Published On: Thu, Nov 16th, 2017

Looking after customers’ core PVC-U needs

Windows Active talks to Synseal Group’s Andy Jones about how they continue to meet customer needs for PVC-U products

With the rise of aluminium products and a shift in advertising focus to value-added products like lantern roofs and entrance doors, PVC-U has taken a bit of a back seat in the glazing press recently – and yet it’s still the biggest seller for the majority of systems houses, including Synseal Group. PVC-U products are at the heart of our offer and we extruded more than 36 million metres of profile last year, making us one of Europe’s leading PVC-U systems houses. To put that into context, that’s enough PVC-U to cover the distance between our headquarters in Nottinghamshire to the other side of Australia and back again, with metreage for a quick trip to Jersey to spare. With more than 350 bar length customers and many more who buy our pre-fabricated Evolve range of PVC-U vertical sliders, patio doors and bi-folds, we need to constantly innovate to keep up with our customers’ growing need for colour variety, commercial solutions and product flexibility.

Offering customers a choice – One of our biggest assets at Synseal is having four distinct PVC-U systems: Shield, SynerJy, Legend and Sheerframe. Crucially, this not only gives our customers access to a choice of both ovolo and chamfered profiles, but also enables them to remain competitive regionally by opting for a system which their competitor down the road is not fabricating. We’ve remained loyal to the systems house-fabricator-installer supply chain model, so our customers don’t compete with their own supplier, and often retain exclusivity of one of our systems regionally. This helps them maintain a steady localised supply chain with their installers, many who choose to stay loyal to their one preferred system.

Commercial advantage – We also give customers the commercial advantage of a system like Sheerframe 8000 which has been the long-standing product of choice for specifiers looking for a thermally advanced, eight-chambered PVC-U system with integrated curtain walling solutions. Working with SE Controls and Vulcan Windows, we have recently tested and received accreditation for our very first chain actuator PVC-U smoke vent which will finally give fabricators aesthetic uniform, removing the need for an unseemly aluminium smoke vent.

Recycled PVC-U – Across our Shield, Legend and SynerJy multi-chambered profiles we have implemented our 30% recycled EnviroCore as standard and are in the process of phasing out older profiles which we believe no longer meet the needs of modern day installations in terms of thermal efficiency and performance. Recycled PVC-U products have conventionally caused problems with colour consistency and production capacity, so we developed EnviroCore to ensure neither of these factors becomes an issue for our customers.

EnviroCore is coloured in a solid, dark grey so there is no inconsistency during production. The recycled core is also completely hidden away within sash, frame and sill so there is no visible difference to the end consumer. Most importantly, incorporating EnviroCore into our profiles has no impact on product performance as all our recycled material comes from our production waste rather than inconsistent post-consumer waste streams traditionally used. Our customers get the same outstanding thermal efficiency, same look and finish across all our leading profiles while gaining from the dual benefits of reducing waste and minimising costs.

Wall of colour – It has now been a year since we implemented our ‘Wall of colour’ scheme, offering more than 80% of our foiled colours from stock. This has reduced lead times for our customers and given them a quicker, more reliable supply chain of popular foiled colours like golden oak, Chartwell green and anthracite grey to meet the growing demand for these among consumers. We will shortly also be concluding our ‘One White’ project which gives customers more flexibility through the consolidation of our various white shades into one single shade. This colour-match guarantee across our four PVC-U profiles gives customers the ability to mix and match ancillary products from different ranges in total confidence. It will also make us one of the few suppliers who can offer complete colour-matched conservatory solutions. As a multi-product supplier, we can’t rely solely on the consumer advantage we offer through a comprehensive product range – although this certainly is appealing to the majority of our customers who also purchase aluminium, composite door and conservatory roof products from us. As a long-standing systems house founded on PVC-U extrusion, we see it as our responsibility to lead the way in PVC-U innovation and continue to meet the needs of our core customer base, as well as providing them with the wider benefits of a complete package of fenestration products. Aluminium may be dominating the headlines, but there’s still a lot we can do in the industry to improve PVC-U product performance for our customers.