Crittall Windows unveils double investment in Witham factory

Part of the solar photovoltaic panel array being installed on the roof of the Crittall Windows facto

Part of the solar photovoltaic panel array being installed on the roof of the Crittall Windows factory in Witham. - Credit: Archant

Essex-based Crittall Windows has announced a twin investment in renewable energy and new production technology.

The company, the world’s oldest supplier of steel windows and still a market leader in the sector, has ordered a £140,000 Gianos CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining centre from Italian manufacturer MECAL.

It will be the first Gianos model to be installed in Great Britain and will boost production efficiency and the flexibility of machining operations across the entire range of products produced at Crittall’s factory in Witham.

The investment comes at a time when the company’s forward order book is looking very healthy, both in terms of the home market and export trade to the United States.

In addition, Crittall is installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) array on its main factory roof, in a move which it says will dramatically lower its energy costs as well as reducing the environmental impact of its operations.

All the electricity produced by the array of 1,000 solar PV panels will be consumed during normal production operations, with an opportunity to export energy into the grid during the evenings and weekends.

Work on the £250,000 installation is due to be completed before the end February, from when it is expected to provide carbon dioxide savings of around 140 tonnes per year.

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John Pyatt, Crittall’s managing director, said: “The circa £250k green energy investment makes perfect sense as it has a payback of less than six years, with a stable year-on-year contribution to our energy demands over the next two decades.

“Combined with the continuing acquisition of innovative production equipment this is an indication of the confidence we have in the markets in which we operate.”

Crittall still produces windows of the same styles and sizes which formed its Homelight range in the 1920s, although today’s products feature higher performance features such as galvanising (it pioneered the hot-dip galvanising process in 1946 to provide protection against corrosion), double glazing and powder coating finishes.

Today, its frames also contain 100% recycled steel, with the firm reclaiming steel and glass from any windows it replaces.

In 2010, the company was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.