Are aluminium windows and doors difficult to fabricate? Many in our industry think so, and shy away from a hugely lucrative market as a result. But Kevin Warner, Sales Director at exlabesa Building Systems UK, thinks differently – and can point to his company’s components range, 75% of which is compatible with multiple products, to prove it.
In glass and glazing, aluminium has the unfair reputation of being a tricky material for fabricators to work with.
Where PVCu products are exceptionally quick and easy to assemble, the story goes, their aluminium equivalents are much more time-consuming, involving many different components – especially on much sought-after aluminium bi-folds and sliding patio doors.
But while that might’ve been the case at one stage, today it’s a very outdated view.
The best aluminium systems companies have invested an enormous amount of time, energy and ingenuity into creating products that buck that trend – products that deliver the same high-end aesthetics, minimalistic sightlines and performance people have come to expect, without the long and difficult fabrication process.
Cutting down on components
One of the most common bugbears for fabricators who’ve considered supplying aluminium products but don’t, or offer some but don’t feel comfortable making it a more major part of their range, is the sheer number of components required.
Ali products, particularly bi-folds and patio doors, tend to be made of more parts than PVCu ones – and traditionally, each different model of window or door has required its own specialist components.
If, like most fabricators, you offer a wide variety of different systems, that means your life quickly becomes very complicated, and your storage area fills up fast.
At exlabesa Building Systems, we know this – and that’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure our products are different.
Today, we have ten core product lines – the Xlafold bi-fold, the Xlaslide patio door, the KLS sliding door, the KC51 casement window, the KC75 casement window, the KD51 residential door, the KT51 tilt and turn window, the KS59 steel replacement window system, and the KTF and KSF shopfront systems.
Naturally, you’d assume that assembling those ten products would require a vast array of different components.
However, in this case, you’d be wrong. Because 75% of the components exlabesa Building Systems supply are compatible with multiple products.
One model of chevron, for instance, can be used on nine of those products. One type of transom can be used on six products, as can one sort of midrail and a selection of glazing beads.
The same cleats and punch tools can be used across eight different systems – and our gaskets and cills are universal, compatible with all ten.
What difference does that make to you as a fabricator?
Today, all kinds of different manufacturers are striving to be as lean and efficient as possible. By minimising complexity, they can make themselves much more productive and profitable.
Multipurpose or even universal components make fabricating products faster – you don’t have to go hunting for that specific coupler or gasket to complete assembly, you can use the same ones that you use to make several different systems.
It also lets you cut down the area you have to allocate for storage.
Storage is obviously extremely important – but in a factory, it’s dead space. It’s much better to be able to use as much of the site as possible for productive activity – and the fewer boxes of components you have to store, the more room you have to make windows and doors.