An interview with Stijn Vermeulen, CEO of Deceuninck Europe, has appeared on the Murator Plus popular construction site in Poland. The visit of Mr. Vermeulen to Poland gace an opportunity to talk about many topics. Below we present a fragment of the conversation conducted by Dominika Merek.
What brings you to Poland?
The answer is simple. I wanted to come to show our clients from Poland how important they are to us - and how important the Polish market is to us. Everyone knows that Polish woodwork manufacturers are one of the largest players on the world market. Poland exports woodwork to almost every corner of the world. Deceuninck wants to show that it supports Polish producers. Thus, I can say this is the main, if not the only reason why I am here.
Deceuninck is listed as one of the three largest PVC window systems producers in the world. The company emphasizes that it works in accordance with the idea of sustainable construction. What does this mean exactly? How can plastic production be called sustainable?
First of all, we don't produce plastic - we use it and then we recycle existing plastic, which makes our business sustainable. Plastic is one of the few materials in the world that can be recycled many times. I agree that the current way we use PVC causes problems. Some time ago, I heard a statement from experts saying that PVC pollution is so great that excavations carried out in a million years will uncover entire deposits of this material underground. Our company believes that it is time to stop treating PVC as single-use plastics. We introduce an approach based on creating added value - for example, producing recycled PVC windows.
Deceuninck runs initiatives to reuse PVC products. In Western Europe, we have invested in creating a complete collection network for PVC waste, not only industrial, but also consumer. Consumer waste includes used windows that we collect from our customers, but also so-called end-of-life windows, old waste windows that we collect and then transfer to our recycling plant in Belgium. There, the raw material is created from waste, which we use to produce new windows. This is our approach and our task as a socially responsible PVC producer.
For a long time woodwork manufacturers have been emphasizing that it is impossible to survive in this industry without innovation. What can Deceuninck say about it?
The biggest innovation that we have introduced in recent years is the technology using fiberglass, which replaces the classic steel reinforcement that we use in combination with the Forthex thermal reinforcement in the frame. ThermoFibra in combination with Forthex is our solution that allows us to enrich the PVC profile with glass fiber bundles. The latest and very important innovation of Deceuninck is the iCOR rule used in our new Elegant platform. It allows much more flexibility when using a combination of frames and sashes. Elegant is a completely new program of window and door systems for the whole of Europe with various depths of frames on offer, currently amounting to 76, 84 and 115 mm. Today we have four, and by next year we will have five wings with different styles, each of which suits different depths of the frame. It's total flexibility and less complexity! For our customers, this means less inventory, and greater offer flexibility and faster fabrication.
In what direction do you think window frames will develop?
We will definitely focus strongly on post-consumer waste and efforts to create a circular economy. We see that the Polish market is based mainly on investments in new buildings, but most of the work in Western Europe is mainly renovation. I think that in the next 10-20 years renovations and modernizations will become an important part of the window joinery sector also in Poland. This means that a huge number of old windows will be 'dropped' onto the market. We want this waste to become part of our new products!
Another issue is the connection between the window and the wall. This is an important aspect of window installation - perhaps our next field to show off. Poland, France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium - each of these countries has slightly different windows. Currently, our PVC profiles must be designed to compensate for these differences. In the future, however, it is worth thinking about a universal solution.
How Deceuninck would describe he Polish market? Is it harder or easier than the others? What is the specificity? How is it changing?
Poland is one of the world's largest window exporter. Our Polish customers ask about all products used in Europe. It is a challenge for us but also an advantage - we offer systems used in all European countries.
The Polish market is very dynamic. It can be said that Poland sets the pace of development of the European market. At the same time, the Polish market is not so much setting trends as it is able to adapt to the markets of other countries, including changes in legal requirements. Polish producers do not influence what will be sold in France or Spain, but they supply the appropriate product to these markets, in line with their needs and taste.