More than just a good coating
Austrian window manufacturer Gaulhofer is one of the most internationally successful companies in the Austrian construction material industry. The window exports impose strict requirements on coatings and use Teknos’ water-borne systems for its wooden and wood/aluminium systems.
“The overall package of quality, process and service has to be right,” says Christian Kirchmaier, director of Gaulhofer’s production operations in the Austrian town of Übelbach (near Graz). “These are the standards we hold ourselves to – and demand from our suppliers as well. This is especially true of coatings for our wooden and wood/aluminium windows.”
The Gaulhofer Group has two production sites. At its headquarters in Übelbach, the company produces wooden and wood/ aluminium windows and doors, while its location in Mäder (Vorarlberg) makes PVC windows and doors. The majority of its output goes to the domestic market, but more than one third is also exported, especially to Germany and Switzerland. The company’s high-end products include wood/aluminium windows and its Fusionline series with an installation depth of 108 mm and an optimum UW value of 0.65 W/m2K.
Gaulhofer exclusively uses domestic wood for its wooden and wood/aluminium windows, primarily spruce, larch, and, most recently, oak. In the process, the company focuses on large scale in-house production and bonds the scantlings itself at its own factory. Requirements on coatings are demanding here, too. “For one thing, we need high surface quality which is visually attractive and harmonises with the material,” says Christian Kirchmaier. “The coating doesn’t just have to be highly durable, it also has to be ecologically sustainable. And we need coating solutions which are easy to process and enable a stable production process.”
Long-standing experience with coating
Gaulhofer coats its wooden and wood/aluminium windows at its site in Übelbach. The plant is equipped with flowcoat systems for impregnation and priming, as well as two automatic spraying systems for opaque, translucent and colourless topcoat treatment. The company relies on solutions from Northern European coating manufacturer Teknos for all of its coating types. Gaulhofer uses a 3-layer system for translucent coatings and a structure with 3 or 4 layers for its opaque systems, depending on wood species. It uses the water-borne products GORI 356 (wood preservative), GORI 615, 616 and 650 (priming and intermediate treatment) as well as GORI 660 (final treatment) in the respective variants for translucent or opaque structures. For its wood/ aluminium windows, the company uses the water-borne conifer oil GORI 475 for wood/ aluminium windows which has a firing effect and accentuates the wood grain.
“The GORI systems get the surface quality and process characteristics just right,” says Christian Kirchmaier. “Furthermore, we now have nearly 20 years of experience with these coatings, which means we know that we can rely on its durability.”
In addition to quality and process characteristics, it also depends on service. A typical topic is special colours. “Design and individuality always play a major role with wooden windows,” Kirchmaier continues. “The trend is towards larger window areas and individual colours which building owners and architects are calling for.” So Gaulhofer is increasingly procuring coatings and stains in customer-specific colours which are developed and mixed with the support of Teknos’ laboratory in Fulda. Gaulhofer also collaborates closely with its coating suppliers when there are innovations in materials or production procedures. Before the oak profiles were introduced, the company tested and sampled a variety of coating structures together with application technicians from Teknos before production was launched. “To us, the right coating solution is more than just a good coating,” sums up Christian Kirchmaier. “It is a complete packaging which includes surface quality, seamless processes and a dedicated service.”