Sliders UK added Duraflex’s new bi-folding door to its rapidly expanding range last month.
Sliders UK’s exponential expansion of its product offering has continued at pace. With three new product launches already under its belt this year alone, the door specialist added a fourth – Duraflex’s new bi-fold door to its offer this autumn.
“If you’re manufacturing a wide range of products, windows, doors, roofline – you perhaps don’t need quite the same level of investment but when you’re a specialist, it’s absolutely critical that you remain at the leading edge of technology and service”, says Steve Mines, Sales and Marketing Director Sliders UK.
“That’s what’s driven our investment. We see our growth coming from that of our customers, so if we identify an opportunity which we believe will give them a little more reach or a new platform in what remains a competitive market, we’re committed to pursuing it.”
This is a key point. Mines lays emphasis on the fact that Sliders UK’s market development strategy is built around the growth of its existing customer base, not necessarily the acquisition of new business.
“Don’t get me wrong – if the right customers come along we’d be delighted to work with them but as a business we’re now relatively mature, we have a good customer base and a good order book.
“We’re much more focused on growing our market through our existing customers. That drives a definite shift in thinking. As a business it’s made us look at the fundamental customer benefit of what we do, what determines – and still limits – our growth and that of our customers.”
Sliders UK’s development of its bi-folding door range and the addition of the new Duraflex bi-fold is a case in point. Although it has an established pedigree as a manufacturer of aluminium systems, it has also built a portfolio of PVC-U bi-folds.
“There are a couple of factors that have driven our thinking”, continues Mines. “The first is that when we started out, PVC-U bi-fold doors in general, couldn’t manufacture the aesthetics and architectural merit of aluminium systems.
“New generation PVC-U bi-folds have now changed and offer a far higher level of performance. The Aspect from Eurocell, the Imagine from Veka – both of which we already fabricate – and now Duraflex’s new offering, give aluminium systems a run for their money.
“And this really is the second point. If you’re looking at the limits on bi-fold market growth, it’s product affordability not end-user aspiration, which puts a ceiling on market potential – PVC-U bi-folds lift it.”
PAS24:2012 and Part Q compliant, the new Duraflex bi-fold is fully integrated with the systems company’s Diamond suite, featuring bevelled and chamfered options.
With suited hardware, 13 opening and closing combinations, three low threshold options and featuring Duraflex’s Q-lon, low line gasket, the system also achieves a DER ‘A’ rating and u-values as low as 1.1Wm2/K.
Colour options include a complete range of the latest solid and wood grain foils, as well as further aesthetic appeal including grey both sides on grey substrate; woodgrain on both sides, on brown, or tan substrate.
“Sightlines on the Duraflex door are great – it’s such a transformation from where PVC-U bi-fold doors were”, continues Mines.
“Thermal performance over aluminium systems is another major advantager. At 1.1Wm2/K, in common with the Eurocell Aspect and Veka Imagine, the Duraflex bi-fold delivers a level of performance out of reach of aluminium systems.
“The aesthetics and high end architectural quality delivered by aluminium systems mean that they are always going to be an important part of your portfolio as an installer but new generation PVC-U products give a different area of reach.”
So what of forecasts for the bi-fold sector? Well although fortunes for the window industry as a whole may be mixed, it remains tipped for continuing growth.
Published in October, Palmer’s new market research report, The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, argues that it will see growth on current figures of 44 per cent through to 2020 and although still dominated by aluminium, PVC-U will see growing volume.
In addition to last month’s launch of the Duraflex bi-fold, Sliders UK had already significantly expanded its PVC-U product offer. This includes the launch of the Premiline Pro inline Sliding Door from Kömmerling, with its PAS24:2012 Part Q and Part M, accredited patented interlock shootbolt system in January.
Sliders UK then brought the Imagine from Veka – on board in the early summer and its new Ultimate Evolution aluminium fully adjustable jamb system at the start of the autumn.
“We have added products which we see as adding opportunities for the installer. The PremiLine Pro is a very strong sliding door proposition, particularly in the commercial sector” says Mines.
“The Veka Imagine and Duraflex Bi-fold, each offer something slightly different and with the Ultimate Aspect give us and our customers reach into a wider bi-fold door market. The Ultimate Evolution compliments our ALUK offer.
“For us it’s been about covering the market from a single point of supply. Our customers aren’t tied into systems but can also access a wide spectrum of products from a single point of supply.”
In addition to the expansion of its range, the door specialist is also in the process of delivering a 10,000 sq ft addition to its six-acre state of the art manufacturing centre.
“This year has been about laying down the foundations – literally but also in terms of our product portfolio for growth, ours but also that of our customers by adding to our range and investing in our infrastructure. It comes down to that same basic analysis of customer benefit – what can we do to support their success because that’s what delivers our growth?”, concludes Mines.
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