aludec – the next generation aluminium foil
aluplast’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Ian Cocken, discusses the benefits of the next generation aludec foil
Q: Demand for colours and finish is greater than ever, but can foils really offer the same high end appeal as aluminium?
IC: The short answer to that is yes! It’s certainly true that for more exclusive residential applications, where cost is not an issue, customers are more likely to be committed to specifying aluminium. This is due in part to the pre-conception that aluminium is the only material that can deliver the contemporary aesthetics and the sizes that are associated with premium, design led projects. That’s understandable, there are some really attractive aluminium systems on the market that are very well designed and come with really slim sightlines.
But foiling technology has now developed to the point where those pre-conceptions can be challenged, especially in the mainstream aluminium sector. We offer a wide range of foils at aluplast, including a smooth grey aluminium style finish that can be combined with our grey substrate option, but aludec is on another level entirely.
It has been designed to accurately replicate the look and feel of aluminium, including textured powder coated options. It comes in seven finishes, aludec anthracite grey; jet black; aludec DB703; basalt grey; umbra grey; window grey and aludec traffic white.
It’s so good that I’m willing to bet that you could hold up any of these options to real aluminium and most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Q: How does aludec compare to other foils on the market?
IC: aludec is the end result of a huge amount of R&D into foiling technology by aluplast. That means it looks highly authentic, but it also offers a much more robust finish. For fabricators and installers that means there’s less chance of the surface being scuffed and marked during manufacture or fitting and translates to long term peace of mind for homeowners as well.
The level of R&D that has been put into perfecting aludec is also a reflection of the significant investment that aluplast has made to foils across the board. That includes woodec, which is our next generation range of timber style foils, but the foiling lines and CNC foiling technology we have in place means we have considerable flexibility on all our bespoke finishes. We foil over 90,000m of product every day.
That level of automation, the efficiencies it brings to manufacture, means we can maintain high levels of core ‘off the shelf’ stock, such as Smooth Anthracite Grey, and highly competitive lead times of 20-days on our bespoke options.
Q: It’s clear that foiling technology has come a long way - but have PVC systems advanced to the point where they can genuinely be offered as an alternative to aluminium?
Ian Cocken (IC): I can’t speak for other PVC-U system houses, but that’s certainly the case for aluplast. If you take our Smart-Slide inline sliding patio door for instance, that has been designed from the ground up to be technically superior to any other PVC patio on the market.
It’s an exceptionally high-quality product. With PAS24 approval as standard, it can span 4.5m with just two panes and it can take individual sash weights of up to 200kg.
At that size, it’s already moving into territory that’s normally occupied by aluminium, but when finished in aludec, Smart-Slide becomes an even more exciting proposition. It looks as good as the real thing, but it’s available at a much more attractive price point and comes with all the performance advantages of PVC.
The same can be said for our contemporary Ideal 4000 offering or our new flush sash casement. For installers it’s a win win, because they can upsell against competitor PVC systems or steal sales from aluminium.
Aludec presents advantages for PVC manufacturers as well, who are under increasing pressure to respond to demand for aluminium. They either have to outsource supply, which means their margins are small or non-existent, or they are taking the plunge to bring aluminium manufacture in house – which means a big investment in time and money. With aludec however, they have an alternative, highly cost effective solution.
Q: How has the market responded to aludec?
Homeowners are now much more aware of the options available to them when purchasing new windows and doors and that is clearly reflected in our sales figures. We doubled our turnover for Q1 2021, year on year. Demand for foiled products, including aludec, now accounts for as much as 50% of total order volume. It has proven to be a main driver for growth at aluplast UK.