Profile on Garnalex for Aluminium International Today
Garnalex is an aluminium extrusion company established in March 2018. Its CEO Roger Hartshorn is best-known for founding and selling two leading PVC-U window systems companies, Eurocell Plc and Liniar systems. Commenting on the reasons behind entering the world of aluminium in such a significant way, Roger Hartshorn says: “After a lifetime in PVC, I’ve fallen for aluminium and its potential. With the changing climate we are having to prioritise sustainability and I want more people to know that aluminium is one of the most recycled – and most recyclable – materials on the planet, with nearly 75% of all the aluminium produced still in use today. I also believe that it offers higher levels of precision and greater structural strength – perfect for the higher end home improvement products today’s consumers are demanding. We set up Garnalex to release aluminium’s true potential within the fenestration industry, offering customers enhanced levels of service and support, alongside a step change in reliability of delivery.”
The most technically advanced factory for optimum efficiency, quality and service, Garnalex’ 100,000 sq ft extrusion factory in Nether Heage, Derbyshire has been designed to the highest specification, making it one of the most technically advanced aluminium extrusion facilities in the country. One of only a handful of aluminium systems companies with their own extrusion factory in the UK, Garnalex has invested in a £9 million state of the art factory to supply trade aluminium extrusions and its own window and door systems. In addition, Garnalex has invested £1.5m in its plastics mouldings operations to design and make the PVC-U components for its own fenestration systems.
With the most advanced machinery and bespoke software, investment in the factory ensures maximum efficiency, quality control and accuracy to give customers high quality products and the best service and support. For example, Garnalex’170-tonne SMS HYBREX aluminium press delivers 35 MN force to produce up to four tonnes of extruded aluminium profile an hour and uses up to 55% less energy than a traditional press, utilising the latest servomotor technology to replace many hydraulic functions. To ensure efficient production, Garnalex has also adopted high speed die changes. While best practice lean manufacturing calls for Single Minute Exchange of Dies, Garnalex’ tool changes are six times faster helping ensure faster, reliable lead times for trade customers. A series of videos give a virtual tour of the factory and show the benefits of Garnalex’ investment. The videos can be viewed at www.vimeo.com/garnalex
Garnalex has also invested in its people and recruited some of the best technical and operational minds in the industry. Team members have extensive experience in their fields, from design, testing, standards and systems to operations and finance. Garnalex focuses on nurturing in-house talent and a number of staff started their careers as apprentices. Supporting the next generation of leaders in the construction industry, the company offers apprenticeship programmes for those interested in STEM subjects.
Integrated manufacturing with GarnerSys:
The integration of manufacturing processes was a critical factor in the Garnalex factory design, and the company has developed its own bespoke software to synchronise all elements of production. Adrian Girling, Garnalex Software Development Director explains: “We wanted to integrate ordering, production, tracking and delivery to offer the highest levels of quality, reliability and service. We quickly realised that existing software solutions would limit what we could achieve in the factory so we spent over 12 months developing GarnerSys, a bespoke management and software tracking system.” Sitting between the factory machinery and SAP, GarnerSys links everything. It shows the status of an order, where it is in the manufacturing process, how much of the order is complete, the timescale for packaging, and when the order can be loaded onto stillages and into delivery vehicles, improving efficiency and giving customers accurate lead times.
“We’ve provided every area of the business with fully-customised interfaces – on phones, machines, in Combilift and delivery truck cabs, you name it!” continues Adrian. “The software is operated via touchscreen and it’s very intuitive and easy to use. It’s been designed so quality and testing are built-in, with checks throughout the manufacturing process, not just through random spot testing at the end. All technical drawings of the tooling are on the system, and the toolroom screen for example shows the status of the dies, highlighting when they need cleaning, how long have they been in use, when they’ve due a service along with carrying a log of previous modifications. Operators can even annotate drawings live on screen. GarnerSys enables us to remove many margins for error and operate the factory more consistently and efficiently. Importantly, GarnerSys massively benefits customers by giving them better quality products, and a faster, more reliable service.”
Supporting British Manufacturing:
With a clear focus on quality, Garnalex was recently accepted to join ‘Made in Britain’, an organisation that recognises excellence in manufacturing and promotes British-made products across all sectors. Commenting on the accreditation, CEO Roger Hartshorn says: “Garnalex is proud to invest in British manufacturing. We’re one of only a few aluminium companies to extrude in Britain and supply both trade extrusions to other companies and our own Sheerline® window and door systems to fabricators. The investment gives us full control of the supply chain, enabling us to offer shorter lead times and first-class service. Having left the EU, it’s important we reduce our reliance on imported aluminium systems and products. Currently 190,000 tons of extruded aluminium is consumed in the UK, but only 110,000 tons is made here. Our raw aluminium comes from Wales, so this is an opportunity to reduce Britain’s carbon footprint and buy British. We plan to make a big dent in those import statistics!”
Sheerline® – an innovative new aluminium window and door system.
Over the past 18 months Garnalex’ designers and technical experts have examined every aspect of aluminium windows and doors – from how they’re fabricated, installed and sold – to develop an innovative new window and door system. The culmination of extensive research and development, Sheerline combines the latest technical innovations with beautiful, peerless aesthetics. It has been designed with aluminium fabricators and installers in mind and engineered to be easy to fabricate, install and sell. Garnalex has completed testing on the Sheerline Classic window and it is ready to launch in the UK once the current Coronavirus crisis eases.
Learn more about Garnalex by calling 01332 883960, visiting www.garnalex.com and following Garnalex on LinkedIn and on Twitter @GarnalexSystems and follow @SheerlineSystem.
Visit: www.vimeo.com/garnalex to track the factory’s development over the past 12months.