Plastic masters of transformation
Glass windows have continually evolved since their invention around 2,000 years ago. Today, almost anything is possible in window construction, from active room ventilation to intelligent glass that automatically adapts to the light conditions. No matter what their functions, however, windows have always remained statements about design. In addition to window profiles made of wood, aluminium or combinations of the two, window profiles made of PVC plastic have established themselves as versatile all-rounders. Thanks to pioneering surface coatings, they can be given any desired appearance or feel.
High-performance profile films „made in Germany”
Standard white has long since ceased to dominate when it comes to PVC window profiles, a development that is due to highly specialised film manufacturers such as Continental. The company produces a wide variety of synthetic coatings for windows and door profiles under the skai brand in Weißbach, Württemberg. Its portfolio includes realistic aluminium looks as well as deceptively real wood structures. And all its products have huge advantages compared to the original materials.
Currently in trend: matte aluminium and natural wood structures
As a leading surface specialist, Continental is never far away when it comes to the latest trends.
Rainer Irouschek, head of the Exterior product area, says: Matte is a modern look for windows, front doors or garage doors and façade elements. An industrially inspired loft look with powder-coated aluminium in matte grey or anthracite shades as deep as jet black are hugely popular when it comes to the development of urban districts. In housing construction, this technical look is also often combined with warm wood tones on the interior.
Virtually indistinguishable from the original
Mr Irouschek is certain that Continental has earned this leading role it claims to occupy: Our designs are state-of-the-art. We work in close collaboration with system providers and window builders, as well as with architects, furnishers and designers.
Continental has perfected this popular matte look with two new product lines: in 2020, the company launched skai mattex, the most matte coating for plastic profiles currently available. The surface structure in colours from jet black through anthracite grey to white corresponds exactly to the powder-coated aluminium look.
But Continental is also ahead of the competition with wood decor, as Mr Irouschek explains: Our current designs no longer have much to do with the wood imitations of years gone by. Surface in our latest skai woodec product line practically impossible to distinguish from real wood unless for lay persons. Here, too, the refined matte coating is an important factor in making it look even more real. Scandinavian wood decor is currently popular among manufacturers of profiles and end customers.
Easy to clean, durable and heat resistant
For surface expert Rainer Irouschek, the coated PVC window profile is also superior in terms of performance features: Profiles coated with our films remain dimensionally stable, weatherproof, maintenance-free, durable, and, at the same time, extremely cost-effective.
To achieve this, Continental has further improved the resistance capability of its films: skai mattex and skai woodec window profile films have a water-repellent and chemical-resistant polyvinylidene fluoride layer (PVDF). This makes them particularly easy-to-clean and they remain in top form even after years of extreme weathering. Patented cool-colours technology is standard for all skai window profile films: Special pigments reflect the near-infrared radiation of the sun, and the window remains cool and dimensionally stable.
Ready for recycling too
Modern plastic windows can last for up to 40 years without any particular maintenance. And afterwards? They can easily be recycled and the PVC obtained then used for new window profiles.
Continental is also committed to this, as Rainer Irouschek explains: We have been premium partners in the Rewindo recycling network since 2020. Our films can be easily recycled along with the PVC profile at the end of their service life. The granulate thus obtained is reprocessed into new profiles without any loss of quality. As a result, modern high-tech plastic windows made from recycled material will soon be in everyday use.
This is good news for the booming construction industry, where sustainability is becoming increasingly important.
Continental is a leading designer of surfaces for a wide range of applications. The surface specialist supplies films and coated substrates to the automotive, furniture, construction, and DIY industries, as well as providing elastomer-coated solutions to the printing industry. For building elements, the specialists manufacture and market high-quality exterior films for window profiles, front doors, garage doors and façades that combine design and function. They are also partners to planners and architects. With a total of around 5,400 employees, Continental produces its surfaces at 16 locations worldwide in China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Spain, and the USA, and markets them through 25 sales locations.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company provides safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machinery, traffic and transportation. In 2020, Continental generated sales of €37.7 billion and currently employs more than 235,000 employees in 58 countries and markets. In 2021, the company is celebrating its 150th anniversary.