Volume 14, Issue 4 - May 2013
Hard Questions About Hardware
Are customers asking for window opening control devices? When will automated door and hardware technology go mainstream? What do European hardware suppliers offer that U.S. suppliers don’t? What products do you need to offer to meet the safety requests of consumers?
DWM sought to answer these questions and more when we interviewed ten hardware suppliers for this in-depth look at the door and window hardware industry.
“From the safety side of things WOCDs are growing. This is code driven,” says Aaron Mundt, CFBU manager, hinged window hardware for Truth Hardware. “I see that continuing as codes become adopted more in the U.S.”
Dan Gray, director of business development and product marketing for Roto Frank of America, says the company partners with Mighton Products to distribute its Angel Vent Lock which “conforms 100 percent to the ASTM standard.”
“We are seeing all types of increased activity through the whole [WOCD] market,” says Gray. “It started as a grassroots effort where inspectors were requesting this, then it started with the larger window companies and now it is moving down to mid-sized OEMs. They want to have a WOCD solution for all of their window series to satisfy requests from inspectors.”
Vision Industries also offers a variety of WOCDs and Glenn Paesano, national sales and marketing manager, says a lot of states are mandating use of these products for multifamily projects. He says Vision is selling its WOCD into these applications and “it is gaining traction very quickly.”
Still, he says there is some industry reluctance to sell WOCDs.
“It’s a slow moving requirement that the industry is resisting,” says Paesano. “For me it is an opportunity to upsell but some don’t want to sell it because it adds cost.”
Aesthetics play a large role in what products manufacturers ultimately choose for their windows (for more on aesthetics, see page 34), and Lawrence Industries kept this in mind when it designed its WOCD.
“We figured out a way to hide the vent latches and that is incorporated within the WOCD,” says Brandon Lawrence, vice president of marketing there.
“Most European hardware companies are geared more toward security whereas in North America it seems to be focused more on performance.”
Security is definitely a growing trend and for many companies multi-point locks are at the center of that growth curve.
Jeff Shilakis, president, Hoppe North America, adds that multi-point locks are also expanding from their traditional uses in patio doors to increased use in entry doors—but it’s not necessarily moving toward the front door for security reasons.
“The primary reason it was being used was to improve the weather-resistance of the door,” says Shilakis. “At the same time companies are telling homeowners that as a benefit it also offers increased security.”
Tim Eggebraaten, director of sales and marketing for Amesbury agrees, saying yes, a multi-point lock seals the door but his customers look at these products for the performance of the door system—mainly to protect against air and water.
“This continues to be important especially in tall doors where they want a good seal as the lock helps seal the door,” he says. “Yes, safety is a concern but in general they aren’t getting upgrades due to safety but mainly for performance.”
Homeowners seeking security options aren’t looking for it just in doors but windows as well.
Many suppliers, including Roto, have products to meet these needs. The company offers its corner drive “which can be viewed as a way of enhancing security measures of a casement window,” says Gray. “When you talk about security, the tilt-and-turn window is largely built on a security platform depending on how secure you want to make it. We equate it with performance because we add a lock point around the sash.”
Truth’s Mundt says his company is noticing a trend toward more motorized operators. “The request is there to upgrade the technology and work with devices such as iPhones,” he says.
To sell these products, however, the customers have to ask for it. Vision’s Paesano says the demand is not yet there.
“We work with shade manufacturers and we get automation requests at that level,” he says. “We also supply to the RV industry and there has been some talk in that industry, for example, of the roof closing automatically.”
But most window manufacturers strive to keep the cost down so many don’t want to add this technology.
“The only time I have come across it was to meet the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements,” says Paesano.
Gray brings up the cost issue as well and says, “We are not seeing the cost benefit success to that right now. The volume in that category will be very small and is very much a niche market. We don’t see a lot of volume to justify dollars for automation.”
European-based supplier Hoppe, has also looked into the automation/electronic side as it relates to door and window products and Shilakis agrees cost does present challenges.
“We see this exclusively in the higher end,” says Shilakis. “[From a price perspective] people will look at it then discount it right away. There is a mental price point that people have. Then they say it’s a nice to have not a need to have.”
Paige Muhlenkamp, Schlage brand manager, disagrees. She says the company’s Nexia home automation system is being installed in many builder communities—and not just in high-end homes.
“This is a standard in many of their communities,” she says. “We are seeing it with homebuilders but homeowners are also choosing the technology to retrofit existing homes. We have a lot of folks in the specific niche of second homeowners. They are retrofitting their door locks so they have access when they are not there all the time—it’s all about convenience.”
“With our European hardware we have access to these products so we will continue to these discussions,” says Shilakis. “Overall, homeowners take a much more pragmatic approach to whole the door and are looking for things that will give them the highest value for energy efficiency and security.”
That’s not to say this segment won’t grow, Gray adds.
“We equate it to the European tilt-and-turn market,” he says. “We are involved heavily in that due to the fact that our parent company is located in Germany. There was such a lack of knowledge about European products but now more and more fabricators are becoming involved in producing a tilt-and-turn window. It provides them access to a whole different market. Now we have a proliferation of European products as people look to differentiate.”
Tara Taffera is the editor/publisher of DWM/Shelter magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Aaron Mundt, Truth Hardware, CFBU Manager, hinged window hardware:
Dan Gray, Roto Frank of America, director, business development and product marketing:
“More and more folks look to upgrade from single- to double- to even triple-pane for patio doors. More and more we are seeing it from OEM fabricators of moving toward multi-point hardware which speaks to a growing concern from homeowners.”
Glenn Paesano, Vision Industries Group, national sales and marketing manager:
Tim Eggebraaten, Amesbury, director of sales and marketing:
“As far as aesthetic and finishes, popular finishes are oil-rubbed and stained nickel and we see that going forward next year.”
Charles Maves, G-U/Ferco, national sales manager:
Jeff Shilakis, Hoppe North America, president and CEO:
Tim O’Dell, Ashland, senior product manager:
Axel Husen, Interlock, vice president of sales and marketing:
“European solutions are still going strong and the lift-and-slide market is growing … We still see a lot of requests for products to support larger windows.”
Door & Window Market