The advantages of being agile

Chris Byers, managing director at Extrudaseal, says being agile was key to its success in 2020, both in lockdown and with the launch of its new Premium product range.

This year we have had to prove our credentials as an agile UK manufacturer. During lockdown we kept the factory open, albeit with a smaller team, to make a special seal used in the manufacture of perspex screens to protect supermarket cashiers.

We had to move fast as demand for the screens went from nothing to thousands within a matter of days. Speed was the essence of this contract, and we had to get started straight away and supply the screen manufacturers almost immediately.

We are pleased that we were able to play a part in keeping the country safe. To date we have produced more than half-a-million metres of the seal, and we continue to supply seals to the screen manufacturers.

Since coming back fully from lockdown, we’ve been busy with the launch of our new Premium product range, anti-stretch gaskets used in the fabrication of aluminium doors. We developed the range after a fabricator told us he was struggling with bubble gaskets stretching when making bifold doors in the factory.

Keen to help out, we created new products to include the new anti-stretch technology, not only for this customer, but other aluminium window and door fabricators too.

While we wanted to create gasket that would stay put lengthways, we also needed to maintain its flexibility in other dimensions. To combat this, we have added a fibre in the centre of the gasket that eliminates lateral stretching.

Before bringing the new Premium gasket to market, we tried and tested it with our customer. It was important that we got it right, and it resolved the issue in manufacturing. The customer is really pleased with the results and told us it’s much more stable and makes it easier for the team in the factory.

Part of the reason we can be so agile is that we manufacture in the UK. There are no time differences or shipping delays; we are literally upstairs from the factory floor. We believe that there will now be even bigger benefits in buying goods manufactured in the UK, especially as Brexit rolls out.

Fabricators often ask us to help with specialist products and we create bespoke extrusions for them. Being such an agile business means we can make things to order, develop products and create options for companies looking for ways to stand out from competitors. It could be anything from resolving a production issue or adding a new colour for seals and gaskets.

Matching the colour of the gasket to the frame colour creates a really smart appearance. Architects often want matching gaskets for commercial projects to give them a more corporate feel, especially when the frames are based on company brand colours. Colour matching can make a difference on domestic installations as well; colour-matched gaskets on anthracite grey bifold and sliding doors give a stunning finish.

We know that seals and gaskets are a small component in the manufacture of windows and doors, but they are very important, not just to the performance but to the aesthetics as well. We have years of experience and understand what fabricators and installers need.

Another advantage of being an agile business is that we can work closely with our customers through the product development stages to deliver exactly what they want.

Extrudaseal will be on Stand B16 at FIT Show 2021 with the Premium range so visitors to the show can see the new products.