Superlintels - history
The Superlintel range of steel lintels, bespoke steel lintels and special steel lintels was created in the early 1980s to set new standards of strength and durability.
Unlike other products at the time, Superlintels were in excess of industry standards. They were manufactured from thicker steel plate - a minimum 4mm. They were post-galvanised with a thicker zinc coating- a minimum 2000 gsm (including both sides) which became known as the Ultra-Galv™ 2000 galvanising process.
The reason Jones of Oswestry adopted this exacting high specification was simple. Based on scientific data on the performance of galvanised steel, it better equipped the lintel for its long term function as a non-maintainable structural component.
The science showed that thicker steel assured longer structural integrity and helped the formation of the Superlintel’s thicker zinc finish for even longer life and greater durability.
The company invested time and money to inform specifiers about the benefits of Superlintels and to convert the industry to this ‘ahead of it’s time’ new standards.
The Jones of Oswestry Technical Manual in its familiar burgundy binder became an industry yardstick to lintel specification. Jones’ highly respected architectural ‘Review” magazine was mailed to thousands of specifiers via a painstakingly maintained database. It discussed topical specifying and technical isssues, and featured bespoke lintel projects in photographic articles and the acclaimed technical drawings of the centre pages.
As well as pushing boundaries with its rigorous product specification, the company also distinguished itself by providing outstanding technical support and design services. The Fast-Fax service, which delivered quick design solutions to specifying problems, typified the special relationship Jones developed with architects and engineers.
Original Life Expectancy Chart
Jones of Oswestry backed its claims about Superlintel performance with an unprecendented array of test certification assuring both the thickness and quality of steel plate and Ultra-Galv™ zinc coating.
Jones of Oswestry was so confident about Superlintel longevity that it published a Steel Life Expectancy Chart based on data about the ‘weathering’ perfomance of zinc from the Zinc Development Association. The chart showed the comparative potential life expectancy of Ultra-Galv™ 2000 againset other galvanising specifications commonly used in the industry. Ultra-Galv’s 2000gsm coating was shown to provide a 100 year service life, more than double the life expectancy of the 920gsm minimum coating required by the galvanising standard BS729.
The chart featured in a milestone publication of the early 90s called ‘The Ultra-Galv™ Story’. It also spoke about the environmental benefits of the long term corrosion protection of structural steel in conserving valuable raw materials. The message was clear - Ultra-Galv™ 2000 assured a longer, more economical lintel service life and a safegaurd against the costly and potentially catastrophic risk of premature failure.
Jones stood alone in its commitment to exceeding the minimum requirements of industry standards and for many was considered a niche manufacturer with a niche product, but the company’s long term vision was that its demanding high specification for the Superlintel range would rise above its niche appeal. It would inevitably become the lintel standard of the future for the sake of construction quality and, although the term was not coined at the time, sustainability.
Superlintel has come of age
The new Millennium has ushered many changes in industry standards with an overriding emphasis on product durability and sustainability.
Product protection is now a driving force behind changes to standards affecting steel lintels, bespoke steel lintels and special steel lintels, namely BS 7543 (construction life span) and BS EN 845 (product durability). They place a greater onus on the designer to evaluate and gather assurances on product performance in relation to climatic, atmospheric and other product ‘weathering’ factors and continuing the Jones responsiblity to the specifier by advancing the development of superior coatings to guarantee the specifier meets all the new compliances. The specification of steel lintels, bespoke steel lintels and special steel lintels made of thicker steel with thicker protective coatings provides the answer. Finally, the industry has come round to the Jones of Oswestry’s way of thinking - at last!!