Jan-Feb-March 2002


Royal Group Technologies Acquires Marley Mouldings

Royal Group Technologies Limited of Woodbridge, Ontario, has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the assets and business of Marley Mouldings LLC of Marion, Va. The purchase closed November 30, 2001, for a price of $88 million (U.S. dollars).

Royal’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Vic De Zen expects Marley to be an asset to the company. “Marley’s products are complementary to Royal’s, with minimal overlap or displacement. Their product lines present new opportunities to expand Royal’s service to the building products industry,” he said. “Marley’s experience in store service and training specialists in the Big Box retailers and its U.S.-based independent manufacturer’s sales representatives, ... will be a significant addition to Royal’s sales force.”

Barry Davis, Marley’s president and chief executive officer, echoed his thoughts. “The timing is right as certain of our raw material supply contracts matured December 31, 2001, and certain new business has been waiting for determination of Marley’s new ownership. Also, Marley’s new Bristol, Tenn., facility came on stream January 2002, a much-needed addition as the Virginia facility has no further unused capacity,” he said.

Division of Amesbury Doubles Plant Capacity

PPI EXPANSION Plastic Profiles will soon have an additional 50,000 square feet.

Plastic Profiles Inc. (PPI), a division of the Amesbury Group based in Cannon Falls, Minn., has begun construction of a 50,000-square-foot expansion to its plant. Completion of the plant is expected this year. This expansion will double PPI’s manufacturing capacity, according to the company.

“We are grateful for our core customers that have made this investment possible. This expansion will allow the continued growth of PPI’s easy-tilt jambliner program,” said Kyle Kragenbring, director of sales and marketing. “The industry is changing to this type of jambliner system very quickly. This program has allowed PPI to quickly become an industry leader in innovative jambliners.”

Marvin Windows and Doors Offers Discounts as Result of Class-Action Suit
A settlement agreement by Warroad, Minn.-based Marvin Windows and Doors will give a discount on certain replacement products to customers who purchased certain Marvin products manufactured between 1985 and 1989.

The agreement is the result of a class-action suit that was brought against Marvin when customers experienced decay in some wood windows and doors that were manufactured between 1985 and 1989 (see the fall 2000 issue of Door & Window Maker, page 24, for related story). During that period, Marvin says it treated its products with a wood preservative, PILT, which it purchased from the coatings division of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries Inc. According to Marvin, PILT proved to be ineffective.

According to terms of the settlement, owners of Marvin windows or doors manufactured during the specified period are eligible for net discounts ranging from approximately 38 percent to 58 percent on new windows and doors.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement. Resolving these legal issues allows us to continue to focus on working with our customers to fix the problem,” said Susan Marvin, president of Marvin Windows and Doors. “We take a great deal of pride in the products that bear our family name … It is unfortunate that the preservative failed to prevent decay and provide long-term protection as we had been assured, but in the long run the settlement will help us continue to make things right with our customers and continue our pledge to stand behind our products.”

At press time, no comment was available from PPG.

DOC Charges Canadian Lumber Mills 19.3-Percent Tax
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has begun compelling Canadian lumber mills to pay a 19.3-percent tax on lumber shipped into the United States, in compliance with a preliminary court ruling that the Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized. The tax took effect in mid-August 2001.

In addition, the DOC determined that the recent increases in the overall volume of lumber shipments from Canada qualify as “critical circumstances” and therefore the duties will remain in effect until mid-May 2002, which could affect U.S. wood-window manufacturers that rely on the Canadian lumber supply.

DOE Adjusts ENERGY STAR Criteria
The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) criteria for all ENERGY STAR® windows sold in the Central region of the United States would be lowered from 0.55 to 0.40, effective January 1, 2002. However, upon further review, the DOE delayed the change until April 1, 2002, after which all new ENERGY STAR products must conform to the revised criteria.

The DOE cited the following as the reasons for the delay:
    • To allow more time for partners to incorporate the necessary changes into their manufacturing, marketing and sales activities;
    • To review additional information about the energy savings implications of the new criteria; and
    • To re-evaluate the energy analysis in support of the new criteria, which was found to have a mathematical error.

Officials at Toledo, Ohio-based Pilkington North America say they are pleased with the DOE’s decision to delay the implementation of the new ENERGY STAR criteria for windows in order to further review the changes that are being made in this program.

“Pilkington was just one of many in the fenestration industry who requested that the Department of Energy re-evaluate its decision to lower the SHGC for ENERGY STAR windows in the central region of the United States,” said Paul Gore, business segment leader for building products. “Upon review and additional information, we’re confident that the DOE will recognize the need to raise the SHGC criteria in the central region to at least 0.55.”

Pilkington says it believes a high SHGC is favorable for homeowners in the Northern and Central regions of the United States, and for that reason, hopes the DOE might reconsider its decision to lower the SHGC requirement.

Simonton Predicts Strong Future for Vinyl Windows
Simonton Windows of Parkersburg, W.Va., has predicted that despite economic setbacks in the United States, the vinyl window market should grow throughout 2002. John Brunett, president of Simonton, said he believes that changes in building and insurance codes, along with the usage of more windows in new-home construction and the development of new products, will all combine to drive growth in the industry.

“Certainly our country is facing a difficult time economically as a result of terrorist acts, but we feel replacement vinyl windows will continue to see growth in the coming year,” Brunett said. “We don’t expect that increase to be as rapid as previous years, but we are anticipating some growth.”

In addition, the company expects new-construction vinyl windows to fare well in 2002.

“Several factors bode well for manufacturers in 2002,” he said. “First, there’s an ongoing trend toward having larger windows and more mulled units in new-home construction. Second, the average home has grown in size and now typically has 18 windows. That figure helps push more products into homes and will help escalate sales.”

University of Maine Takes up “Woodtruding”

WOODTRUDER The University’s new Woodtruder system.

The University of Maine in Orono, Maine, has installed a Davis-Standard Woodtruder™ system at its Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center. The recently installed system is available to both public and private organizations from the Pawcatuck, Conn.-based Davis-Standard for contract research, development, product testing and qualification. 

Doug Gardner, professor of wood science at the university, said he is excited about the machine’s range of capabilities and how it will help both his teaching and research. “We are impressed with the Woodtruder because it is the next generation of wood fiber processing technology,” Gardner said. “It is capable of running everything from wood flour to pulp chips and is the only machine that can run un-dried wood. Because of the dual extruder arrangement, the mixing is better and we can add polymers into the process at very high temperatures.”

WDMA Celebrates 75th Birthday
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) celebrates its 75th year representing the fenestration industry this year. According to WDMA president Alan J. Campbell, the association has increased the scope of its operations throughout the years to speak for the interests of all manufacturers of windows, doors and skylights.

“Dating back to our founding as the National Door Manufacturers Association 75 years ago, WDMA and its members have stood at the forefront of technological innovation in our industry. The vision of its founding members stands just as bright and clear in 2002 as it did then,” Campbell said.

Campbell noted the association’s ability to expand its scope as new technologies have arisen throughout the last 75 years.
“As new technologies developed, whether from the efforts of our manufacturers or their suppliers, our members have been quick to embrace, test and eventually market the very latest and best products,” he said. 

WDMA Door Standard Gains ANSI Approval

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) has received approval on I.S. 6, the Industry Standard for Architectural Stile and Rail Doors from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard contains specifications for the manufacture of wood stile and rail doors in commercial interior applications and establishes quality levels for its grades, finishes and construction. In addition, it promotes the use of architectural stile and rail doors in public and private buildings, outlining general requirements for construction, dimensions, acceptable materials and classifications.

WDMA president Alan J. Campbell said ANSI approval of this standard should prove a benefit to both manufacturers and installers. “A standard with ANSI approval is recognized in the marketplace, and contributes to the manufacture of high-quality fenestration products,” he said.

Washington Paper Features Fenestration Industry
The Yakima Herald-Republic of Yakima, Wash., recently featured an article by reporter Dori Harrell on the fenestration industry. The article was titled “Clearly competitive: Local window manufacturers are doing what it takes to stay on top of business.” 

The article focuses on the window industry in Yakima, where both Best Built Windows and Summit Window and Patio Door have facilities. According to the story, both companies say they are thriving in a weak economy by focusing on customer service and upgrading to the latest technology. 

“The economy is the wild card, “ said Best Built general manager Brent Dobbs. “We need to continue to perform at a higher level to remain bullet-proof.”

In addition, both companies told Harrell that energy efficiency is the key to success in today’s fenestration industry.


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