Rapierstar: 30 years of raising the bar

Rapierstar is the largest specialist designer and supplier of window and door screws in the UK and Ireland.

The company started life 31 years ago at the home of founder and MD David Furness as Architectural Supplies Limited, who spotted an opportunity to challenge the market’s established players. At that time, David believed that window fasteners were too often either low grade, cheap and poor quality products, which were causing huge problems for fabricators and damaging consumer confidence in finished windows and doors, or over-engineered and phenomenally expensive.

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His vision was to bring to the market a uniquely innovative, technologically advanced and keenly priced branded range of fastener solutions, and it proved a success with the rapid development of its customer base.

After 13 years as Architectural Supplies Limited, David believed the next stage in their development was to encapsulate all the products it offered, backed by a strong customer support ethos, to be much more than ‘just a fastener supplier’. Hence, in 2005 the Rapierstar brand was launched, along with its family of trademarked product ranges, including StarPVCU window screws, StarTurn universal timber screws, StarFix masonry fixings and StarPin polymer headed pins and nails.

Today Rapierstar operates from a 100,000 sq. ft HQ and bonded distribution and technical centre near Macclesfield in Cheshire, where more than one billion individual items are held in stock at any time. By holding many months of stock, the company is able to absorb the impacts of disrupted global trade, as observed in both the pandemic and Brexit, to offer stability to customers across the UK and Ireland.

How Rapierstar is different

One of the company’s greatest assets and differentiators is its technically skilled, customer-focused team. They provide a unique specialist advice service rooted in fastener expertise with a focus on the fenestration market.

Rapierstar’s skilled and knowledgeable team supports fabricators, installers, systems companies and hardware manufacturers. By working right across the industry, they are in an excellent position to help customers achieve more, whether that’s improving the quality of their products, getting new products through tough testing regimes, overcoming technical issues or boosting productivity efficiency and health and safety in their factories.

Over three decades Rapierstar has established long term partnerships with outstanding manufacturers across the globe, which ensures it is in full control of product design, manufacture and supply, to deliver consistently high-quality fasteners to customers. This is maintained and checked by the rigorous testing of every batch of fasteners arriving at its UK HQ in its own technical centre.

Achieving technical excellence

Rapierstar works constantly to highlight the crucial role that fasteners play in the assembly and construction of every building element, including doors and windows. This is necessary because they are often taken for granted due to the fact that they are so small and – per unit – by far the lowest cost component in the finished product.

As the team has seen on numerous occasions, however, one failure such as a friction stay screw breaking and causing the casement to fall loose, can have costly consequences in terms of call-backs and reputation.

The quality and performance of the highly engineered PVCu and aluminium window systems in today’s market depends upon the weakest link in the chain – which can be the fasteners used in assembly. This is one of the reasons why the vast majority of the UK’s fenestration industry rely on Rapierstar for the correct advice in selecting the best screw for each application and consistently reliable delivery.

How have fasteners evolved in the past three decades?

Today’s window screws are vastly superior in every way versus those of the early 1990s. The plating and passivation performance of Rapierstar products helps to provide increased corrosion resistance to exceed extended guarantees and the products are far stronger, but also more forgiving.

Point technology has increased speed of insertion and, therefore, fabricator efficiency, capable of meeting the high demands of modern production. This is why leading hardware manufacturers recommend Rapierstar screws, and why the company works with all the major profile manufacturers to develop Recommended Fixing Manuals (RFMs) – these are available to all fabricators to download at www.rapierstar.com.

The next era for Rapierstar

The business is in excellent shape for the next 30 years thanks to its long term strategy of re-investing profits. This means it continuously improves the way it operates, and it is able to innovate with new products.

In the last two years Rapierstar has implemented many major upgrades behind the scenes, including cloud-based solutions, a world-class ERP system and fully integrated business management systems on a par with, if not ahead of, many multi-national businesses. The latest digital technology is at the core of everything Rapierstar does, such as the latest version of Microsoft Business Central as its business management platform, increased use of Solidworks computer aided design to develop new products and enhanced cybersecurity protection. All these provide a solid platform for the business to thrive in the digital age.

Running parallel to this has been on-going investment in its R&D programme. A number of patented new product developments are in the pipeline for different applications across the construction industry. These reflect Rapierstar’s design capabilities and offer new potential for the business in its next era alongside its position of market-leadership in the fenestration market.

Find out more at www.rapierstar.com.

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