It’s time to change aluminium
Garnalex CEO Roger Hartshorn explains why it was important to crack on with the launch of Sheerline despite the disruption from Covid-19, and how it’s set to revolutionise the industry.
When lockdown hit, we were about to launch our new Sheerline Classic aluminium window system. We could have put our heads down and waited for the COVID-19 crisis to play out, but with so much momentum and excitement from fabricators for the new system, we decided to press ahead. I’m glad we did.
Since March, we’ve opened our integrated 85,000 sq ft assembly line for Sheerline at our state-of-the-art extrusion facility in Derbyshire – key to our quick turnaround on dual colour orders. We’ve set up the warehouse and control centre operations and expanded our fleet of Combilift forklift trucks to improve efficiency within our factories and warehouses. Our Combilift fleet doesn’t just move product, the trucks are part of our quality control system, weighing product accurately and ensuring we know exactly where everything is at all times – helping prevent out-of-stock issues.
We’ve established a Technical Sales Team, who will be on the frontline setting up fabricators, while providing technical assistance and practical support. We’ve designed many innovations in to our Sheerline systems, making them easier and faster to fabricate, and less wasteful of materials than other systems. So, we’ve invested in experienced hands-on technical sales people to support fabricators directly rather than have a traditional sales team who have to rely on field technicians – creating a more agile service for fabricators. As Technical Sales Managers, Tony Basile and Paul Greenway are customers’ first port of call, while our Area Technical Managers James Barker and Dave Brown give specific technical guidance and advice.
The pandemic has presented us all with unique challenges. We’d purpose-built a Sheerline training centre and we planned to invite fabricators and installers to see our new systems in production and give customers product and installation training, helping them make the most of Sheerline’s unique features and benefits.
But with social distancing and other safety measures, this kind of face-to-face training just isn’t feasible. So instead, we developed a comprehensive suite of practical, high-end videos to train fabricators and installers remotely. Training can be done anywhere – at their premises, on site or at home – and at any time. Together with our technical guides (we’re quite proud of them too!), a new website and support from the Technical Sales Team, customers have everything they need to learn about Sheerline, without visiting the factory or training centre.
Why didn’t we postpone the launch of Sheerline until things got back to ‘normal’? Our answer is simple – the industry has waited long enough for a modern aluminium window and door system, and things may never return to how they were.
When I first looked at aluminium systems, I could see many things we could improve. Apart from thermal performance, I was surprised at the lack of significant product development and innovation since the 1980s. In contrast, PVC-U and timber have markedly improved their performance and looks. Listening to former customers’ experience of aluminium suppliers’ service whetted my interest. They said if I were to improve design and offer the same service as PVC systems companies, the aluminium market would be transformed.
It was time to put aluminium back on the podium. So, we spent two years reinventing it from the bottom up. We used our experience of PVC-U and our understanding of what installers and fabricators want from start to finish, from extruded profile to installed frames and aftercare. The result is Sheerline.
Fabricators say Sheerline Classic is beautifully engineered. It’s designed to be an ideal replacement for slim heritage-type steel windows, with outstanding energy efficiency (U-Values as low as 1.4 W/(m2K)), enhanced security (PAS24:2016) and ultra-slim sightlines that let in more daylight.
The system is packed with unique features including our patented corner construction, which brings profiles together in a controlled way to form a perfect right-first-time mitre joint without unsightly junctions, misalignments and wasted materials.
Classic windows are also beadless so, without separate glazing beads, the sealed glass unit is locked into the frame which reduces installation time and complexity. Having been cut and prepared, Sheerline windows can also be fabricated by a single worker on a single bench to support social distancing. Truly, a window for today.
Our unique Thermavic® multi-chambered thermal break is at the heart of Sheerline Classic windows’ and doors’ superior energy performance. We’ve also designed-in concealed drainage that channels moisture over the cill nose, reducing the risk of damp patches forming inside the property, and eliminating ugly face drainage covers.
But the real game-changer is that it’s Made in Britain. Every major component of a Sheerline window or door is made by us in Britain. With full control of the supply chain, we can deliver our aluminium profile in 11 different stocked colours in just 5 working days, including the full range of 110 dual colour combinations! Bespoke colours are also available in just 10 days.
From product innovation, to setting new benchmarks for customer service and delivery times, Sheerline is changing the way aluminium windows are supplied, made, installed, and sold. Classic is just the beginning. Our core window and door system – Prestige – is coming soon with even more options and designs.
Discover more about Sheerline Classic and Sheerline Prestige at www.sheerline.com and follow @SheerlineSystem.