In a conversation with Muzaffer Ahmed Syed Regional Manager – Firestop, fischer, he talked about the company, their products & projects, fire safety, and so on. Here are the excerpts…
Could you please tell our readers about your company and its presence?
Fischer is a globally renowned family-owned enterprise, headquartered in Waldachtal-Tumlingen, Germany. Since its inception in 1948, it has been at the forefront of innovative solutions and products across multiple industries. Upholding a tradition of innovation, accountability, and reliability, the company’s continuous improvement process, the fischer Process System, helps it stay adaptable and responsive in an era of constant change. The company’s philosophy, combined with its value-centric approach, has driven it to an impressive milestone, reaching over 1.14 billion euros in gross sales in 2022.
The fischer group operates through multiple divisions, including fischer fixing systems, fischer Automotive, fischertechnik, fischer consulting, and fischer Electronic Solutions, each making substantial contributions to their respective fields. As part of its offerings, the company provides several product lines including anchoring systems, fire protection, and support systems for the façade industry. The fire protection Division ensures enhanced occupant safety and property protection by effectively curbing the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases. These solutions, tested and certified by several third-party agencies, are known for their high quality and efficacy, making them a preferred choice worldwide. In the façade industry, Fischer’s Support Systems are a boon. They are intricately designed and constructed, providing robust and efficient solutions for complex façade installations.
Fischer’s assistance extends from the planning phase through to project completion, offering value-added services throughout the construction phases. The company’s dedication to sustainability is reflected in its products, many of which are certified in line with the guidelines provided by the Institute for Construction and the Environment (IBU). All in all, fischer stands as a beacon of innovation, quality, and commitment to both its customers and the environment, making it a reliable partner across multiple industries. The company is present globally with 50 subsidiaries including the Middle East, India, and other countries.
Could you please tell us about your products and their market?
Fischer has an extensive range of products, however in terms of relevance to the façade industry, fischer provides fixing solutions using the chemical and steel anchor ranges, Façade support systems, and Firestopping solutions for curtain walls and façades. Name some major projects where your products have been used. In terms of major projects, our products have been used in projects like Seaworld Abu Dhabi, One Zaabeel, Dubai Mall, Mall of Oman, and also in the tallest building in the World Burj Khalifa.
Could you please tell us about your manufacturing facility and capacity?
Fischer’s manufacturing facilities are widespread and strategically located across the globe to effectively meet customer demand and ensure the timely delivery of our products. Our manufacturing plants are present in countries including Germany, Argentina, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Italy, Serbia, the USA, and Vietnam among others. While the specific capacities of each facility are confidential and vary based on the product lines and market requirements they serve, our operations are robust and designed for scalability.
This is evident in our global presence and our ability to distribute our products in over 120 countries, a testament to our extensive manufacturing capacity. Our German roots are strong, and our home base in Waldachtal, in the Black Forest region, remains a crucial part of our manufacturing operations. Besides, we have facilities in Horb, Freiburg, and Denzlingen in Germany. Our production locations are more than just manufacturing hubs. They are centers of innovation, quality, and environmental responsibility.
We strive to maintain an environment-friendly production process, and our Tumlingen site’s environment management policy has been certified in line with DIN EN ISO 14001. Across all facilities, we apply the fischer Process System, incorporating our corporate values and the Japanese kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement. This ensures the efficiency of our operations, aids in waste reduction, and enhances value creation, allowing us to remain competitive while maintaining the high standards of quality associated with the fischer name. In essence, our expansive and well-equipped manufacturing facilities, coupled with our philosophy of innovation and continuous improvement, enable us to cater to the diverse and dynamic needs of our customers worldwide.
How do you keep ahead in the market competition?
Staying ahead in a competitive market requires strategic foresight, a culture of innovation, and a relentless commitment to customer service – principles that Fischer has consistently embodied. This philosophy allows us to anticipate market trends and proactively address the evolving needs of our customers. Our approach to staying competitive is two-fold: innovation and customer-centricity. fischer has a rich history of innovative solutions and product developments focusing on local requirements. Our teams across divisions, guided by the fischer Process System and our core philosophy, dedicate their efforts to continuous improvement and optimisation. This approach has allowed us to develop products, which not only meet but often exceed market standards. Our ability to continually innovate, coupled with our dedication to quality, makes our offerings highly sought after, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of the market.
Customer service is another critical element in our competitiveness. We believe that providing “High quality and relevant solutions” extends beyond our product offerings to encompass the entire customer experience. To this end, we focus on understanding our customers’ needs and challenges and aim to provide solutions that deliver real value. Our commitment to maintaining strong customer relationships, providing effective after-sales support, and offering value-added services, such as onsite training and assistance from the planning phase through to project completion, is a testament to our customer-first approach. In summary, Fischer’s unwavering commitment to innovation, quality, and customer service allows us to consistently stay ahead in the market competition. We do not rest on our laurels but strive to continuously improve and adapt, ensuring our brand remains well-recognised and respected in the industries we serve.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by your industry? How do you cope with them?
In today’s rapidly evolving market, one of the major challenges we identify in our industry is the limited knowledge and understanding of specialised solutions, for example, passive fire protection systems. This lack of awareness can potentially hinder the designing, installation, and optimal utilisation of such systems, thereby diminishing their efficacy and overall benefits.
To overcome this challenge, we have taken a proactive approach through education and information dissemination. Recognising that knowledge sharing is pivotal to overcoming this hurdle, we have offered CPD-certified seminars and technical presentations aimed at bridging the knowledge gap. These seminars are designed to provide in-depth insights into our innovative solutions, their implementation, benefits, and the role they play in safeguarding properties and lives. Our seminars are accessible to all relevant stakeholders – from architects and engineers to builders, contractors, and end-users at no cost. We believe that by equipping these individuals with the necessary knowledge, we can drive better compliance with safety standards, foster the optimal utilisation of systems like passive fire protection systems, and ultimately contribute to a safer built environment.
Furthermore, our team of professionals is readily available to assist with any queries or clarifications that may arise before, during, or after these seminars. This open line of communication allows for more personalised guidance and ensures that all participants fully grasp the subject matter at hand. At fischer, we view these challenges not as obstacles, but as opportunities for growth and improvement. Through education and engagement, we strive to elevate industry standards and contribute positively to the construction and safety industry at large. We welcome anyone interested in learning more about the relevant systems including passive fire protection systems and our other solutions to get in touch with us for these educational opportunities.
You also offer firestop solutions. Could you please talk more about it?
One of our standout solutions is our passive fire protection systems. Designed with utmost precision and care, these systems play a vital role in curbing the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases, thereby enhancing safety for both occupants and property and ensuring the compartmentation as designed is established. We are happy to mention that our firestop solutions have been rigorously tested and certified by well-regarded third-party organisations, including UL, Intertek, and FM, attesting to their effectiveness and reliability. At fischer, we believe in offering comprehensive support to our clients. Thus, beyond merely providing firestop solutions, we extend our assistance right from the planning and design stages, through to onsite training.
We believe in delivering value-added services encompassing all phases of construction, ensuring smooth and successful project completion. In terms of the façade industry, we have an effective solution designed for glass curtain walls and other types of façades. To sum up, our firestop solutions form a critical part of our product range, embodying our dedication to quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. We are continuously striving to innovate and enhance these solutions, and remain committed to setting higher standards in fire safety across the industry.
What is your take on fire safety considerations in planning any building?
Fire safety is of paramount importance in the planning and construction of any building. The fire risk is very real as we see usually in the newspapers every now and then about different incidents, I wouldn’t talk about statistics but we perceive this risk in our day-to-day lives. A proper design and implementation of fire life safety based on a balanced approach with both active and passive systems is crucial. It plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of occupants and reducing the risk of property damage.
Both passive and active fire protection systems contribute to overall fire safety, but they perform different, yet complementary roles. Active fire protection systems, such as sprinklers, alarms, and smoke detectors, are designed to respond when a fire occurs. They require some kind of action, whether it is manual or automatic, to initiate their operation. These systems play a vital role in alerting occupants and suppressing the fire. However, my particular focus is on passive fire protection systems, which are built into the very fabric of a building.
These systems, such as fire-resistant doors, walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as firestop materials, are designed to compartmentalise a building, thus slowing or preventing the spread of fire and smoke, and maintaining the building’s structural integrity during a fire. This buys valuable time for occupants to evacuate and for emergency services to respond.
Any system used for “fire Safety” should be tested and certified to ensure performance, after all, we are talking about human life safety…!
How do you ensure the durability and long-term effectiveness of your products?
Our products are tested rigorously for long-term use both in-house and also externally. We have products like FIS EM with “ETA” giving up to a 100-year life expectancy…! Similarly, the other products are designed for use based on the environment they will be used to ensure cost-effective products. Further, our production is under “Factory Process Control” and audit both internally as well are third-party QMS, ensuring consistent and high-quality products.