In the river sand: a gold nugget! In the rock: a vein of gold! A company can feel like a lucky gold prospector when it has a really good product idea. GEALAN-acrylcolor® is such a golden idea. GEALAN came across the process in 1980 and developed it into the pot of gold it is today. And the future? It glitters!
GEALAN-acrylcolor® has a descriptive name: “acryl” stands for its special surface, “color” for its special colour. PVC profiles are refined with a generous layer of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), better known as acrylic glass. This is done by coextrusion: the white PVC strand is met by the coloured acrylic glass strand in the extrusion tool, and the two combine to form acrylcolor. Subsequent sanding gives GEALAN-acrylcolor® its silky matt sheen. In the same way as gold-plated jewellery, a combination of elegant surface and brilliant colour is created – with incomparable properties.
GEALAN-acrylcolor® RAL 7016 in the S 9000 system
GEALAN-acrylcolor® is simply an ingenious product”, says Robert Tänzel, head of GEALAN Sales Area I, which includes GEALAN’s most important market, Germany, as well as Austria, Switzerland, Benelux and Slovenia. The co-extrusion process is ingenious because it’s basically simple: with PVC and acrylic glass, only two components come together – matching them perfectly is more advantageous than building up several layers using primers and adhesives. GEALAN succeeds in fusing the two materials together with maximum accuracy, making them inseparable. PMMA is one of the hardest extrudable materials – and hardness means resistance. The acrylic glass layer is so solid that scratches can be polished out. On the one hand, this is useful for installation – on building sites people don’t work with kid gloves – and on the other, it’s good for the end customer, who can simply brush out small areas of damage. The GEALAN-acrylcolor® surface is homogeneous and smooth, even under a microscope. Like everything smooth – reflective car paints, high-gloss interior surfaces, flawless iPhone screens – it feels beautiful. Above all, however, smoothness brings physical advantages: dust, pollen and dirt particles slide off; thus creating an easy-care surface – “a persuasive argument for properties such as student residences or schools”, says Tänzel, “GEALAN-acrylcolor® stays beautiful for years, even decades”.
GEALAN-acrylcolor® RAL 7016 in the S 9000 system
Peter Schouren is impressed by this surface. As the Managing Director of HÖNING GmbH, a major GEALAN partner based in Jesewitz, Saxony, which has been producing GEALAN-acrylcolor® windows in large quantities for over twenty years and has purchased profiles worth over 55 million euros from GEALAN over this time, he puts it in a nutshell: “GEALAN-acrylcolor® is simply a top-notch material for window exteriors that are fully exposed to weathering and need to be protected. We’ve been working with it for so long now and, unlike other products, we’ve only had positive experiences”.
“If you look at an old VW Beetle in the scrap yard, it’s completely rusted and faded”, says Robert Tänzel. “But the lenses of its rear lights still have almost the same red colour as before, that’s what acrylic glass can do: the colour is indestructible”. Acrylic glass has no colour of its own, it is transparent – and thus forms the white canvas on which GEALAN creates colours. The palette comprises over sixty colours, including white aluminium, purple, fir green and sepia brown. Only colour pigments from European suppliers are used; anthracite, grey tones and deep black are in vogue. The development of a new colour takes between one and four years, and sometimes one becomes a hit: “RAL 7016 Anthracite Grey has taken a very positive development”, says Peter Schouren, but so has DB 703, a colour called Iron Mica at HÖNING. “I can well imagine experimenting with other colour nuances from there. If we had another success like we had with DB 703 – that would give us another clear USP in the marketplace”.
GEALAN-acrylcolor® RAL 9016 in the S 9000 system
A USP is an important aspect for architects as well: “Their goal is to build big, to be artists, to create something beautiful”, says Robert Tänzel, “and for that they have to set themselves apart from others – with a special colour scheme, artists can express themselves even better and emphasise features”. That’s why architects want GEALAN-acrylcolor®, its silky matt look, its extraordinary colour. But the acrylic glass layer can do even more than hardness and colour: just as high-carat gold jewellery offers space to incorporate diamonds, it offers space for effects. “We introduce metallic pigments, they look amazing”, says Robert Tänzel, “it’s not easy though – we’re the only ones who can do it”
Each individual colour will shine for countless years to come because GEALAN accurately simulates weather influences: GEALAN-acrylcolor® profiles are artificially weathered in a kind of washing machine and exposed to many years of sunlight in xenon tests. In Bandol in the south of France, the profiles lie in the intense sun of the Côte d’Azur; they’re also repeatedly examined under outdoor weathering in Florida, Arizona and Australia. Dr Michel Sieffert is head of Research & Development at GEALAN: “We select the colourants used so that they have the highest colour fastness and weather resistance – they ensure the long-term stability of the colours”. In this way, the colour brilliance of even brand-new colours is guaranteed for decades. “At the same time, we’re pushing developments to reduce the temperature at which the paint heats up when exposed to sunlight”, says Dr Sieffert. A high proportion of reflective pigments in the acrylic layer reduces heating, as with a white T-shirt or a white car paint. Less heating means more window stability.
GEALAN-acrylcolor® RAL 1019 in the S 9000 system
GEALAN has over 40 years of ongoing experience using acrylcolor. This doesn’t just mean that they’ve been doing it for a long time. Experience means that the technology is improved, and product perfected each and every year. “Our technology has been refined”, says Robert Tänzel, “our extrusion equipment, our special tools, which we manufacture ourselves in our state-of-the-art toolmaking department – that alone has increased the surface quality enormously”. At the same time, the material composition has been optimised in every detail. Dr Sieffert: “For example, we adjust the PMMA with the aid of additives to ensure optimum profile processing for window manufacturers. We formulate and mix the material ourselves and constantly optimise our formulations for their intended use”. “No one else has this uninterrupted experience”, Robert Tänzel emphasises, “Only GEALAN has worked so intensively on acrylcolor. It’s our DNA, our brand recognition, our USP".
He says that having a product that only GEALAN has in this system and colour variety and being the market leader is an absolute clincher for sales. GEALAN-acrylcolor® now plays an important role primarily in the German market, but also in the country systems for the Netherlands, France and Italy. Tänzel also sees the product depth as a unique selling point – GEALAN has always built new profiles in acrylcolor, with accessories in complex geometries. The surface is also available for front doors and lift-slide doors, and even for roller shutter and ventilation systems. “Over forty years, many millions of GEALAN-acrylcolor® window systems have arrived on the market – anyone can look at the properties and see that it works”
The fact that it does is also due to partners like HÖNING GmbH. “Our customers are idea generators for us”, says Robert Tänzel. Peter Schouren cites narrow sashes in the S 9000 system and decorative profiles for high-class renovation as examples. “It’s all about ensuring that everything fits together – that I can offer our customers an honest product. Of course, not every idea can be implemented straightaway, but we inspire GEALAN and GEALAN us – and sometimes we develop a product idea together that impresses us all visually”.
GEALAN-acrylcolor® RAL 7039 in the GEALAN-KUBUS® system
A specialty is GEALAN-KUBUS®: This system allows for particularly large glass surfaces, and its seamless contours stand for clean, clear-cut architecture. “The look inspires everyone”, says Robert Tänzel. HÖNING is the biggest KUBUS processor. “For me, such a high-quality product definitely needs the high-quality surface as well”, says Peter Schouren, “It’s logical that KUBUS is only available with acrylcolor”. For Schouren, GEALAN-acrylcolor® is also the answer to an important question: “If I were to line up all the system houses in Germany and ask why I should take this or that – they might say something like: We offer quality. But they all say that. With GEALAN, the question of why is answered perfectly: acrylcolor! When you have such a strong argument, you just have to keep building on it”.
An important factor for the future is the sustainability of GEALAN-acrylcolor®, its recyclability. On the one hand, the refined profiles can be completely recycled, on the other, GEALAN has further developed coextrusion into triextrusion: a third strand of recycled material forms the inner chambers in more and more profiles – the grey material stands for an impressive environmental record, for resource conservation. Fresh material is used around the recycled core, so that a finished window with a recycled interior is physically and colour-wise indistinguishable from a completely new one. “Certainly in the future we’ll look even more closely at how much material we use for certain products. The days of battles over materials are coming to an end”, Peter Schouren predicts, “I could imagine a base body made entirely of recyclate”.
Robert Tänzel sees GEALAN-acrylcolor® facing a golden future: “We will further improve its sustainability, develop new colours, make even greater use of metallic colours. We will push technology and colour stability even further. We will manufacture our premium systems entirely in GEALAN-acrylcolor®“. The market potential is far from exhausted.
In 2022, in its 43rd year, GEALAN-acrylcolor® will appear in a colour that fits perfectly like no other and gives windows glamour and the radiance of a winner's medal. In addition to iron mica, bronze and silver, there is finally gold!
GEALAN Fenster-Systeme places a great deal of trust in its trainees at an early stage and supports the young people in developing unusually independently in their new profession and taking on responsibility.
GEALAN is on its way to developing CO2-reduced raw material for plastic profiles. Chalk extracted from Estonian oil shale ash is used for this purpose. The quality of the raw material mixture is maintained even with the chalk substitute.
Eva Schröder likes to be on the move – on foot and in her mind. She hikes, climbs deep gorges, bikes through forests, swims under sparkling waterfalls, preferably far off the beaten track. For GEALAN she works on the perfect journey: a customer journey with a wow effect.
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