A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Edgetech's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Edgetech is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director UK and Asia
Pacific Chris Alderson
Super Spacer - leading an
energy efficiency revolution
Edgetech is a leading UK-based manufacturing company,
focused on the production of warm edge spacer bars. Since
its foundation in 1989, it has become part of the multi-
million-dollar Quanex Group, supplying products to over 90
countries worldwide. Managing Director of UK and Asia Pacific
Chris Alderson tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the impact
of the innovative products his team are producing and plans for
expansion in China and India.
Warm edge spacer bars. You’ve probably never heard of them. Most people
haven’t. But over decades, in millions of households and offices throughout the UK,
they’ve helped bring about an energy efficiency revolution – and for much of that
time, it’s been our Coventry-based business leading the charge.
Simply put, a spacer bar is what separates the two glass panes in a double-glazed
window. For a long time, they were made of metal – and that presented problems.
Metal conducts heat, which meant that the resulting windows offered very poor
thermal efficiency. In
response, manufacturers began to develop alternatives, and
what’s become known as “warm edge” technology was born.
We launched the Super Spacer product in 1989, and from there, the concept
really took off. Rather than metal, Super Spacer was made with heat-insulating
foam, over 950 times less conductive than aluminium, and its flexibility significantly
simplified the manufacturing process. Thirty years later, Super Spacer is still the
foremost foam warm edge spacer on the market, and we are a world-leader in
our field – part of the $900 million Quanex group, a global building products giant
based in Houston, Texas.
»Managing Director UK and
Asia Pacific: Chris Alderson
»Founded in 1989
»Located in Coventry, West
»No. of employees: 62 in the
UK and over 3,000 globally
»No. of countries supplied to:
Over 90
Highlighting best practice
Companies around the world use
Super Spacer to automate window
production, manufacture products
that offer outstanding performance
and complete ambitious architectural
projects, and we have the capacity to
manufacture over 25 million metres
of it from our Coventry headquarters
Super Spacer has recently been used in
Dubai’s striking Museum of the Future,
and in renovations to the Eiffel Tower.
On every continent on the planet,
there are windows incorporating
But our contribution has been about
more than just products. Back in
2006, our “Energy Efficiency in
Focus” seminar sought to raise the
profile of the then-fledgling Window
Energy Rating scheme. At the time,
only 50 products carried Window
Interest in improving energy efficiency
had started to snowball, and in
2010 we responded with our hugely
successful “Journey to C” seminars
– which helped the industry adapt to
tightening performance requirements
in building regulations.
Innovation, operational
excellence and customers at
the centre
In 2017 we celebrated ten years of
UK manufacturing, nearly doubled the
footprint at our Coventry facility and
launched three initiatives signalling
our key priorities for the years ahead.
The first was a commitment to
operational excellence. With Quanex’s
backing and continued investment,
we’re able to supply dozens of quality
UK manufacturing jobs in the West
Midlands and honour a long-standing
commitment to employee wellbeing.
In the last fiscal year alone, we’ve
spent £250,000 improving health and
safety standards at our Coventry base.
We’re proud to say that 46 per cent
of Edgetech’s employees have been
with the company for more than five
years, and 17 per cent have been with
the firm for more than ten years. More
generally, we conduct regular supplier
visits to ensure the raw materials we
receive continue to meet our stringent
quality standards.
Our second key commitment was
to innovation and new product
development – something we
Super Spacer has been
specified in Dubai’s
striking Museum of the
On every
continent on
the planet,
there are
honoured last year by completing
construction on a specialist test
laboratory to develop new products,
test existing ones and help customers
meet regulatory requirements on site.
It will also help us overcome challenges
impacting businesses right across our
sector – most notably, a shortage of
crucial raw materials.
Using both our in-house testing facilities
and the world-class Quanex laboratories
in Akron, Ohio, we’re currently working
on a number of product variations
that provide the same exceptional
performance the market has come to
expect from us, without being so heavily
dependent on a specific material. At
the time of writing, five new products
are currently in development.
Our third key commitment was to
our customers. We’ve always prided
ourselves on the service we provide,
but in the decade ahead, we want to
go even further, and strive to put them
at the centre of everything we do.
As a starting point, in the last year
we’ve conducted a thorough analysis
of our relationship with our customers.
Involving dozens of interviews with
existing and prospective clients, it
found that while our flagship Super
Spacer is still perceived as the UK’s
leading warm edge spacer, it was the
consistent product quality, reliability
and extensive technical support that
motivated manufacturers to work with
us. To engage our staff in the process,
we’ve introduced a “Customers at the
Centre” observations scheme, allowing
employees to suggest ways that
customer service could be improved.
Looking to the future
The years ahead will undoubtedly
bring challenges. As yet, we’re
uncertain how exactly Brexit will
impact our sector. But other trends
are likely to play in our favour. Given
the increasingly dire warnings about
climate change coming from the
scientific community, energy efficiency
is arguably more relevant now than it’s
ever been – something that’s bound
to drive demand for products that can
help households and businesses cut
their energy usage.
We’re also seeing major success
throughout Asia Pacific, where the
double-glazing market is still in its
relative infancy. We exhibit globally,
including regular events in India and
China, and demand is growing in
these emerging markets, where energy
efficiency is becoming an increasingly
important consideration. We made
the warm edge spacer mainstream in
Britain – now we’re doing the same in
a market of over four billion people.
In addition, we’re experiencing a
surge of interest in automation, in
response to skills shortages across our
sector. One of Super Spacer’s greatest
strengths is its ease of application
– and an automated Super Spacer
application line can make a glass unit
every 15 to 20 seconds. Whatever
2019 brings, with decades of expertise,
world-leading innovation, and the
support of so many in our industry
behind us, we’re confident that we’ll
continue to thrive.
experiencing a
surge of
interest in
automation, in
response to
skills shortages
across our
One of Super Spacer’s
greatest strengths is its
ease of application


This article was sponsored by Edgetech. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster