Aluminium market entry

Manufactured using standard PVCU machinery but offering access to aluminium markets, the Aluplast Lift-and-Slide has also been designed to deliver at point of retail, according to Alan Hall, managing director at Sekura Window Centre.

Aluminium is a growth market. The industry has seen an explosion in demand for aluminium bifolds, aluminium inline sliding doors, and lift-and-slide products also enjoying sustained growth.

So where does that leave you as trade PVCU supplier if you don’t have capacity to manufacture aluminium inhouse?

We looked at aluminium manufacture in around 2011. We were almost at the point of setting up and then the market dipped and we have bought-in ever since.

Growth means that we now don’t have the physical space to put in an aluminium line, so the prospect of manufacturing a product that has the potential to go head-to-head with aluminium bifold doors is a good one for us.

This analysis underpinned our decision to add the Aluplast Lift-and-Slide to our offer. It has a Passivhaus equivalent standard of performance, alongside Aluplast’s optional aluminium external cladding system, aluskin.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a strong market here for aluminium bifolds but they’re not always right for every job.

The first issue is cost – for a lot of people they’re just too much money. The second factor is our location. We’re in the centre of a big city but you drive 10 minutes north or south and its rural, or east and you’re on the coast.

In rural areas, our customers are supplying a lot of product into holiday lets as estates sell-off cottages or lease them out, where people want something that’s reliable, tough and which doesn’t take a lot of maintenance but still delivers appeal.

On the coast higher winds mean that architects and homeowners will generally specify sliding doors because they’re more practical and offer better weather sealing. These are all limits on the market for bifolds.

We see the Aluplast Lift-and-Slide as sitting between a standard sliding door and more expensive aluminium bifold on price but also appealing to those people who want a very reliable low maintenance product or who want something more than a sliding door.

Capable of spanning openings of 6.5m x 2.8m with just two sashes, the Aluplast Lift-and-Slide door offers a new low-sightline option on the fixed sash of just 32mm, maximising the glazed area of the door.

The Aluplast Lift-and-Slide door also features an option dual slide option, which allows the panels to slide across each other delivering even greater design flexibility.

The scale you can make it, combined with minimal uprights, means that it’s really well suited to coastal properties, where people are looking for uninterrupted views.

Sashes are mounted on an easy-lift mechanism that elevates when opened and lowers on to the track when closed. So, a fully closed door rests over lower weather seals improving the door’s weather tightness, thermal and acoustic insulation.

These are key selling points for our trade customers, as are low U-values at 0.65W/m2K.

You can’t get close to what they’re looking for with aluminium products. The Aluplast Lift-and-Slide door allows you to go at that new build market.

We can pitch it against aluminium bifolding doors or aluminium inline sliding doors at a more competitive price point and deliver enhanced U-values.

We can do that using our standard equipment and without interrupting our core manufacture because profile is cut and prepped in exactly the same way as everything else we make because it’s still fundamentally a PVCU product.

Supplied in a standard white PVCU finish, the Aluplast Lift-and-Slide also builds in scale on finish. This includes a choice of 27 ex-stock and special colours on lead times of 15 working days or fewer, inclusive of travel time from the continent plus Woodec, Aluplast’s next generation foil. Unveiled at the beginning of this year this replicates the natural appearance of timber while combining it with the through-life advantages of PVCU.

There are different options you can pitch it at, which allows you to play around with price point. For example, pitched against aluminium you might want aluskin but if the end user can’t afford it, you can foil it.

The shape of the profile means that foiled in anthracite grey, you have to go very close up to see that it’s not aluminium.

It gives us reach into a market that we couldn’t access before, and our customers access to a highly energy efficient and flexible door, with a lot of end-user appeal.