Celebrating 20 years of UNI Reversible

An article written for Windows Active Magazine, October 2021 Edition

Leading hardware distributor, Carl F Groupco, is celebrating 20 years of supplying the market leading fully reversible UNI window hardware in the UK. Julie Warner, Product Manager for the reversible range, looks back over the past two decades and reviews how the product has adapted to the changing market.

“This anniversary represents a big milestone for the company but also me personally, having also restarted my career at Groupco in 2001. Pamela Wilson and I were recruited at the same time to support the new Peder Nielsen (PN) range. As Product Manager, I provide product support for the reversible hardware and work alongside Roto to drive product development. Pamela is our Regional Sales Manager for Scotland and Ireland; the main markets for UNI and she has been a key driver for its success.

“Back in 2001, the market for reversible hardware was dominated by Northern Ireland and Scotland, mainly comprising commercial and domestic high-rise buildings for which the UNI system had been designed. Over the last decade, we have seen demand for reversible hardware become more widespread within Scotland in particular, with many new build developers, housing associations and local authorities opting for the solution in their low-rise domestic applications, too. The functionality provided and strong reputation of the hardware have been crucial to its success.

“UNI hardware is designed to suit traditional reversible window profiles, including PVCu, timber, aluminium and timber/aluminium composite outward opening windows. It’s a robust hardware system designed for situations where safe control of the window opening is necessary: including high-rise applications where wind and height issues are of concern. Safety features such as integral child restrictors and reverse catches provide ultimate safety.

“To ensure all project requirements are catered for, the UNI system offers multiple options for opening, including the top swing which allows end users to fully reverse the window, projecting the sash outside of the building avoiding interiors such as blinds or curtains. Completing the range, side and top hung outward opening operation is achieved using Projecting hinges, where full rotation of the window is not required. These hinges utilise the same sash and frame details as the top swing, allowing any style to be fitted without changing profile routing. This ensures a uniform aesthetic appearance of all window designs and provides a standardised window style throughout a property.

“Demand for the range rose rapidly in the first decade, achieving £2million sales by 2006. The success has been sustained; UNI remains our bestselling window product and has continued to grow as the range has developed.

“New variants have been developed to suit the changing window market, particularly for flush profiles including a system designed specifically for Eurocell Modus and Rehau flush fit window. Development of the system was accelerated when PN and the UNI range were acquired by Roto in 2016. Since then, an upgrade to Grade 5 corrosion resistant components as standard has been a massive appeal to customers. Not only can the hardware withstand extreme environments when installed in high-rise buildings, it now provides exceptionally high corrosion resistance too, allowing installation in coastal areas. Further improvements to packaging simplified ordering for customers, while a change to the sash bearings, launching in 2021, aid fabricators with faster assembly times, simplified maintenance while retaining the functionality and performance of the system.”

Commenting on their commitment to the FRH UNI range and the partnership with Carl F Groupco Vesa Nenye, Roto’s Head of Customers & Markets United Kingdom & Ireland said,

“Our partnership Carl F Groupco has gone from strength to strength since we acquired PN in 2016. The team works tirelessly on behalf of their customers, while their technical expertise have assisted with many of the ranges developments. We have a collaborative relationship which enables us to best serve fabricators throughout the supply chain.”

With a trading history dating back over 70 years, Carl F Groupco has a strong reputation for hardware expertise. Since Roto acquired the UNI range, the distributor has taken on the TSL and SSL espagnolettes, NT and Designo tilt and turn gearing plus the Inowa patio hardware.

A timeline of Roto FRH UNI Reversible Window Hardware:

  • 2001 Groupco begin distribution of reversible window gearing and appoint a dedicated Product Manager.
  • 2006 Reversible window gearing sales top £2 million.
  • 2014 Reversible hardware system developed for Eurocell Modus flush profile.
  • 2015 First Side Hung Projecting window contract secured for the Rehau flush fit window.
  • 2016 Roto acquire Peder Nielsen and begin manufacture of reversible hardware.
  • 2017 Carl F Groupco report record annual Reversible Gearing sales.
  • 2018 Roto TSL and SSL espagnolettes added to catalogue and Liniar launch reversible window.
  • 2021 FRH UNI Sash Bearing enhanced to streamline the range and enhance weight load capacity.

View the article in Windows Active Magazine, click here

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