Sliders UK has recently added the Veka Imagine to its bi-folding door range, part of a new and rapidly expanding PVC-U bi-fold offer.
“At an industry-wide level, we have seen the launch of two or three very accomplished PVC-U bi-fold door systems. These have redefined the potential of PVC-U as a material type in retail but also commercial markets”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director Sliders UK.
He continues: “As a specialist door fabricator we’re working with leading PVC-U systems companies to bring those products to market alongside established aluminium systems. The point is that the gap between aluminium and PVC-U bifold systems is closing.”
Sliders UK’s growth – it reported that it was 30 per cent up year on year Q1 2016 – has gone hand-in-hand with product development. The niche manufacturer became the first company to fabricate a Secured by Design accredited inline sliding door in 2008, adding PVC-U and aluminium bi-fold doors to its staple product range in 2009.
It followed this up in 2011 with its manufacture of the ALUK aluminium bi-folding door offer – the first aluminium bifold to be accredited with SBD status. “It’s one of the reasons why we opted to bring the Veka Imagine on board”, continues Mines.
“It can be manufactured to an SBD and PAS24:2012 standard and so there’s a natural fit with our Ultimate Range of SBD accredited aluminium and PVC-U inline sliding, bi-folding and composite door ranges.
“But it’s also a product which delivers some very strong sightlines and technical innovations and in doing it at the price-point of PVC-U, rather than aluminium, we believe that it generates distinct opportunities for installers.”
According to research agency D&G Consulting, the window industry may have so far underestimated the market potential of PVC-U as a material for bi-fold manufacture.
The authors of the UK Annual PVC Window Door & Conservatory Industry Market Report, predict that bi-fold door sales will top 30,000 per year by the end of 2016 and 40,000 per year by 2018.
‘We forecast that volumes of bi-fold doors will continue to increase in volume and by 2018 PVC bifold doors will represent 39% of the total volume of PVC sliding patio and bifold doors – this despite considerable competition from timber and aluminium products. . . [The question is] . . . can and will PVC bifold doors take volume from the other materials?’ . . . they continue.
The launch of the Veka Imagine, gives Sliders UK a second PVC-U bi-fold system in addition to its established Eurocell Ultimate Aspect PVC-U offer. With lead times of just two weeks, Mines argues, that the combined offer puts Sliders UK and as a consequence its customers, in a unique position.
He says: “We’ll leave detailed market forecasts to the experts but what’s clear is that predictions for PVC-U products are promising. What’s yet to be seen is, if they will and if so how much, market share will they take from other material types.
“From our perspective because we offer PVC-U and aluminium bi-folds, regardless of where demand comes from, we can support our customers in meeting it. From a retail sales perspective you’re keeping the door open. If aluminium is too much, you’re giving the home owner an alternative.”
The fully suited Veka Imagine system is available in 19 different panel configurations to a maximum of seven sashes, closing apertures of up to 6000mm wide and up to 2400mm height. The maximum sash width is 1000mm, while doors can be set to open inward or outward.
Featuring custom designed hardware from ERA, the PAS24:2012 accredited Veka Imagine from Sliders UK also delivers top U-values of up to 0.94W/m2k and an indicative DSER rating of A+13 .
Available in 18 foiled finishes the 70mm system is also available in a choice of beveled or sculptured sashes and beads. “This for me is another key differential in new generation bi-fold doors” continues Mines.
“The massively improved aesthetics from sculptured and beveled systems like the Ultimate Imagine, to the contemporary and flush finish of the Ultimate Aspect bi-fold combined with foils – it’s really delivered a step-change in end user appeal of PVC-U products.”
The Ultimate Imagine also features other technical benefits. Hinges are fully adjustable and again come in a choice of white or black, while adjustable locks shootbolts and bi-directional hook locks, also provide additional security and compression.
“What we’re seeing is new generation PVC-U products become more capable, deliver better aesthetics and become easier to fit”, says Mines. It’s not just the Imagine but is also evident in the Ultimate Aspect bifold.
“90 per cent of the glazed screen can be opened, the system can be manufactured in a two to seven panel configuration, multi-point locking, anti-jemmy pins, SBD and PAS24, low threshold options – it’s all there in a PVC-U door.
“It’s this innovation which is narrowing the gap between the performance of PVC-U and aluminium. The Ultimate Aspect and Ultimate Imagine doors are examples of how far PVC-U products have evolved and the aesthetic that they can deliver.
“As a specialist manufacturer I think it’s where the real value of our offer kicks in, because it gives our customers access to multiple aluminium and PVC-U systems from a single point of supply and on a single delivery.
“Predicting exactly where the market will go is difficult but the point is you always need to maximize return on each and every opportunity, which is what we’re geared up to supporting our customers in doing.”
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