Can growth in energy efficient flush fit casement windows continue?
We launched our new flush fit casement sash earlier this autumn. Ian Cocken, our Director of Sales and Marketing, explains why we’ve done it and how it’s different.
Flush fit sash windows – transforming energy efficient window and door supply
Since Residence 9 unveiled the UK’s first flush casement window in 2011, there have been a flurry of new market entrants – and with good reason. PVC-U systems have seen collective growth of 8% on the back of growing demand for traditional timber-effect jointing and flush casements (Palmer).
This is most clearly illustrated in the window market, where a 1.2% increase in the market overall to 6.82m frames, was outstripped by the increase in installed value of 5.5% to £2.38bn. Something which according to Palmer, was driven by no small part by demand for foils (up 45% since 2013) and timber-type jointing, which reached 131,000 frames – about 2% of the total in 2017.
We launched our flush fit casement sash system in September. This may be a little later than others but as they say, however, sometimes ‘good things come to those who wait’.
The advantage that that’s given us is that we’ve had time to understand the direction in which it is moving and to develop a product that is perfectly aligned to those growth trends.
The aluplast Flush Fit Casement sash
And our flush fit casement sash is nothing if not considered. Taking the sash itself in isolation, it’s been developed to offer ultra-slim sightlines with a low chamfer running out to the IGU. This has been made possible through a reduced front to back depth.
Flush sashes are about aesthetics. At a point of retail if you can offer ultra slim sightlines, you have an opportunity to pitch your product very effectively against that of your competitors.
Design features also include a choice of standard and heritage, deep bottom rail, increasing its appeal among owners of period homes.
The other immediate plus of the aluplast system is modularity. It’s been developed to integrate fully with both the established aluplast Ideal 70 and Ideal 4000 systems. This minimizes the requirement for additional stock holding, while allows aluplast fabricators and installers to offer their customers access to two distinct flush casement systems.
We launched Ideal 4000, in 2016, also launching aluskin alongside it. This exploits established and proven global leading technologies, allowing PVC-U fabricators to manufacture an aluminium-clad PVC-U window and door system. It’s USP is that it does this without investing in specialist machinery using a simple ‘click-and-fix’ system.
Roll forward to this month and aluplast has applied the same innovation to its new flush casement, which can be supplied with aluskin on the Ideal 4000 flush casement. This gives fabricators the flexibility to pitch a flush casement which to all intents and purposes fully replicates the aesthetic of an aluminium flush casement.
We see the availability of the Ideal 4000 flush casement in aluskin is a real USP for our customers. The additional stock holding is minimal, while it allows them to offer retail and commercial customers access to a flush casement which replicates the aesthetic of an aluminium flush casement almost exactly but at a greatly reduced cost.
Flush fit energy efficient aluminium windows
The market for aluminium is growing and the market for flush casements is growing. aluplast can provide fabricators with access to both for a minimal additional outlay.
According to Palmer, at the last count, aluminium saw 24% growth, including 26% growth in volume terms and installed value by 28% in sales of aluminium windows. “aluminium is very much a growth market. The launch of our flush casement on Ideal 4000 and its combination with aluskin, as a fabricator, gives you access to a new and high margin sector.
Launched alongside our new flush fit sash casement, we have also developed a new block-welding system, which in most cases can be integrated with fabricators’ existing welders. This allows them to produce an ultrafine 45°weld joint, delivering a premium finish without major capital outlay, in addition to a 90°mechanical joint.
The introduction of seamless welding has been one of the major drivers of higher margin revenues in PVC-U manufacture. That’s driven higher standards of manufacture – and to an extent, shift in end user expectation.
These are positive things for the industry as a whole but come with a price tag attached that simply isn’t accessible to a lot of fabricators.
The investment aluplast has made allows us to offer our customers the opportunity to fabricate a premium 45°weld, delivering an ultra-thin pencil-line weld, without investment in specialist machinery. That eliminates process from the manufacture of foiled products but also allows fabricators to manufacture a far better looking weld at lower cost.
This follows on from the major investment aluplast has already made in CNC foiling technology. This eliminates the time lost in traditional foiling in manual set-up and switch over, cutting it from hours to just minutes with special foils orders available in 15 working days or less.
Conversely, foiled and featuring a traditional 90°mechanical joint combined with the Ideal 70 outer frame you get a very strong match to a traditional 19thcentury timber flush casement. The aluplast flush sash is about the flexibility to offer both.