Carl F Groupco & FUHR mark 55 year partnership

A 55 year partnership is celebrated by hardware distributor Carl F Groupco and renowned German lock manufacturer, FUHR. The company, then Groupco, was the original distributor of FUHR products in the UK and, after significant growth, Carl F Groupco is now FUHR’s largest single customer worldwide.

A landmark anniversary of a partnership dating back to 1962 is celebrated by hardware distributor Carl F Groupco and renowned German lock manufacturer, FUHR.

A landmark anniversary of a partnership dating back to 1962 is celebrated by
hardware distributor Carl F Groupco and renowned German lock manufacturer, FUHR.

The collaboration between the two companies dates back to 1962 and, from the earliest days, FUHR’s extensive range of locking solutions have been flagship lines in the Carl F Groupco catalogue. Six FUHR products are currently featured in Carl F Groupco’s top 10 best seller list: the biggest selling line overall is the FUHR 856 Type 3 door lock.

Endorsing the partnership, FUHR’s Managing Director and owner, Andreas Fuhr said:

“We value our relationship with Carl F Groupco extremely highly. The strength of the partnership comes from our shared values and history – we look forward to continuing to work with the team to supply our traditional markets and expand into new sectors such as Smart Tech.”

Carl F Groupco’s Managing Director John Crittenden expanded on the significance of the relationship:

“We have grown with FUHR to increase our offer from standard mechanical locks to the fully motorised 881 multipoint lock. FUHR is an important partner to us for a number of reasons including product quality, innovation and service commitment. Support also plays a key role and training is extensive – our entire sales team has visited FUHR’s German headquarters to gain a deep understanding of product features, benefits and how to make a lock.”

An extensive range of FUHR products is offered by Carl F Groupco including hardware that caters for all major aluminium systems. The FUHR multitronic fully motorised multipoint lock plays a pivotal role in Carl F Groupco’s pioneering SmartSecure electronic door locking and Smart access control brand.


Take a look at our product pages, here, to view our FUHR products.

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.

Bumper Carl F Groupco catalogue is biggest to date

A new 248 page full colour catalogue from hardware supplier Carl F Groupco featuring over 7,000 product lines confirms the company’s position as a leading distributor in the UK’s fenestration sector. The bumper edition is a must have industry compendium of door & window fittings, ventilation solutions and tools for aluminium, composite, PVCu and timber profile systems.
The hard back catalogue, which is a major publishing achievement for the company, is designed to be a hardware “bible” providing a one-stop source for practical, innovative and high quality components.  An impressive 65 additional new product pages have been incorporated into the reference document including a dedicated section for SmartSecure – the new smart locking and access control brand launched in 2016 that is set to lead the door hardware electronic evolution.

Carl F Groupco’s Marketing Assistant Rebecca Haynes (left) and  Marketing Manager Clare Crockett launch the company’s  new hardware catalogue

Carl F Groupco’s Marketing Assistant Rebecca Haynes (left) and
Marketing Manager Clare Crockett launch the company’s new hardware catalogue

Commenting on the new directory, Carl F Groupco’s Marketing Manager, Clare Crockett said:
“Production of this catalogue has been a major undertaking and considerable resource was drawn on, including canvassing the input of twenty leading hardware manufacturers.
“The catalogue is representative of the scale of our range. It showcases the scope of our product portfolio, the depth of our knowledge and the excellent relationships we have built with Europe’s most innovative manufacturers – we work with these companies, and our customers, to ensure that current market trends are represented and demands for high quality are met.
“The range, which has been crafted to deliver the most comprehensive collection of hardware in the industry, is tested and accredited to the latest British Standards to ensure security, durability and functionality.”
Supporting production of the new catalogue, and the company’s customer service focus, next day delivery of all stocked hardware remains a key objective for Carl F Groupco. To ensure orders are fulfilled on time, in full and delivered to customers the next working day, two distribution centres are operated in Peterborough and Cumbernauld.
For a copy of the new catalogue, contact Carl F Groupco’s Sales Office on, call 01733 393330 or request a copy online at here.

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.

Voice of the Industry

“We’ve had the FIT Show with a lot of product launches to give the industry some impetus, but has the first half of 2016 lived up to budgetary expectations?  And what of the rest of the year?  Whether we, as a country, have voted to remain or leave the EU, what are your expectations for the second half of 2016?”

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco

This year’s FIT Show definitely had a buzz with a number of product announcements and advancements: this reflected considerable industry investment and an optimism from the sector.

Carl F Groupco were one of the companies hitting the headlines with the introduction of SmartSecure – this continued expansion means we are on a very strong footing moving forward. The successful brand launch means the first half of 2016 has certainly lived up to expectations.

We are equally optimistic for the remainder of the year. Increasingly we are finding that fabricators are looking to add value to their offer through hardware. Additionally, we are working on more projects than ever before on our high end range, particularly door locks including the multitronic 881 electronic door lock, automatic locking 833 and 3* cylinders.

The market appears to be evolving away from supplying discounted doors, investing in new technologies to differentiate their offer and this is good news for the industry.


Carl F Groupco Limited Tel: 01733 393330
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles@Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure