At a Glance
Fort Scott, KS
Manufacturing high-performance aluminum and architectural windows
For the past 60 years, the Peerless Products, Inc. name has been synonymous with high-performance, high-quality aluminium windows. And today, the Fort Scott, Kansas, manufacturer blends vertical integration with expert engineering to uphold that tradition and offer one of the industry’s most energy-efficient window products yet—the EnerGsave window, which boasts the lowest U-value numbers by creating natural, insulating air pockets within its framing profile.
“For windows the main energy concern is the ability to control heat loss or gain,” sales engineer Jason Davis says. “The U-value of a window represents its overall heat-transfer rate. The lower the U-value, the better the window’s ability to control heat loss or gain. The EnerGsave products have the lowest U-value numbers in the industry today for aluminum windows through the use of polyamide strip thermal breaks, insulated glass [to minimize] air leakage.” The high-performance EnerGsave windows enable mechanical-design engineers to downsize buildings’ cooling and heating systems, which in turn reduces their energy consumption and the associated costs. The windows have earned a measure of popularity, and Peerless has seen them installed on several recent retrofit projects, including LSU Stadium, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee dorms, and a New York high-rise.
Top 4 Products from Peerless
1. The EnerGsave window just won the 2011 Crystal Achievement Award for Most Innovative Commercial Window.
2. The G500 window is the most energy-efficient in the industry, offering the lowest U-value available on the market today for an architectural window-rated (AW-rated) product.
3. The G-series Terrace Door complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) half-inch-sill stipulation while still offering an American Architectural Manufacturers Association-rated 12-pound water-pressure rating.
4. The T-Rex with Lift + Slide Technology achieves the industry’s lowest air-infiltration rating for an AW-rated sliding window.
Peerless prides itself on staying ahead of its competitors by working closely with its customer base. “We are in constant communication with our sales rep force, key customers, and the architectural community to determine market needs in various segments and regions,” inside sales manager Heather Griffith says. “[We are] known for our ability to quickly respond and create custom features as needed, giving our customers an edge.”
To stay on top, Peerless has implemented a manufacturing process that ensures that no part of the production is done by anyone else. “Vertical integration allows us to have control of the whole manufacturing process without having to rely on outside sources that may not have the same quality standards we expect,” Griffith says. “We have built-in quality checks and measures, from the extrusion process to the insulating glass line to the end of the production lines. Because of this, we can respond more quickly to customer needs and scheduling demands.”
The ability to immediately tool up for production as orders are generated has become a critical component of the industry. A high demand can stretch the availability of raw materials, parts, and labor, so Peerless has adopted a system to scale its production in accordance with demand. The process is called Demand Flow Technology, or DFT. Developed by engineers at Hewlett Packard and Johnson & Johnson in the mid-1980s and modeled after the systems of Japanese automakers, DFT, also referred to as “Just-In-Time” or “Lean,” moves away from the traditional schedule-push process of a sales plan and forecast to determine production schedules. Adopting DFT, Peerless dug deep into its process, calculating operator and machine-resource needs based on demand at capacity. “We used those calculations,” employee Andrew Kimmell says, “to dictate a complete plant reorganization and layout to improve material flow.”
But all of this happens behind the scenes, and in the end it’s still all done in the service of greater customer satisfaction, which Peerless studies closely to ensure its windows continue selling. “What our customers like best about our products,” Griffith says, “is our innovative designs, ease of installation, superior quality and performance, unique features, and competitive price.” ABQ