenge for us to consolidate our range. But, hats off to our marketing and technical teams, they have devised a stand that is impressive in design, appealing in terms of hands-on displays and comfortable with a large area for visitors to sit down, enjoy refreshments and discuss their hardware requirements.

We will be presenting flagship lines and our fabulous new catalogue will be available that summarises all our ranges. We also have a hardware selector that we are launching at the FIT Show 2017 – we understand the challenges of selecting the right fittings so, with this in mind, we have devised an intuitive display supported by product examples, graphics, information points and a touch-screen catalogue.

Specialist Doors Spotlight SmartSecure

SmartSecure is one of our largest dedicated areas. Working demonstrations will enable visitors to trial the easy-to-use electronic locking and smart access systems. The show is the ideal opportunity for visitors to try out the new technology – it is so much easier to understand how it can be used, its benefits and the simplicity of installation when it is seen first-hand. Visitors can trial the SmartConnect easy access control that opens doors with a smart phone or tablet. They can also try SmartTouch comfort, which uses pioneering active transponder technology and enables entry by simply touching a sensor when the active transponder is in range. Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

Specialist doors will be featured: designed to illustrate a range of popular applications, high end residential, communal and commercial installations are presented. We know this will be a very popular area but, rest assured, fully trained staff will be on hand to give demonstrations and answer questions.

Once you have seen the technology in use, the applications and benefits are easy to appreciate. Smart Tech is a groundbreaking evolution impacting all sectors. If people are already aware of the concept, we encourage them to come onto our stand for a demonstration and, if anyone is unsure, pop on for a chat – we can explain all the features and de-mystify the technology.

New Roto Range Revealed

As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, we are in the privileged position of showcasing the new System 700 range for reversible windows at the FIT Show. The new fully reversible system with a slimmer hinge that works on a 7mm groove, the latest product from the Roto/PN stable, is ideal for systems companies who are looking to complement their flush casement window range. With consistent aesthetics across all window types, the new system will have widespread appeal, including the new build housing market.

Market Leading Manufacturers

Along with a display of tilt and turn windows, other products on the stand will include ranges from Cotswold, FUHR, Greenwood, Hoppe, Ingenious, Kenrick, MACO, Siegenia and Trojan.

With so much on show, we encourage visitors to hot foot it to stand E40 to sample SmartSecure and have an overview of our hardware highlights.”

 

Click here to register as a VIP for the FIT Show.

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: The Smart Cookies

Helping to mark the first anniversary of the SmartSecure electronic door locking and smart access control solutions brand, and back due to popular demand, are freshly baked cookies available from Carl F Groupco at the FIT Show.

Freshly baked cookies return to the Carl F Groupco FIT Show stand. Carl F Groupco staff pictured from left to right: Rebecca Haynes, Carlia Corras and Julie Warner.

Freshly baked cookies return to the Carl F Groupco FIT Show stand.
Carl F Groupco staff pictured from left to right: Rebecca Haynes, Carlia Corras and Julie Warner.

The tasty treats, which are free for any visitors to the company’s stand E40 in Hall 6, can be enjoyed with a complimentary drink in Carl F Groupco’s hospitality area on its 96 square metre stand.

Commenting, Clare Crockett, Carl F Groupco’s Marketing Manager said:

“We like to think of all aspects of stand requirements, and we like to go the extra mile in all areas of our business. It does take a bit of extra effort to produce biscuits at the show, but there is nothing nicer than freshly baked cookies.

“Alongside our hospitality, we have an extensive range of window and door hardware products on display selected from our range of over 7,000 product lines: these will be installed on the stand to ensure visitors can appreciate their features and benefits. We also have our new catalogue, which can be collected from our stand.”

Appointments are not necessary, but anyone wishing to pre-arrange a meeting at the FIT Show can contact their Regional Sales Manager or the Carl F Groupco Sales Office Tel: 01733 393330.

Click here to register as a VIP for the FIT Show.

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