Handles: the user interface of your windows

The manufacturer's last consideration

From the manufacturer’s point of view, fitting the handle is usually the last step in the window manufacturing process. In fact, it might not even be done at the factory: the handle might be fitted on site, after the window has been installed in the building.

That means within the industry, we are seeing the handle from a completely different viewpoint. Most window manufacturers are proud of their windows: they will tell you about the materials used for the frames and glazing, the security, thermal characteristics etc. The chances are, the handle will be mentioned last – if it gets mentioned at all.

Your customer's first point of focus

But what about the customer’s viewpoint? When the end user operates the window, where is their attention focused first? On the handle.

You could say that the handle is the user interface of your window. It is like the dashboard and controls of a car, or the operating system of a smartphone or tablet.

Manufacturers who take the time to get their user interface right in terms of appeal, ease of use and functionality usually find their products are the most successful.

How does it make people feel?

Think about how people appraise the user interface of a car. They comment on the look and quality of the interior, how clearly laid out controls are, the response of the steering. Ultimately, it is about emotion: how it makes them feel.

It doesn’t matter how reliable or economical the engine is, how much space is in the boot or how good the car looks. Get the user interface wrong and the manufacturer has made it much harder to get a sale and create a truly satisfied customer who will stay loyal.

It's the same with every product

It is the same with every product. People choose their smartphone because the user interface works for them. They may prefer to type on screen, or to have a physical keyboard. They may find one operating system more attractive and easier to use than others. Steve Jobs was obsessed with getting the user interface right. Manufacturers who have paid less attention to this area haven’t usually sold as many phones and tablets as Apple.

So what can Roto offer you to enhance the user interface of your window?

Designed with the user in mind

For Tilt&Turn windows and balcony doors, there are four distinctive collections within the Roto handle family. Each has its own style, and all of them have been designed with the end user in mind, paying attention to the look, feel and functionality.

As you’d expect, Roto window handles are designed to comply with all relevant European standards for quality, security and safety. They are made from aluminium rather than die-cast materials, and they are available in a range of finishes and locking options.

More than a means of opening

At Roto we see a handle as more than a means of opening and closing. It is also an aesthetic feature and an enhancement to the security and usefulness of the window.

An important security consideration is preventing the handle from moving if the window is manipulated from outside. For example, an attack on a window frame may make part of the hardware accessible. If the intruder is able to move the hardware mechanism, it might be possible to disengage the locking points and open the window.

Three ways to secure a handle from outside

A handle with a locking mechanism prevents this. Roto offers three different ways to secure a handle.

There is the traditional pushbutton locking option. The handle cannot be moved until the button is pressed. This can work well in many situations. However, you might not want a pushbutton – perhaps for aesthetic reasons.

In this case, the Roto Secustik® option is worth considering. Handles with this function give “invisible protection” against outside manipulation. This is achieved by a specially-designed clutch mechanism. The handle has no visible button or lock. Any person inside the building can operate it, but movement via the hardware mechanism is blocked.

Restricting who can open the window

There may be times when you want to lock the handle completely, or perhaps restrict who is able to open the window. A key locking mechanism is ideal for this. Standard Roto handles with key locking cylinders resist a torque of 40 Nm. However, higher security versions are also available. These have been tested to resist a turning force of 100 Nm.

There is also another, very useful variation on the standard key-locking handle. It enables you to transform a Tilt&Turn window into a Tilt-Only unit when required. This is especially important for child safety, or indeed for protecting hotel guests.

Child safety

The tilt-first lockable version of a handle works in conjunction with a tilt-first hardware system. It looks like any other key-locking handle. The first 90 degrees of movement is available to all users – allowing them to tilt the window and ventilate the room. However, only key holders are able to move the handle to the 180 degree ‘turn’ position and open the window fully.

In the home, parents can retain the key, allowing children to tilt the window but never open it far enough to create a safety risk. In a hotel, the key can be held by maintenance staff. Guests can ventilate their rooms but not open the window in ‘turn’ mode.

Four distinct styles

Those are the functions. How about the styles? Let’s have a look at those four different designs.

RotoLine is the classic Roto handle. With a straightforward design featuring clear lines, this has been a core product for Roto and a popular choice among customers for many years now. The handles are also available in left and right-hand cranked versions for use on Open-Out window designs.

RotoSwing is the modern handle, designed to bring an extra bit of design flair into the contemporary home or office. RotoSwing handles are available with the same security and functionality options as the rest of the range, and are just as easy to operate. Their distinctive feature though is that curved shape.


The new addition – RotoSamba

Roto Samba is the latest addition to the family. Marketed as “the classic modern handle”, it is designed to strike a perfect balance between traditional and modern aesthetics.

Samba fits in with the widest range of ages and styles of buildings. It is fresh enough to be seen in the most modern interiors, and you could also put a Samba handle into any home made in the last few decades and it would not look out of place.

Ergonomics have been a strong consideration here. When you grip the RotoSamba handle, you’ll notice that care has been taken to accommodate your index finger in the most comfortable way. It gives that feeling and assurance of attention to detail.

A full range of finishes

As with the other handles, RotoSamba is available in pushbutton, key-locking and tilt-first locking options, and in a range of anodised and powder-coated finishes:

Silver, anodised
Brass matt, anodised
Titanium-matt, anodised
Bronze, anodised
RAL 9016 Traffic-white
RAL 8019 Grey-brown

The FreeStyle option

For those applications where the RotoLine, RotoSwing and RotoSamba handles are not suitable, there is another option.

RotoFreestyle is the name for the range of special handles suitable for all other opening types. This includes flush-fitting, flip-up handles  for sliding window and door systems where sashes overlap, and cranked handles for Open-Out windows on which a conventional handle would clash against the frame.

If you are making sliding doors using PatioLife Lift&Slide, the Roto Inline systems, or if you are using Open-Out systems such as Roto TSH, Roto SSL or Roto X-Drive Operator, then it is worth looking at how Roto Freestyle handles can help you provide the best user interface.

Try our Handle Configurator

In the meantime, which handle design would be best for your customers: RotoLine, RotoSwing, or RotoSamba? What do the various functions look like in the different colours?

Now you don’t have to guess, because you can quickly see on screen by looking at our Handle Configurator. To view it, click here.

For more information on the Roto handle range, click the links in this article or go here.

Written byPhil Smith
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