Spotlighting Specialist Hardware: A report from Carl F Groupco

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As one of the UK industry’s longest trading hardware suppliers, Carl F Groupco understands the importance of specialist products. Offering expertise in this area means customers are assisted in the expansion of their businesses into different application areas: the value of their offer is increased and potential new revenue streams are opened up.  In this report by Marketing Manager Clare White, focus is placed on the door hardware that plays a key role in the company’s comprehensive catalogue of over 7,000 product lines.

“No article on specialist hardware would be complete without mention of SmartSecure, our pioneering solution for electronic door locking and access control. When launching the brand back in 2016 our research predicted that Smart locking technology was on the cusp of taking off and, given the adoption of SmartSecure products and the buzz that Smart solutions are creating, it’s fair to say that time has come.

At the heart of the SmartSecure solution is the FUHR 881 electromechanical multipoint lock which incorporates Smart access control options plus automatic motorised locking and unlocking. A retrofit route can be taken using Yale’s Conexis Smart locking handle, with a Smartphone replacing the traditional key. 

With speciality areas, such as Smart tech, there can be a preconception that it will be complicated to sell and install but this is not the case with SmartSecure - working in partnership with FUHR, we have combined latest technology with simplicity. Practical installation advice for this specialist solution is essential and we place considerable focus on technical support – this has led to significant growth across the aspirational domestic market , the commercial sector and  social housing / Housing Association installations. 

Additionally, we are witnessing a significant shift towards adoption of automatic door locking, with a noticeable increase in enquiries for the FUHR 833 automatic door lock which has achieved PAS 24 and Secured by Design accreditation. This multipoint device offers automatic locking functionality to protect from unauthorised access from the moment the door is closed. The lock also helps prevent warping, particularly for composite doors, as all locking points engage which hold the door in place every time it is closed without the home owner having to lift a lever. On closing, latches become solid deadbolts throwing 20mm into the frame to provide security against forced entry. A simple key turn secures the interior lever and main deadbolt making the lock ‘child proof’.  

We also place fittings for stable doors under the heading of speciality products as these are supplied for non-standard, single residential doors. Again sourced from FUHR, our stable door gearing comprises two locking mechanisms which operate independently or in tandem. The gearing, which has featured in our catalogue for over a decade, incorporates seven locking points for security and offers excellent ventilation. PVCu, timber/composite and non-standard tall door variants are available. Our sales of FUHR’s stable door locks have increased by 13% in the last 12 months, which confirms growth in demand.

Emergency exit and panic door hardware is also treated as a specialist area as the hardware specified is required to meet building regulations and ensure compliancy for installation. We offer an extensive range of panic and emergency exit gearing which address stringent safety standards for public and commercial installations meeting the EN 179 and EN 1125 standards. Products include the FUHR 870 and 871 Type 8 Emergency Exit locks for aluminium, PVCu or timber doors. The multitronic 881 also sits under the banner of emergency exit hardware with its fully motorised multipoint locking system that provides a panic function for single and double-leaf emergency exits. Additionally, we distribute facefix Strand Antipanic gearing: products offered are modular touch bar, push bar and push pad variants which can all be combined with outside access using a lever or knob handle device. 

As a hardware distributor, it would be easy to fight shy of specialist products because of the additional tailoring that is required and the need to provide comprehensive and responsive technical support. But these are areas where Carl F Groupco has a strong reputation – we take great pride in providing a personalised, full service. As a result, relationships are enhanced and trust is built - with our comprehensive hardware catalogue and fully trained staff, we are able to assist with product selection for any project.”