The Pella Easy-Slide Operator by Pella Corporation earned the coveted 2021 Best of IBSx Best in Show award this week. The judges considered numerous factors in their decision, but were especially impressed with Pella’s game-changing patent-pending slide mechanism, which replaces the traditional crank to open and close casement and awning windows.
The Easy-Slide Operator, which launched in January and whose functionality is as easy “as dimming the lights with a dimmer switch,” beat out Alside’s ASCEND cladding, Aeroseal’s AeroBarrier Connect software, Signature Kitchen Suite’s 36-inch Dual Fuel Pro Range with Sous Vide, Induction and Gas and Suntech-Albayrak Group’s Axis Smart Glass Bioclimatic System.
Pella, who was the first manufacturer to introduce the Fold-Away crank system back in 2000, put its new hardware through vigorous testing before bringing it to market. The ball-bearing design and Kevlar-reinforced belt went through 20,000 open and closed cycles, the equivalent of opening and closing your window once a day for 54 years. Additionally, drywall dust and debris were included in pre-market testing to simulate durability on the jobsite.
Here’s what the Best of IBSx judges had to say about this brand-new innovation:
“I think this hardware makes us think about casement operation in a newer, fresher way,” said Nigel Maynard, Editor-in-Chief of Custom Builder and PRODUCTS magazines. “The two stories here are design and ease of use, especially because the unit only needs 5 pounds of force. We have not seen a new hardware development since the Fold-Away crank, but this one changes the conversation. The functionality is awesome, and the design is very slick.”
“Pella brought innovation to a product that can affect all consumers, across all markets and demographics,” said Jeanne Conger, Principal Consultant, Home Building Industry, General Real Estate.
“When you think about how products change over time, previously, for this type of window, the only option was the crank. Nobody has really improved that function in a long while. So it’s a big step forward in technology,” said Mike Demboski, Procurement Manager at PulteGroup.
Design and durability aside, the judges were equally impressed with the products’ inclusivity.
“I think about my mom, who has accessibility issues, and for her to grasp something and turn it, it’s simply not something she could do. Whereas, if it was something where you could just put your hand in and push it through with that 5 pounds of resistance, which sounds like a very small amount…it really feels like this is a major change in how windows may operate in the future,” said Mike Demboski, Procurement Manager at PulteGroup.
When looking to reinvent the crank, Pella reached out to its customers for inspiration.
“We listened and worked carefully with our customers for feedback. We quickly discovered that home owners need hardware that is easier to use, and designers want an option that achieves a minimalist, low profile look.” said Nicolle Pikray, Public Relations and Brand Communications Manager for Pella. “What’s really great about that is that not only for the home owner, but for the builder, too. It lends itself nicely to design aesthetics. It’s small, and sleek, and you don’t have a big crank getting in the way.”
“We also know that builders want to bring innovations to their buyers. We know they want the next best and most innovative options they can provide — as well as durability,” she added.
Congratulations to Pella Corporation for winning Best in Show and Best Window and Door Product. To learn more about all of the Best of IBSx winners, visit BuildersShow.com/BestofIBSx.