Pushing the Boundaries of Materials Science

August 2, 2022

Deceuninck Manages the Convergence of Performance and Eco-Friendly Innovation

Focusing on generating the highest-performing PVC materials for window and door extrusions.

Prioritizing sustainability.

Supporting the company’s global team of professionals.

For Deceuninck North America’s material science department, these are the guiding principles.

Paul Adams has been with Deceuninck North America for more than 15 years and has served as the director of materials research and development for the past 11 years. Adams and his team conduct extensive research to create new formulas and advance the performance of extrusions used to create the windows and doors installed on millions of homes and buildings throughout North America.

The formulas that the Deceuninck materials science team creates must meet multiple criteria, be respectful of the environment, and be recyclable at the end of their life cycle. They serve as the backbone for window and door systems installed on countless structures. Therefore, once installed on a building, their performance needs to be second to none.

Climate Change Considerations

Climate change and ever-increasing global temperatures have placed a greater demand on the research that goes into advancing PVC formulas. The ones previously used to manufacture windows and doors are not as effective as they once were. The environment is changing, which means higher-performing, longer-lasting windows have become a mandate.

“We must create windows for today, not for an environment that existed 20 years ago,” Adams said. “These new products must endure for 25 or 30 years, and at the end of their life cycle, must be recyclable and maintain 90% of their original physical properties.”

Higher outside temperatures cause window systems to undergo degradation. With this information in mind, Deceuninck’s materials science team places a greater emphasis on the development of new chemistries, which have become a large part of what the team investigates on a daily basis.

“Much of what we do is in response to climate change and in line with the overall sustainability model of Deceuninck,” Adams noted.

A+ in Chemistry

The demand on new color pigments and their properties has required Deceuninck to spend more research and development hours on pigment chemistry. A few years ago, Deceuninck explored paints and coatings used specifically for military vehicles designed to reflect heat. These same advancements can be applied to building materials and have even been employed by the materials science team to reduce heat gain in the windows.

Deceuninck strives to reduces its carbon footprint, and as an organization, it is committed to contributing to a sustainable built environment. That is why plant-based additives that are locally farmed in Ohio or imported from India or Brazil are used in the formulation of PVC compounds.

“One might not traditionally think ‘plants’ when considering the elements used to create windows or other plastics products, but these sustainable, organic materials can be used as lubricants and serve other important functions in the production of PVC windows and doors,” explained Adams.

Another key material chemistry advancement is Deceuninck’s proprietary PVC compound – SunShield® Technology – that was designed specifically for window and door profiles. SunShield ensures long-lasting color retention and low maintenance. It includes a lifetime warranty against rotting, cracking, pitting, corroding, and peeling.

Helping the Homeowner

Eco-conscious consumers are paying attention to the environment and want to live in homes that save energy and minimize harmful effects on the environment. Plastics of the past were not comprised of the same eco-friendly materials that help create today’s window and door extrusions.

“Behind the scenes, we anticipate what homeowners will need,” said Adams. “We want homeowners to think: ‘As l long as I stay in this house, I don’t have to worry about the windows.’”

Deceuninck products pass safety regulations in the United States and abroad, designed with the environment in mind.

As far as tangible benefits for the homeowner are concerned, choosing high-performance windows helps to create comfortable interior environments and inviting living spaces. In addition, by reducing the amount of thermal loss through a window frame, less energy is required to heat or cool a home. This has a positive impact on the environment and can decrease annual energy costs for owners.

Challenges Creating Opportunity

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt new challenges to the industry at large, and the Deceuninck material science team also felt the effects. Global supply chain constraints resulted in the need to shift toward alternative raw material options and, in some cases, reformulation.

“The supply chain over the past two years has been dynamic and unpredictable,” explained Adams. “However, as scientists, we embrace the opportunity to think outside of the box and experiment with new ways to drive innovation at Deceuninck.”

Material availability and costs continued to be moving targets during the acute phases of the pandemic. The material science team had to adjust and find new ways to create. However, they maintained the quality or even improved upon the properties of materials that go into extrusions and other final products.

On the Horizon

The material science team continues to innovate and leverage technologies between different product areas. For example, material advancements within the decking industry to improve product performance are being harnessed at Deceuninck to create durable, long-lasting window systems. Being part of a global group, Deceuninck North America further expands its access to different technologies and innovations.

Deceuninck’s Rovex technology is a prime opportunity for future material and product development. Rovex is a bio-based composite material that integrates glass and polyurethane for superior structural, thermal, and environmental performance.

“Deceuninck is always striving for better performing products that protect our environment and make use of natural materials,” Adams noted. “Our goal is to create new compounds and technologies that exceed what homeowners and fabricators are expecting. If we’re not pushing the boundaries on innovation and keeping the promise of sustainability at the forefront of product development, we’re not doing our part.”

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