Tuesday 11 December 2018

Belfox European expansion will aid UK market

GATE technology has been in the bloodstream of Edgar Fierle for more than 30 years. His electro engineering background had been a more than adequate foundation on which to enter the access control industry.

Yet, even he could not have forecast the success that Belfox has had in becoming a major power in European markets. Today, Belfox enjoys a 70 per cent share in the Austrian market; 60 per cent in Germany and 40 per cent in both Belgium and the Netherlands; has a substantial presence in France, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.

The company manufactures over 4,000 sliding gate openers a year for the Austrian market alone and therefore it is no surprise that it is investing more than 5 million Euros in a new production plant on the outskirts of Frankfurt. With 8,000 sq. metres of space it is double the size of the company's current facility and is scheduled to come on stream at the beginning of 2017.

'We need this new plant to cope with the current production and also for expansion into other parts of the world,' said Fierle. 'It is what we must have.'
Today, the company is headed by both himself and Rrezarta Beqiraj who took over ownership some three years ago, and together they have spearheaded the progress of Belfox and together look to move forward.

While Europe is naturally the main focus for Belfox, it has not been oblivious to the potential offered by a growing automatic gate market within the UK. Hence two years ago it established a UK operation.

'Yes, it is a different market. Gate safety in the UK is moving differently and we've had to adapt. At the start Europe introduced safety norms, but the UK has taken those further. Like the pinch points on the hinges. It has to be less than 100mm and that is only in the UK. There is pressure in the UK for greater safety because of what has happened and that means we have to understand that and work on what the market here wants. There is a different market structure. Here the focus is very much on safety and, of course, price.'

With its clear message of not wishing to manufacture gates, but working alongside manufacturers to create products, Belfox has built several links with major players. The success of these 'partnerships' gives them confidence for the future.

'We have learnt together,' he said. 'That has been of great benefit because it has given us experience and we have been able to build on that. Ours is the technology of the drive portals. To make them visually good and design so that it enhances the look of the gate, as well as having all the safety features and control panels with safety features. The market might be very focused on price but it also wants something that sets one manufacturer apart from another. Something different and that's why we work with each company individually.'

Fierle though is an engineer who is always looking forward and knows only too well that today's technology is the foundation for tomorrow's innovation.

'Yes, there is always something new. Today investigations into safety electronics show that it could become so sophisticated that we don't need safety edges. We are developing motors in line with the latest energy consumption regulations that are no more 0.05 watts and of course there is smart technology which gives greater freedom and means problems can be identified no matter where you are. Solar technology is another area but we have been doing that for several years and there is a lot of competition.'

Fierle is not one to speculate about the market, but his experience, and that of the Belfox team as one of the leading innovators in Europe on gate automation means that they know what the market wants, probably before it even is aware that it is available.

As Belfox continues to grow its markets under the guidance of owner Rrezarta Beqiraj with the onset of its new factory, there is little doubt that it will build its UK operation.

'Yes, it is working well in the UK and we have some good partnerships. We know that more will follow. For us it is not about volume, but about helping manufacturers build products that offer something different that puts them ahead in the market’ 

To find out more about Belfox visit www.belfox.de

To apply for a copy of the new Belfox Gate and Door Automation catalogue, see the leaflet enclosed with this magazine or call 0151 722 0428.

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1 comment:

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