Maja Hoellrigl
ENCRAFT India Pvt. Ltd. is better known for its door & window systems that are engineered with precision and are masterpieces of art. The brand ENCRAFT was born in 2006 when Mr. Rajeev Jain, the company's managing director teamed up with Halo Systems of the UK, which has been in uPVC fenestration since 1979, supplying innovative products through regular R&D.

In the quest to know more about ENCRAFT's presence in India and the country's uPVC fenestration industry, Syed E. Hasan caught up with Ms. Maja Hoellrigl, who oversees marketing and operational activities at Encraft. She explored India as early as 1995 in her role of export director for Halo Systems (part of Bowater Plc). Her experience in uPVC frame fabrication, commercial frame installations, uPVC window profile extrusions and lamination, customer-focused marketing combined with her highly regarded expertise of lean manufacturing adds to the strength of ENCRAFT's wealth of knowledge in the specialised field of fenestration.

Ms. Hoellrigl shared her vision on various points including uPVC's growth drivers, role of specifiers, the company's awareness drive, and of course, a few weak points which are restricting the industry to move on its own. Here are the excerpts:

ENCRAFT Tilt & Turn Window
Technically, when it comes to energy-efficient window systems, uPVC scores high when compared to other competing materials. What other factors are driving the growth of uPVC window systems in India?
uPVC has become a very good proposition for fenestration world-wide due to its inherent warmth. We have to accept that energy costs will continue to rise and that part of modern living is comforted by the frequent use of AC units providing the much desired coolness but nowadays increasingly warmth as well.

uPVC fenestration, besides its outstanding material properties, has the advantage of being a late comer amongst the frame materials which meant that uPVC had to offer more benefits than other traditional materials. One benefit, mostly overlooked, is the outstanding air tightness by design. Energy-efficient windows and doors utilise carefully selected components, require accurate manufacture and competency when installing.

There is no value to be gained by specifying the best double glazing when you can see day-light either through the frame or the gap between frame and aperture. All good intentions would be defeated and that is why uPVC frames are solely manufactured in factory environment employing sophisticated machinery and components.

Price will always be a consideration but customers should at least have choices. Even in today's competitive environment, you will find that people, when asked, will choose energy-efficient windows because of the factual long-term energy cost savings and more importantly to contribute towards India's overall CO2 reduction in order to sustain a livable environment. We have to accept that every kilogram of CO2 reduction helps and it is not too late, despite some critical views.

How important is it to keep specifiers aware of the new or existing products? And which all programs are you currently running up for the purpose?
I think there is still some mileage in ensuring that specifiers and architects know about uPVC as a comparatively new framing material. It is important to understand what can and what cannot be done with it. Take a Ferrari – you cannot drive that at 200 miles per hour on Delhi roads – you would rip the undercarriage off!

ENCRAFT Low Threshold Patio Door

Same applies to uPVC fenestration. There are a bundle of advantages, but understanding what is available is secondary to understanding how to utilize the material in the design to get the best out of it.

Meanwhile, our experience centre will cover seminars for specifiers and architects to try and help with selection of the best suited designs for projects and also to help them in determining which materials to use and how to tell the difference.

Of course, we are fully aware that everyone and in particular architects and specifiers need to be one of the first to be informed about new products and innovations. For this, we are quite active on social websites, our own webpage, exhibitions, seminars, and of course, regular contacts with key players. Apart from all this, we keep sending mailers to these specifiers about any new development.

Dearth of quality workmanship has always been a major issue in India that keeps the manufacturer's reputation at stake. What steps are you taking to promote right practices among the industry stakeholders especially among the window fabricators and installers?
TwinSash Casement Concept
It is one of the key elements in our service offering to ensure that the quality of workmanship both, in fabricating and installing frames, is good. To make this work is quite a tricky proposition, particularly with no standards currently available in India.

We, therefore, have decided to use existing standards that are applicable to the Indian climate and working conditions as a basis for our drive to bring a product to the market that is fabricated and installed in accordance with these guidelines.

First of all, we have developed and launched a comprehensive manual that not only covers the selection of the right parts for each application, the assembly, and the installation. It also provides useful information for specifiers to ensure that their designs meet the environmental parameters.

ENCRAFT Tilt & Slide Door
We have a technical service team that has developed an audit system and that visits fabricators for approval as an ENCRAFT fabricator / installer and audits their fabrication. These audits are designed to ensure that the quality of the workmanship is in accordance with the guidelines and also to provide help to the fabricator.

Last, but not least, we are in the final stages of establishing our experience centre in Delhi. This will provide full training on survey, fabrication, and also installation of UPVC frames. But the centre will also comprise a full testing facility where the specifier or the architect can have frames tested to satisfy themselves of their performance.

What all ENCRAFT has in its product bouquet?
The range of windows and door options is vast! With ENCRAFT, one can choose from a range of colours and wood effects as well as different types. There are casement windows that open outward with the option of fly screens on the inside; Tilt-n-turn windows with inward opening and option of fly screens on the outside; Sliding windows with fly screen options and various sliding configurations, TwinSash that gives endless possibilities from fly screen on the outside, in between the windows, blinds in the windows, or in between the security grills.

When it comes to doors, the choice is just as great: one can have standard doors that open in and out with or without a threshold, sliding doors with fly screen options and different sliding options, they also offer a low threshold option, Tilt-n-slide doors, folding doors to give you more opening and you can have a door that tilts for ventilation and opens for walking through.