Carl F Groupco Building

Seven things you didn’t know about Carl F Groupco

An article written for Clearview, January 2017.

1. Private Ownership: Carl F Groupco is one of the last remaining privately owned distributors, this gives the company the ability to adapt, pre-empt demands and respond quickly to changing requirements. With national field sales representation and two distribution centres in Peterborough and Cumbernauld, Carl F Groupco is a leading player in the UK hardware industry. Free from the constraints of a larger group, the company is at the forefront of new developments. For example, with the company’s recent launch of its SmartSecure brand, Carl F Groupco confirms its leadership in the field of advanced electronic door locking and smart access control.SmartSecure

2. Electronic Locking Leaders / Biggest FUHR Range: Carl F Groupco has the UK’s largest stock of FUHR door locks and is FUHR’s biggest single customer. A partnership dating back over 55 years ensures the two companies work very closely together. Carl F Groupco has in-depth knowledge of the locking systems and often works with the manufacturer to develop new products specifically for the UK market. The comprehensive range available includes high security locks, electronic systems and multitronic FUHR 881 which is at the heart of the SmartSecure solution. Unrivalled technical support for FUHR products is provided based on comprehensive experience of the full range.

3. The Largest Distributor Worldwide of the PN Reversible Hinge: Carl F Groupco is the official UK distributor of PN reversible hardware now manufactured by Roto and the largest individual customer worldwide. For the past 15 years the range has been supported by the company’s dedicated Product Manager, Julie Warner. In recent years, new solutions have been designed specifically to suit profile systems including Combi 500 Reversible gearing for the Eurocell Modus profile and UNI Side Hung Projecting gearing for Rehau’s flush fit profile.

This is Ingenious4. Ingenious Launch Partners: Carl F Groupco was again at the forefront of door hardware initiatives when it was selected to be a launch partner by Ingenious. The hardware distributor supports the full Ingenious range of high security multipoint locks and accessories including the Duplex and Professional ranges, all of which are available ex stock for next day delivery. Commenting on the strength of the relationship and impressive service offered by the hardware supplier, Ingenious MD Nigel Hutchinson said, “We love the brand, the customer experience and the focus that Carl F Groupco brings to customer service: it’s a great fit for both organisations.”

5. Over 7,000 Product Lines: With one of the industry’s most comprehensive hardware ranges, Carl F Groupco’s product portfolio is extremely impressive. Sourcing only the best hardware from leading manufacturers, over £3 million of stock is held to ensure a rapid response to meet customer demands. Two distribution facilities, based in Peterborough and Cumbernauld, support the company’s commitment to next day delivery for orders placed before 3pm. Combined, the warehouses hold almost 1.9 million components, which facilitates the despatch of 3,000 orders per month.

6. A Charitable Organisation: Generous Carl F Groupco staff regularly raise money for worthy causes. Fund-raisers have included Jeans for Genes and the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Marketing Manager Clare Crockett supported cancer when she entered the 26.2 mile London MoonWalk and sporty warehouse supervisor Tim Groves tackled his longest cycle ride to date raising considerable sums for the Sue Ryder Hospice charity, boosted by sponsorship from his Carl F Groupco colleagues.

Sales Office Manager, Carlia Corras at the FIT Show 20167. FIT Show Forerunners: Carl F Groupco is a longstanding supporter of glazing industry exhibitions and events.  The company has attended the FIT Show since its launch and in 2017 will be one of the high-profile hardware exhibitors for its fourth show in succession. Preparations are underway for a purpose-built stand for the 2017 FIT Show designed to catch visitors’ attention with further hardware innovations. As testimony to Carl F Groupco’s standing as a hardware industry forerunner, the company were the winners of the Most Successful Visitor Campaign in 2016.


Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330

For more information, contact

Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure


Hardware Horizons: Predictions for the year ahead from hardware distributor, Carl F Groupco

An article written for Windows Active, January 2017.

Clare Crockett, Marketing Manager, Carl F Groupco

Clare Crockett, Marketing Manager, Carl F Groupco

In this report, predictions for 2017 for the hardware sector are given to Windows Active by Carl F Groupco. The established supplier of window and door fittings works hard to keep its fingers on the pulse of industry trends and, as a result, the company is well placed to advise regarding impending advancements.

The technology trend

Commenting on an increasing appetite for advanced technology, Carl F Groupco’s Marketing Manager Clare Crockett says:

“We have seen an increase in awareness of smart locking technology from both fabricators and end users. Launching SmartSecure during 2016 at the FIT Show, and also exhibiting at a permanent display at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC), has given us direct market feedback that confirms the massive future potential of the smart locking and access control solutions market.

“While this area of the market will take time to gather pace in the mainstream, we are confident of it ultimately having widespread take up. Regarding the year ahead, we positively predict continued movement towards electronic locking. With significant interest already being expressed in SmartSecure, due to the convenience that domestic friendly access control offers for the home, we are secure in the fact that early adopters at the forefront of the smart revolution will see significant success during 2017.

“Adoption of other technology in the home is accelerating the trend towards smart technology within the fenestration industry. At Carl F Groupco, we have seen record sales of the FUHR multitronic 881 under the SmartSecure brand and we anticipate that this will increase as fabricators look to differentiate their offer and end users become increasingly aware of their options. 

“Specialist sectors, such as housing associations, buildings for the elderly and schools, have shown interest where there is a specific need for this type of technology and there are clear signs that these will be sectors that will be at the forefront of its adoption during the next year.”

Mainstream milestones

Carl F Groupco is at pains to point out that smart technology isn’t set to totally overshadow advancements in mainstream hardware in the year ahead. Commenting on the manufacturers investing in R&D, Clare Crockett says:

“Trojan, for example, has shown a lot of innovation over the past year and their advancements are set to continue to influence the market. One particularly exciting initiative has been the launch of Trojan’s PAS 24 compatible Athena Euro Hinge. Key benefits are the fitting time – it is supplied pre-assembled and can go from the box onto the profile with very little preparation. Aesthetics continue to be advanced and the hinge, which benefits from an unobtrusive appearance, can be matched to any RAL colour to improve the overall appearance of the door. Trojan’s Elite range of pull handles and central knob are also new products to be included in our new catalogue for 2017 that will be launched in January.”

Raising standards

SmartSecure from Carl F Groupco, part of the technology trend

SmartSecure from Carl F Groupco, part of the technology trend

Aside from technology and product developments, Clare Crockett explains that some evolving standards are set to impact the hardware industry.

“Security is the main trend that will roll into 2017 following Document Q, moving on to TS 008 for letterplate security. All items on the door are now being scrutinised… at Carl F Groupco we see this is a positive trend to ensure innovation and product improvement for the future of the market.

“TS 008 relates to enhanced security for letterplates to prevent key fishing and manipulation; to achieve PAS 24 compliance and meet the requirements for Document Q, doorsets featuring letterplates must now pass TS 008:2015.”

The Brexit effect

And, of course, no viewpoint regarding the year ahead can avoid the tricky topic of Brexit. Commenting on the challenges, Clare Crockett says:

“We sincerely hope that the mist will clear and that in 2017 some of the uncertainties will be clarified. Theresa May has admitted that she has lost sleep over Brexit and she is not alone… as most hardware is produced in Europe or the Far East,  it is highly likely that the UK’s hardware sector will continue to be challenged by currency fluctuations. All we can do is to continue to remain honest with customers, focus on quality products, provide high level service and offer rapid response delivery during the year ahead… and to prepare ourselves for the Brexit effect.”

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

Or you can visit our dedicated SmartSecure website for detailed information on the whole range.

For more information on our range of Trojan products, please follow the link eto our door hardware section.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact

Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure

Carl F Groupco’s fully interactive showroom showcases the capabilities of SmartSecure’s electronic locking and smart access control capabilities.

Carl F Groupco Showroom Showcases SmartSecure

A fully interactive showroom has been designed and built by Carl F Groupco at its Peterborough distribution centre for its SmartSecure electronic locking and smart access control brand. The facility, which is part of an investment of over £100,000 in SmartSecure, showcases all access control options including fingerprint recognition, transponder, keypad, SmartTouch and SmartConnect easy.

Commissioned to demonstrate the capabilities of the FUHR multitronic 881 hardware that is at the heart of SmartSecure solutions, the comprehensive showroom features eight fully electronic doors and a demonstration area which confirms the simplicity of hardware selection and installation.

Commenting, Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure Business Development Manager said:

“With aluminium, composite, PVCu and timber doors represented, and a separate area for hands on training where Carl F Groupco specialists illustrate how easy it is to prepare a door and fit the hardware, the showroom is already proving popular with visitors keen to be at the forefront of the electronic evolution.”

Anyone interested in booking a free, no obligation, visit to the SmartSecure showroom should contact the
Carl F Groupco sales office on Tel: 01733 393330.


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

Or click on the Access Control options below for more details:

Radio Access Controls

SmartConnect easy

SmartTouch comfort

Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure

Carl F Groupco’s new video detailing applications of SmartSecure, the company’s electronic door locking and smart access control solutions brand.

New video showcases SmartSecure Solutions


With particular focus on access control options, the video enables end-users to visualise the application, and advantages, of a SmartSecure installation in their home. Smart access technologies illustrated in the video include the app based ‘SmartConnect easy’ and ‘SmartTouch comfort’ – pioneering technology which, with an active transponder in the user’s pocket, allows entry by simply touching a sensor.

The video can be viewed on the SmartSecure website or via the Carl F Groupco You Tube channel. Designed for sales and training purposes, it is available free of charge for customer use including showrooms to support demonstration products.

A high quality, professionally animated video has been commissioned by Carl F Groupco to promote SmartSecure. The three minute film depicts the capabilities of the company’s state-of-the-art SmartSecure solutions for electronic door locking and smart access control.


You can watch the full length video here:




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

Or you can visit our dedicated SmartSecure website for detailed information on the whole range.


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

Carl F Groupco: The demographics of distribution

Carl F Groupco: The demographics of distribution

Carl F Groupco is responding to developing demographics with SmartSecure

Carl F Groupco is responding to developing demographics with SmartSecure

An article written for Windows Active, September 2016.


In this article, Carl F Groupco highlights the importance of considering demographics, such as an ageing population, when developing a hardware range. The importance of this topic has been reinforced with conferences such as ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’ which was attended by Windows Active and  Carl F Groupco and addressed issues including smart homes, new financing models and urban retrofitting. 

The evidence of an ageing population is confirmed by statistics that show an increase in life expectancy in the EU. In 1990, the average length of life was 74.1 years. By 2012, our life expectancy had increased significantly to 79.2 years. By 2025 it is estimated that more than 20% of the European population will be 65 years old, or above.

Developing Demographics

Cities need to adjust, architects need to plan and they need to be supported by a fenestration industry that provides products that support this developing demographic.

Responding to this trend, established distributor Carl F Groupco has looked at what the hardware industry can do to enable people to live independently in their homes for longer. Heavy investment in R&D has ensured that the company has its finger on the pulse of developing trends and Smart technology has been identified as a key element in the hardware supplier’s armoury to support developing demographics.

Launched at this year’s FIT Show, SmartSecure from Carl F Groupco is a state-of-the-art solution for electronic door locking and Smart access control. And, while it was breaking news, the solution can be used with confidence – it has established FUHR technology at its heart, it is fully tested and it is proven in operation.

Home security and access issues have been identified by the company as extremely important for older people. As a result, SmartSecure is designed to make life easier for all age groups including the elderly, and to give peace of mind to carers.

Smart access technologies within the range include ‘SmartConnect easy’, an app based access control and ‘SmartTouch comfort’, pioneering access control technology which means that, with an active transponder about your person e.g.  in your pocket, the door can be opened simply by moving towards it and gently touching a sensor.

Importantly, the FUHR multitronic 881 automatically locks all security points by a patented twin drive motor, securely and reliably in just seconds after closing giving absolute assurance that the door has been locked – this is particularly helpful for people who struggle to find their keys, or those who find it difficult to lift a lever to engage locking points. It also means increased protection is provided.

Peace of mind is also afforded as door locking status can be checked at any time. An illuminated light on the inside of the door indicates that the lock is engaged and locking status can be checked using building management systems.  Sensor monitoring of door leaf and locking status is also available with the ‘SmartConnect easy’ app which means that carers or relatives can check to see if the door is secure.

As well as radio key fobs supplied as standard, additional SmartSecure radio-based access control systems are also available. With a strong security benefit, a radio fingerprint scanner provides keyless biometric access control. A radio keypad allows users to open doors with an individually-selectable 4 to 8 digit code and it is compatible with most access controls.

Housing association feedback has included comments that elderly people can be overly trusting, or may forget to lift a traditional lever handle compromising their security and the lifespan of the door. Both issues are addressed with SmartSecure technology.

Simplicity and Sophistication

Any concern that high levels of sophistication bring complications in use are countered by Carl F Groupco who recognise that simplicity is key to success. Commenting, Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure Business Development Manager Phil Rice said:

“To be truly effective, particularly for older users, Smart access control and locking technology has to be easy-to-use, totally reliable and secure. These requirements have been addressed by SmartSecure – the fob is as intuitive to use as car technology and the FUHR 881 multitronic fully motorised multipoint mechanism has received continued investment over the last decade to ensure that it is a highly advanced, robust solution that can be adopted with total confidence.”

An ageing population is a very real fact of our future and Carl F Groupco is one company that believes in investing in solutions that support this rising trend.

Carl F Groupco advises that, in the constant evolution of the hardware catalogue, the distributor should provide both staple lines and support emerging trends.  As such, it is essential that our ageing population is not overlooked and its needs are comprehensively addressed by the hardware sector.

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

Significant access-control advancements offered by SmartSecure

SmartSecure, an electronic door locking and smart access control brand launched by Carl F Groupco, incorporates state-of-the-art technology which provides strong security and safety features. With aesthetic, practical and technical benefits, the solution is designed to have widespread appeal for architectural, construction and building management professionals across wide-ranging installations including housing associations, the growing retirement-living sector and care homes.

The ’SmartConnect easy’ app based access control, one of the innovative packages available as a SmartSecure option.

The ’SmartConnect easy’ app based access control, one of the innovative packages available as a SmartSecure option.

Commenting on the capabilities of SmartSecure, the latest addition to the hardware distributor’s offer, Phil Rice, Business Development Manager for SmartSecure said:

“The FUHR multitronic 881 locking technology at the heart of the solution automatically locks all points securely and reliably by a patented twin motor in just seconds after closing the door… this ensures effective locking and increased protection. Feedback from housing associations has told us that some elderly people can be overly trusting, or they may forget to lift a lever handle – which is a requirement of conventional multipoint door locks: these issues are addressed with SmartSecure technology.

“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.”


‘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.

Carl F Groupco’s trademark service, including comprehensive technical support, underpins the new SmartSecure brand. Fully trained specialists are on hand to advise.


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


Or you can visit our dedicated SmartSecure website for detailed information on the whole range.

Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure

Hardware Smartens Up

Key components of SmartSecure provide a straightforward, sophisticated door locking solution.

Key components of SmartSecure provide a straightforward, sophisticated door locking solution.

Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure electronic door locking and smart access control brand captured the market’s attention at the FIT Show. Offering state-of-the-art technology, energy conservation advantages and comprehensive security features, the company’s on-stand demonstrations gave visitors the chance to sample the solution, which is compatible with virtually any access control. As a result, it has become a hot topic for hardware.


The traditional key is replaced by a radio key fob that is used to operate up to four different entrances such as front door, back door, garage door, and driveway entrance. ‘SmartConnect easy’, which allows convenient door opening and monitoring using a smart device, was a particularly popular attraction at the FIT Show. ‘SmartTouch comfort’ is also available which operates simply by touching a sensor when holding an active transponder. A radio fingerprint scanner, keypad and transponder are other available options.

Incorporated into the SmartSecure offering is the FUHR multitronic 881 fully motorised lock that has been continuously developed by its German manufacturer over its ten year history: unique patented features such as wireless power transfer between sash and frame to prevent cable damage and a dual motor for powered locking and unlocking sets this product apart from competitors.

In this report, Phil Rice – Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure provides the answers that confirm that smart door locking and access control is not a flash in the pan for the fittings industry, it is a highly capable technology with wide ranging advantages which can easily be adopted to suit any door style.


Phil Rice, Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

Phil Rice, Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

Q: Is the access control technology proven?

A: Yes the rolling code radio technology that is central to SmartSecure has long been adopted by car manufacturers and WLAN ‘Smart’ technology, that has been used in homes for many years, is a tried and tested solution.

Q: Are the door lock and access control components complicated to install?

A: The solution provided by SmartSecure is easy to install and comprehensive assistance is available throughout the process. 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, we are on hand to support – as with all our hardware products, comprehensive service and technical assistance is readily available.

 Q: What if the power glitches?

A: The lock is designed to be fail secure from the outside and fail safe from the inside. In the event of a power failure you can always get into the building with a mechanical key and always leave safely using a lever handle – this provides the best of both worlds.

Q: What if I lose my fob?

A: The control unit on the 881 can be reset. Lost fobs will no longer work and replacement fobs can be programmed onto the control unit. This is a major advancement over the traditional key.

 Q: How difficult is it to set up biometric recognition and is it very time consuming to do this?

A: It is not difficult at all to set this up, despite the advanced nature of the solution it is a simple process. We provide installation manuals for all SmartSecure’s access control solutions backed by technical support if required. A family of four people can be programmed into the scanner within around just 5 – 10 minutes.

 Q: What if I forgot my code?

A: You will always be able to get into your home with your mechanical override key and, once you are in, you can re-program the keypad to a new code.

Q: Does ‘SmartConnect easy’ have access rights?

A: With SmartConnect easy you can manage multiple users and allocate specific times that they can enter. The system also logs an audit trail to report on who accesses the property at what time.

Q: Can I integrate intercom systems?

A: Yes, multiple third party products can be integrated into the 881 SmartSecure solution. For example, Intercoms, fire alarms systems and door operators, as well as other products, can be plugged directly into the control unit and work with the lock. Not only that, you can also integrate other access control solutions to operate the door lock – we haven’t found one yet that isn’t compatible.


SmartSecure is a sophisticated, well researched new generation door locking and access control solution – if readers have any further questions, they can contact Carl F Groupco directly who will be happy to provide the answers.


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