Aluplast talks to its longstanding fabricator Rapidframe about differentiation and its green credentials.
Its money that makes the world go round.
Moral messaging on sustainability has been far less influential than the opportunity to make money from it in driving a shift in commercial behaviour. But now with product innovation and end-user awareness neatly aligned, sustainability is paying its own way.
A growing number of installers, have tuned in to the potentially significant market opportunities generated by a product offering that ‘pricks’ the consumer’s conscience. ‘Green’ has come of age.
Rapid Frame, became an early adopter of aluplast’s green offering, the ecotech Ideal 70 system in 2010. Now manufacturing approaching 700 frames per week, it saw growth of 17 per cent in the last financial year.
Its Operations Director, Andy Young, argues that the system has been instrumental in giving Rapid Frame customers, a point of differentiation. “The end user sees differentiation in it. It’s not about our brand, or for that matter aluplast, it’s about customers buying from us being able to offer the end user something tangibly different.”
ecotech 70 is aluplast’s calcium organic stabilised, ‘green’ offer. Manufactured by it specifically for the UK market, the ecotech 70, like the Ideal 70, is a fully-sculptured five chamber system.
It features an optimum 40mm flush triple-glazed beading option, which contributes to up to a WER A++ rating. Fully integrated hardware and reinforcement, also make it a proven Part Q, PAS24:2012 and Secured by Design system but its USP is its recycled content – uniquely hidden away within its core.
Andy reaches for a profile sample, ‘we’ve now just added this’ he says, pointing to protective tape. Alongside Formula One Range – Rapid Frame’s own-product branding – is ‘ecotech 70’. “aluplast have just done this for us”, he continues.
“We have been manufacturing ecotech 70 from day one because of the recycled content core and because it’s another point of differentiation for our customers.
“Once installers see it, get how to sell it, it works really well because it’s exactly what homeowners want – an energy efficient window with an immaculate surface finish and really strong green credentials.”
So does this represent a coming of age for not only systems with strong environmental credentials but also for an industry, areas of which have been comparatively slow to exploit the sales platforms provided by them?
“There’s been this perception in the industry that you don’t get the quality in recycled profiles when this is a higher quality system than anything else we have manufactured”, continues Andy.
“The surface finish is to a really high standard – the system is really stable and structurally sound. So you’re getting the quality, you’re getting the structural integrity but also a green footprint which provides three points of differentiation at point of sale.
“As an indication of how good it is, we can groove and knife it even when it’s cold and it doesn’t cause any damage to the profile. Previous systems we have manufactured we would have had to heat it up because it would have been too brittle.”
D&G Consulting suggests that colour, will be a “key battleground” through to 2018, with systems companies currently creaking under the pressure of fabricator (and ultimately) end user demand for shorter lead times on foils.
Offering bespoke foils within 15 working days or less, aluplast has also developed a diverse colour palette. This includes different textured options, something which, given forecasts for growth in colour overall and specific demand for smooth-grey aluminium type finishes, will also have immediate appeal with fabricators.
Andy concluded: “We have a good product offer – it’s based around a strong system, with good hardware and with strong points of differentiation in branding and in environmental messaging. That’s a good foundation for what we expect to be sustained growth going forward.”