Koma seeking U.S. manufacturers for its doors and windows

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: February 6, 2014 12:30 pm ET
Updated: February 6, 2014 9:52 pm ET

Image By: Catherine Kavanaugh Koma Building Products' Robert Thiroff at the International Builders Show.

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Extrusion, United States, Europe, Windows & doors

LAS VEGAS — Koma Building Products is on a fast track to bring Kõmmerling windows and doors to the United States.

Sliding vinyl patio doors as wide as 40 feet are turning heads at the International Builders Show but sales director Robert Thiroff is looking for more than orders. He wants to line up manufacturers for an ambitious business plan revealed Wednesday by the Profine Group, which is the German-based parent company of the two businesses.

The dramatic doors at IBS were made in Vancouver, Canada, and the push is on to find U.S. facilities to serve the high-end U.S.market with not only bigger views but energy efficiency and sound insulation.

"The product is here. You can touch it and feel it but we have a reputation as well. We want the right kind of companies producing this and selling it," Thiroff said. "It's like a vetting process."

To start the process, Profine is investing whatever it takes to expand capacity at the Koma USA headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., which it bought 18 months ago to offer domestically manufactured products. The factory has space for new extrusion lines that will be brought from Germany.

At this point, Thiroff said he could only guess that the investment will be between $5 million and $10 million.

Profine also bought a couple of former plastics businesses across the street in Huntsville if need be.

In the meantime, Thiroff is seeking other manufacturers with the workforce and facilities in place to get on board.

"This is a specialty product. They need to be trained in producing and installing it," Thiroff said. "It's not a product you can send to the market with a spread effect. You need controls. We will certify the manufacturer and installer to create a family of a support network. The rubber stamp of Made in America is important to us."

Profine Group owner Peter Mrosik said he sees good signs that the U.S. market is turning around from the Great Recession, particularly in the advertising sheet side of his businesses.

"In the sheet business we're one of the companies right now with double-digit growth, and that forced me to think we really should intensify our efforts to invest in the window sector here," Mrosik said.

Not too long afterward, he was meeting in India with Patrick Slarko, president of the global sheet division, when the effort began.

"It took us six months to basically make the decision that, yes we want to try our chance," Slarko said. "We have the right product. It might be the right timing."

The product, which Mrosik calls a technical wonder, is a pair of lead-free lift and slide doors that offers thermal performance, can act as a sound barrier, and is easy opening — a 600-pound door can be opened with the push of a finger.

"As we redevelop city center environments, sound will probably be as big a driver as energy efficiency," Thiroff said, pointing to dense urban areas near large airports like Atlanta.

However, most customers will want to enjoy spectacular vistas, he added.

"You have the right view in the U.S. whether that be sea or mountains or lakes. If you have the right apartment or home, this is the product you want. It's great for disabled access as well and in terms of energy efficiency. This is right out there at the forefront."

Thiroff is already expecting lead-laden copycats of the PremiDoor 70 and PremiDoor 88 coming out of emerging countries.

"They might have similar design to us but the formulation of the product can discolor over time. They cheapen it," he said. "So we developed with our technical and chemical people in Germany a way to test for this. We have a special pen that you can apply to a white profile and it will turn pink if there's lead in it. Other lead-free competitors have asked us for the pen so I intend to bring that to the U.S. as well."

His to-do list is long but Thiroff describes it as an exciting time.

"We're putting technical literature together right now. We're doing product testing. I'm going to hire sales people. We're going to bring a new CEO in to manage the operation. We're bringing new extruders in from Germany — machines we have in the group and we'll invest in new machines as well. We're going to motor," Thiroff said


Comments

Koma seeking U.S. manufacturers for its doors and windows

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: February 6, 2014 12:30 pm ET
Updated: February 6, 2014 9:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

China's Shide Group, BASF unveil 'revolutionary' all-plastic window profile

April 23, 2014 9:10 pm ET

SHANGHAI — The PVC window profile market in Asia is expected to increase four-fold by 2025, and Chinese building products maker Dalian Shide...    More

Worker dies in fall at Formosa Texas plant

April 23, 2014 4:04 pm ET

A subcontractor died April 22 after falling 25 feet during routine cleaning operations at a Formosa Plastics Corp. USA facility in Point Comfort,...    More

Sale of Romanian PVC producer Oltchim assets postponed again

April 23, 2014 1:35 pm ET

The long anticipated privatization of insolvent Romanian PVC producer Oltchim has been postponed yet again, this time until mid-May.    More

Some medical devices could get faster approval with new FDA rules

April 22, 2014 7:41 pm ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing an expedited approval for medical devices for devices aimed at the diagnosis or treatment of...    More

Image

HRS adding more North American production for hot runners

April 22, 2014 12:57 pm ET

An Italian tooling component supplier is set to open a new production plant in Grand Rapids, Mich. The HRS Flow Division of San Polo di Piace-headquar...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events