Carl F Groupco Hardware Report: Premier Products

In this report for Glass and Glazing products, Clare Crockett, Marketing Manager for Carl F Groupco highlights the fact that high end hardware has an increasingly important role to play in enhancing and differentiating the company’s range of window and door fittings.

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

“Premier products have strong design appeal and are extremely versatile: they also give leverage to fabricators to offer highly sophisticated products that add value to their range.

With a long-standing track record supplying hardware solutions, at Carl F Groupco we are adept at tailoring our portfolio to meet all needs. Regarding premier products, we offer a range of hardware solutions including SmartSecure, our 881 fully motorised multipoint door lock and smart access control brand. Other high end solutions featured in our catalogue are patio entrance hardware and products catering for the increasingly popular aluminium market.


Recognising the Smart Home technology revolution, Carl F Groupco’s high profile SmartSecure solutions replace the traditional key with a range of access control options. While SmartSecure is highly sophisticated, simplicity is at its heart with emphasis on ease of installation, straight forward adoption for fabricators and accessible support.

‘SmartTouch’, which is a pioneering access system, enables entry with the simple touch of sensor: access is facilitated if an active, moving transponder is within range. Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

Three SmartSecure variants are available tailored for high end residential, commercial and communal doors – all utilise the same base hardware which enables fabricators to target multiple sectors with ease.

With property owners becoming more savvy with their home improvement investments, we believe that the ability to offer products like SmartSecure is instrumental in allowing fabricators to differentiate their offer from the competition.

FUHR Flexibility:

The FUHR multitronic 881 door lock at the heart of SmartSecure technology can be used with combinations of wiring and access control options to suit the differing requirements of the end user, from high end ‘grand design’ style domestic dwellings to a EN 1125 CE marked panic exit door on a commercial building.  As the standard preparation for the lock is the same for any style of door, with just minor adjustments for the associated hardware, fabricators have a valuable opportunity to supply doors to a wider market base.

As it is possible to achieve EN 179 and EN 1125 with both mechanical and electronic door locks within the FUHR range, the FUHR 881 electronic lock is a simple way to add a new revenue stream to a business. With little change to door preparation compared to the mechanical variant, these locks can be fitted along with panic bar and CES free movement cylinders offering complete packages where panic/emergency exit doors are required for commercial work and communal door entrances.

The multitronic 881 is also sold as a stand-alone product which provides a simple upgrade option for end users. With relatively little additional preparation work for the fabricator, the 881 gives the opportunity to sell high end doors with enhanced margin capabilities.

Speciality Sectors:

Other premier products offered include large patio entrance hardware such as lift and slide products. The HS Portal by Siegenia, for example, supports the growing market for stylish, wide span doors that extend the living area of homes to encompass the property’s outside space.

Aluminium is another expanding sector with durability, security and design aesthetics cited as key reasons for its appeal and we are supporting demand with complementary hardware. Ranges included in Carl F Groupco’s Aluminium Collection are the Roto/PN Uni for reversible window gearing, Siegenia ALU tilt & turn gearing and Cotswold Architectural Products’ friction & parallel stays. Products also cater for remote window control, emergency and panic exit / multipoint door locks plus folding sliding door, lift & slide, and tilt & slide hardware.

Having highlighted the significance and importance of premier products, it is important to emphasise that compiling a catalogue is all about balance – high end hardware has an essential part to play, but this should not be at the expense of mid-range or value fittings. All budgets need to be catered for and Carl F Groupco provides a full spectrum of options to meet the needs of all requirements.”


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.

For more about Panic and Emergency Exit options, please click here.

For more about the HS Portal bu Siegenia, please click here.


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.


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

SmartSecure lock achieves Secured by Design accreditation

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.

The FUHR 881 multitronic lock, a central element of Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure solutions, has gained Secured by Design accreditation.

The FUHR 881 multitronic lock, a central element of Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure solutions, has gained Secured by Design accreditation.

As the latest in a series of hardware products offered by Carl F Groupco to achieve Secured by Design, the company was confident of gaining the certification as the lock design, consistent with the established process for all FUHR locking systems, had already passed rigorous security testing.

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 solutions including the smart phone / tablet based SmartConnect easy; the transponder / sensor variant SmartTouch comfort and the brand’s radio-based access control systems.


For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock, please click here.
You can demo our SmartSecure solutions on our FIT Show stand, to register as our VIP guest click here.

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: FIT and Ready

In this article for Glass Times, two of the managers at hardware distributor Carl F Groupco provide insight into important areas of focus at the FIT Show.

Spotlight on Smart Tech

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

Following the successful launch of SmartSecure at last year’s exhibition, Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for the brand explains how the company’s electronic locking and smart access control solutions will be key features of the company’s display.

“With interest in smart access control gathering momentum, we are preparing a larger, dedicated area to cater for interest in SmartSecure demonstrations. The solutions have wide-ranging appeal from architects and specifiers through to fabricators and installers: with this in mind, the display will illustrate a range of technology applications. It would, of course, be much simpler to just show PowerPoints and hand out brochures, but we strongly believe that people need to experience the technology.

“This year we are preparing doors to reflect three scenarios that fabricators and installers regularly come across namely, high end residential, communal and commercial applications.
“It is always a challenge to incorporate all our hardware and services without just exhibiting rows of handles and literature, but the marketing team have once again come up with a design that showcases all our most important product lines in a way that is very hands on and far from boring.

“Some might say it is a brave move to invest so heavily in up and coming technology and to devote such a large area of our stand to it. But society is waking up to Smart Tech and becoming increasingly reliant on it. It’s only a matter of time before people expect more from their front door. Already home owners and commercial organisations are demonstrating they are prepared to invest more in their entrance doors and systems.
“Events around the world are dedicated purely to this topic – we can’t be on the fringes, we have to fully commit. Of course, all our mainstay hardware lines are at the heart of our stand – these are essential to the ethos of Carl F Groupco, but Smart Technology needs separate focus and this is reflected in the design.”


Roto: Acquisition Advancements

Julie Warner, Carl F Groupco’s Roto / PN Product Manager with the company’s Technical Manager, John Mitchell.

The forthcoming FIT Show is also Carl F Groupco’s opportunity to launch the System 700, a new range of fully reversible hardware for windows manufactured by Roto/Peder Nielsen (PN).

As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, the new range will be showcased on the stand. This is significant as it reaffirms a relationship with the manufacturer that dates back to 2001 – a partnership that has continued to flourish following the acquisition of PN by Roto in 2016.

Commenting on advancements, Julie Warner, Carl F Groupco’s Roto/PN Product Manager explains,

“We have a long legacy with PN and we are building on this relationship. The PN brand is well respected throughout the industry, known for durability and offering impressive functionality for outward opening windows.  The main lines are the UNI top swing reversible gearing with two variants, Standard and Hotel, which complement the rest of our hardware range and are believed to be the most popular reversible products in the UK. 

“With enhanced development capability, the acquisition of PN by Roto has paved the way for new innovation. In terms of product development, the System 700 launch at the FIT Show is particularly exciting: the slimmer hinge, which works on a 7mm groove, is ideal for systems companies who are looking to complement their flush casement window range with a fully reversible option. Aesthetics are consistent across all window types, which opens up potential for the range to new build housing markets.”


Carl F Groupco: Stand E40
Carl F Groupco will also feature Cotswold, FUHR, Greenwood, Hoppe, Ingenious, Kenrick, MACO, Siegenia and Trojan on its 96 sq metre stand. An innovative hardware selector, which summarises product options, will be displayed for the first time at FIT Show 2017.


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


For more information about our range of PN reversible hardware by Roto, please click here.

Both ranges will be on show on our FIT Show stand, to register as our VIP guest click here.

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 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