Its reference in the Periodic Table is AL, its atomic number is 13 and it’s the third most abundant element after Oxygen and Silicon. And it’s also the third most ‘abundant’ material in the UK window and door industry – and forecast to become more so across retail, new build and commercial markets.
According to the The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, by Palmer, aluminium saw 24% growth in the last year, including 26% growth in volume terms and installed value by 28% in sales of aluminium windows.
Going forward forecasts suggest it will remain one of the key drivers of growth for the UK window and door industry. It’s dominance in the bi-fold door market – accounting for 59% of market share in 2016 – is also tipped for continuing growth.
“What we have in aluminium bi-fold doors is a very happy convergence of a product type, which has really captured the imagination of the end-user and a material type, that is also seen by them as having an architectural quality and carries an aspirational appeal”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK.
“The net effect is aluminium bi-fold doors are a major growth area.”
Sliders UK, has a highly flexible aluminium bi-fold offer. This includes its established ALUK bi-fold and the Ultimate Evolution.
It’s ALUK bi-fold is available in two to seven panel configurations, is Part Q and PAS24 accredited, and features concealed running gear, heavy-duty rollers and stainless steel tracks and multiple opening options.
Maximum height and width is 2500mm X 7000mm, while maximum individual panel width is 1200m and a maximum weight 100kg, giving it a high degree of structural flexibility. U-values are as low as 1.4w/m2K, while it’s also severe weather rated BS6375 -1:2009, Water 600PA. Air 600PA and Wind pressure of 1800 PA.
It’s available in white gloss, anthracite grey matt, and semi-gloss graphite black as standard colours, while all hardware and frames are guaranteed for 10 years.
“The ALUK door typifies that architectural aesthetic aluminium delivers and which has created incredible end user appeal”, continues Mines.
“PVC-U products continue to have significant reach. The price point will be more palatable to a lot of homeowners and innovation in foiling technologies has moved the appeal of the PVC-U bi-fold but aluminium remains dominant in the bi-fold door market”, he says.
Sliders UK, which completed a an MBO earlier this year, launched the Ultimate Evolution aluminium bi-fold door last summer. It draws on innovation in hardware, combining a ultra-smooth bottom running system with impressively slim sightlines – even compared to other aluminium systems.
With a maximum sash height and width of 3000mm x 1200mm, colour-matched handles and magnetic door holders, a low threshold option and 30mm polyamide thermal break for increased thermal values, it is also fully tested to PAS 2, Part Q approved and BS6375 Part 1 Weather Tested.
This may give it end-user appeal, but it’s an innovative fully adjustable jamb option which dramatically simplifies door squaring and setting and increases tolerances, which is perhaps the biggest single innovation. An easy-adjustment system delivering up to 8mm of tolerance, making if far simpler to align the door even where apertures are out of square.
Mines continues: “The Ultimate Evolution, offered our customers something that is different again and with that the new opportunities that go with it.
“Aluminium systems in general are unforgiving, leaving little room for maneuver in installation. The Ultimate Evolution, far greater flexibility, accommodating imperfections in brick-work making it easier to set the door, cutting installation times to as little as 45-minutes.”
While PVC-U outperformed market forecasts last year, projections from Palmer going forward for PVC-U as a material type are less favourable.
Mines, however, remains sanguine about the place PVC-U bi-folds can hold in the market. “The Ultimate Aspect, built around the Eurocell system demonstrate what is being delivered in new generation PVC-U technology.”
This includes two to seven panel configuration Part Q and PAS24 – but most significantly U-values as low as 0.94Wm2/K.
Thermal performance combined with a competitive price point compared to aluminium systems, giving the Ultimate Aspect appeal and particularly so in new build markets “The slim contemporary sightlines echo those of an aluminium systems”, Mines adds.
Sliders UK has also stepped into new territory adding two new aluminium windows to its offer this autumn. The Ultimate Residential Window is manufactured in ALUK’s Optio system and is primarily aimed at the residential market. The other, its’ own offering, the Ultimate Evolution XT, which offers U-Values as low as 0.85 W/m2K giving it exceptional commercial and specification appeal.
It has also recently launched the Ultimate Rooflite, an aluminium lantern roof based on the BBA accredited UltraRoof system.
“We see some very substantial opportunities, particularly in aluminium but across our portfolio of products”, says Mines.
He continues: “We’re offering a competitively priced high quality and highly accredited product range and underpinning that with a genuine focus on customer service.
“We believe that gives us but most importantly our customers, access to a very strong market proposition across the board.”
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