As homes in public housing programme from the 1960s and 1970s are being renovated at a cost of billions of SEK, many property owners are taking the opportunity to improve security in their apartments. Stronger doors are being installed and unbreakable insulating glass is being fitted in the windows. Svenska Bostäder is among those landlords investing most heavily to ensure their tenants feel safe in their everyday lives.
– The project has largely been shaped by the concerns of our tenants, says Mattias Karlsson, Project Manager and Customer Representative at Svenska Bostäder, a housing company owned by the City of Stockholm. A wish consistently expressed by tenants faced with the prospect of renovation was for the incorporation of solid, safe solutions. This was particularly evident among residents on the ground floor. And that is why we have chosen to fit Hammerglass in all windows in ground floor apartments. It is hugely important for us to know that our tenants feel safe and secure in their own homes.
Annelie Nordgren of Byggfab AB has been Project Manager/Construction Manager for renovation of the approximately 800 Svenska Bostäder apartments in Husby and Tensta.
– We have chosen to use Hammerglass insulated glazing in all apartments in the Molde area of Husby and the Skänninge area of Tensta, among other locations. Right from the start of this project we have tried really hard to ensure the residents feel more secure in their everyday life. This aim has influenced everything from the colour scheme to the choice of materials. There is an access balcony outside all these apartments, and so it is all too easy for someone to break the kitchen window and just hop inside.
To make sure the residents don’t notice any difference compared with normal glass, the architect has chosen to use Hammerglass as the middle pane in the triple glazed cassettes. Most window manufacturers offer window solutions of this type, although it is mainly SSC and Leiab that have acted as suppliers for the Svenska Bostäder renovation project.
– To begin with, the contractors who won the contract were sceptical about the more expensive solution with Hammerglass, but we stuck to our guns, and so eventually everything went really well, and we are extremely satisfied. There has even been an attempted break-in where the thief was unsuccessful in getting in through the window, so there is absolutely no doubt that it works, concludes Annelie.
Increasing sales to apartment blocks
Torbjörn Timmermans, Business Manager for Hammerglass Property Division, has witnessed over the last couple of years a marked and continuous rise in the sales of security glazing panels for both apartment blocks and ordinary detached houses.
– It is probably a combination of things – the fact we have succeeded in getting information out there about our products – and as far as I know we are the only company in the world that is supplying unbreakable insulating glass with a full insulation guarantee – and the fact that there actually is an increased need for protection against burglary and vandalism. We are seeing this trend particularly in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, but in small towns, too, where there are repeated incidents of this sort, people are now choosing to design away the security problem. The panels are certified as conforming to class EN 356 P8B and weigh around 14 kg per square metre in the triple pane format. Corresponding protection with ordinary glass would weigh around 90 kg. The additional cost for a complete special project window using Hammerglass amounts to no more than about 30%, so if you are going to renovate in any case then the choice is not too difficult to make, says Torbjörn Timmermans.
Hammerglass Automotive continues its journey in the European construction world and the next stop on the road towards safer driving environments and better operating economy is Germany.
Swedish glassmaker Hammerglass is now continuing its expansion and has during the early autumn established itself with subsidiaries in Germany. Hammerglass Automotive, which is the market leader in the construction machinery segment, already exists with its own companies in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and included within the expansion plans are additional countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
Responsible for the business development in Germany will be Oliver Afsah, who left his position at the company Thyssenkrupp in early September to land at Hammerglass GmbH's Nuremberg office. Already today, Hammerglass is established in Germany as a product, but without its own sales organization. Although Hammerglass glass systems are available for most brands and models, there are still gaps in the range.
– Hammerglass' goal is to be available to all machine manufacturers shortly - either as an option when the customer buys a new machine, or in the aftermarket when a screen is broken or if you need to secure the machine for tougher workouts, says Oliver about the investment in Germany.
Oliver will be responsible for the German operations and is currently in an intensive phase of product training and marketing planning. Oliver will put a lot of energy into building relationships with Hammerglass partners and as a German speaker, communication will be easier.
– It will be a great advantage that I am both where the customer is geographically and also has the language as a mother tongue, says Oliver.
What are your biggest challenges with Hammerglass Automotive in Germany?
– To make the market aware that there are no alternatives to Hammerglass, Oliver concludes with a smile.
Around Europe, a lot is happening on the driver's safety front. Earlier this spring, the Norwegian State Roads Agency introduced new tough rules for the protection standard that applies to the construction machinery used on their construction sites. More countries are expected to follow in the same tracks as risks in the machinists' work environment are at the center. The protection standard used in Norway and Sweden is called Protection Class 3 - RABS and is a collection standard consisting of several different European sub-standards and standards. Nothing new then, just a new combination requirement. Hammerglass is one of the few companies that meets the tough requirements and that welcomes more standards in the field.
Bengt Nilsson, CEO of Hammerglass AB comments on the RABS requirements:
– It is good for the industry if there are clear requirements and standards that regulate what is the right protection. This makes it easier for contracting companies to create a safe working environment”, says Bengt Nilsson.
In addition to Safety Class 3 - RABS being a protection for the individual machine driver, Hammerglass protection solutions also offer several financial advantages for construction machine owners. With Hammerglass in the cab, downtime in production is limited or avoided as window replacements are made less frequently. Machines that do not run in high-risk environments also benefit from the Hammerglass system, especially with an add-on Sacrificial Screen. When the sacrificial screen is worn by gravel wear and propelling stone chips, it is replaced without having to make more in-depth window replacements in the cab. The savings with replacing a sacrificial screen many times greater than replacing an ordinary windscreen.
Hammerglass AB has landed the company’s biggest order in years with a request for bullet-proof and explosion-proof windows and doors worth 1.8 million EUR. The order was received by Hammerglass Property and confirms the company’s leading position within the area of security glass.
– Unfortunately, the very strict secrecy requirements mean that we cannot disclose the identity of either the customer or the risk object, but I can confirm that installation will be carried out during Q3 and Q4 this year, and that it involves upgrading a property in Sweden, says the Head of Hammerglass Property, Torbjörn Timmermans.
– We have for a long time offered ballistic-resistant solutions which, thanks to the characteristics of Hammerglass, are much thinner and lighter than traditional bullet-proof panels. Because we are also able to manufacture bullet-proof insulating glass, a lower weight and thinner glass package are of extra significance.- Besides supplying complete window and door systems, we can also handle everything from fixing solutions to turnkey installation. In consultation with the customer we establish the relevant threat level, make a thorough risk assessment of the risk object (Security Assessment) and finally present the customer with a solution.
– There are still many that believe it is enough just to have a protective film on the inside of the pane in order to withstand terror attacks. Unfortunately, both experience and testing demonstrate that not even films of the right protection class can help to any significant extent. What is more, in 9 out of 10 cases it is not possible to attach the film to the window frame in the correct way, which means that the entire glass package is forced into the room in a violent attack. We live in a world where the risk of terrorist attacks is constantly on the rise, and more and more understand the importance of having the right type of protection in case anything should happen.
Bengt Nilsson, MD of Hammerglass AB in Förslöv, now sees that further investment is needed in both production equipment and personnel in order to cope with the increased demand.
– We increased our turnover by 80% from 2016 to 2017 and by the end of February this year we had already reached our projected turnover for 2018, says Bengt Nilsson. This is of course extremely gratifying, but we’ve been laying the groundwork for this over many years and that is what has made our current market presence and volume increase possible. Exports account for around 40% of the turnover, and even though our business in Sweden is growing, we can still see that the primary potential for increases in sales of our products lies in exports. And we are not just active in the Property division, but also in Infrastructure and Automotive. These, too, are showing excellent growth, which means that the question of taking on new staff will arise during the year, says Bengt Nilsson in conclusion.