In front of the curve
Over the last 30 years Force 8 says it has led the way in profile bending, and claims that, ‘to this day’, none of its competitors can match its seamless one-piece bend.
By ‘one-piece’, Force 8 means a single length of profile, which can be up to 6m in length without cuts and welds.
According to Force 8, most companies produce their bends in sections using a hot air system, and then weld them together. In the case of an arched door frame, a short length of profile would be curved, and then the tails / frame welded to it.
This is said to create weak spots throughout the frame, and be less aesthetically appealing, particularly with foiled wood grained finishes.
“When we first looked at profile bending as a business opportunity, we wanted to be the best,” commented Lisa Mottershead, operations director of Force 8. “Developing the one-piece bend was not an easy option, and took quite a bit of investment, which is probably why even today, none of our competitors have attempted anything similar.”
Force 8 uses a hot oil system to soften the full length of profile before introducing it to the formers which create the curve. This system is said to be more complicated, but also requires a lot more space, so Force 8 has a separate unit from its main factory which is just dedicated to the bending process.
“It makes sense that an unbroken system retains its strength, so the only time we have a weld on a profile bend is on a complete circular window or a segment,” explained Lisa.
When bending profile for French doors, all the arched door sashes are fully reinforced with curved steel reinforcement right through the arched sections (which is important regarding security) and is also unique to Force 8. Coupled with the seamless system, this enables Force 8 to offer a stronger and better-looking finish.
Lisa recalls that the seamless bending process was originally very time consuming, as the profile bend was carried out first using hardboard or MDF templates. The measurements were then used to cut the rest of the profile to complete the frame.
However, after significant investment in new machines and software the new system is so accurate that the profile can be cut at the same time as the bending process is taking place.
This eliminates the need to check the fitting, therefore cutting the production time in half. Once the process is complete, the components are fitted together with a near perfect match with a quality that is ‘second to none’. “It also means we can bypass the need for the old wooden templates so our trade customers can e-mail us the technical details, which in turn speeds up the ordering process,” continued Lisa.
The seamless system has allowed Force 8 to create beautiful, arched wood grained Georgian sash frames, complete with a sash horn, which is milled beforehand, and the length is calculated by the radius, including any shrinkage for a perfect alignment. To the company’s knowledge, there is no other company in the UK who can create an arched sash horn to such a high accuracy or match the seamless finish.
Even with the current economic situation, Force 8 is reporting strong demand for home improvements, including for bespoke products such as special shape windows and frames. Alongside the profile bending, Force 8 manufactures an extensive range of composite doors, enabling it to not only get a perfect fit on arched doors, but also thanks to an in-house paint facility, produce a perfect colour match between door and frame.
“The investment in technology is just part of the of the story,” concluded Lisa. “All this is backed by over 30 years’ experience from an established family run business, which after our EOT (Employees Owned Trust), is an even bigger family now.
“Within that time Force 8 has been listening and meeting the needs of both the commercial and the residential sector.
“We will continue to innovate and push the envelope as we believe in evolution. After all if you don’t evolve, you become extinct.”