By December 19, 2014 Read More →

Stahlin enclosures arrive in Britain

David Mattin, Managing Director of Univolt UK and Roger Schroder, Engineering Manager of Stahlin Enclosures (pictured) talk to Electrical Wholesaler about why Stahlin, the leading manufacturer of non-metallic enclosures in the US has come to Britain.

Roger David

Q: David, so Univolt is to introduce a range of enclosures into the market, what made you decide to do this?

DM: As you know we have been steadily expanding our range of cable management products and now offer over 10,000 items including rigid plastic conduits, corrugated conduits, fittings and cable ducting. Many of these are halogen-free plastic and the addition of a range of non-metallic highly durable enclosures is a logical extension to our range.

Q: Roger, tell us more about Stahlin; it’s not a name we are familiar with in the UK.

RS: For more than 60 years Stahlin has been using its engineering and manufacturing experience to solve unique requirements. During that time the company pioneered the fibre glass enclosure and its range are now the most widely specified in the world. Although not well known in this country, a number of OEMs who need a reliable product, purchase from us and ship our enclosures over from the States for use in their high performance systems. They purchase our product because of the wide range of design options with the capability to provide tailored apertures, colours or screen printing, plus product quality supported by a 10 year manufacturer warranty.

Q: What has changed to make you increase your UK presence?

RS: For some time we have wanted to have a better presence in the UK, to support our existing customers and allow us to grow our market. But it was dependent on having the right partner. We have looked at various companies but it is the partnership with Univolt that has made the difference. Both companies are similar – medium sized privately owned businesses with a commitment to new product development and customer service. Our product ranges are also complementary. The Univolt range of conduit, trunking and installation boxes sits well alongside our non-metallic enclosures.

Q: Why would people want a non-metallic enclosure instead of metal?

DM: Metal is a good everyday solution, but it has vulnerabilities, most obviously corrosion. In a wet, or aggressive environment it can very quickly corrode and then its integrity is destroyed, allowing dirt to penetrate and affect the components being protected. People tend to think of metal as tough, but it is also easily dented or bent which again can cause sealing issues. The Stahlin range of non-metallic enclosure, which are mostly made from fibre glass, do not suffer from these problems and in addition they provide electrical insulation and are easy to cut for apertures.

Q: Typically, what are the applications they are used for?

RS: There is a very wide range, but in this country I would expect to see them in external applications such as solar farms, wind farms, ports, harbours, railways and chemical plants. Also used internally in aggressive environments such as food processing and manufacturing.

DM: We believe there is a big opportunity in the UK. Even though the government’s renewables policy has faced difficulties we still see more than 900 projects worth more than £4.0 billion on the books at the moment. There is also a commitment to make the UK a leading manufacturer of wind power and this is backed with over 1,500 projects worth another £40 billion.

Q: How does fibre glass react to solar radiation?

RS: The Sun is extremely aggressive and deteriorates many products which have not been designed to withstand it. Thirteen years ago we developed SolarGuard which is a special formulation to dramatically slow down the effects of UV degradation. This is now backed by 12-plus years in applications such as the extremes of temperature in the desert of Western Texas.

Q: What about certification?

RS: In many of these applications, certification is international and we meet the standards. But we are also in the process of securing additional certification for the UK market.

Q: Another concern is technical support?

RS: Providing our customers with technical support is something we take very seriously. Already the Univolt team have been to visit our US factory and receive training. We have also been here training them. But I will also be regularly visiting the UK, basing myself at Univolt’s main distribution centre in Welwyn Garden City, during the first half of 2015. From there I will be available to make joint calls with any of our stockists to give their customers technical advice. By the end of this time I would expect the Univolt team to be fully up to speed, but we will still be available to support them from our US head office.

Q: Another important issue is stock availability, what are the arrangements?

DM: We have developed a launch stock profile which covers our most popular ranges and is held in Welwyn Garden City, this will be supported by a strategic European stock held in Univolt Austria. Backing this will be our broad stock holding in our Belding factory and fast manufacturing turn-around. We will also be looking to put stock into a network of wholesalers around the country to support and create demand.

For more information about the Stahlin range of enclosures contact: Dietzel Univolt, Unit 4, Quadrant Park, Mundells, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1FS Hertfordshire. Tel: 01707 379 821