ALUMI N IUM
A force for change?
Deceuninck Aluminium's Nigel Headford says that COVID- will accelerate
change in aluminium and PVC-U supply as fabricators move away from specialism
based on material type to instead maximise productivity and margin.
Fabricators have been ‘through the wringer’.
At the point at which the industry appeared
to be shaking off the hangover from Brexit,
Coronavirus pulled the rug from under its
feet and that of society in general.
“It has been incredibly hard, personally and
professionally for everyone – no one has come
away from this untouched,” says Nigel Headford,
Deceuninck Aluminium’s business development
director. “I know that people will be feeling a high
degree of uncertainty about the future now.
“We do know, however, that we will collectively
come through this, the economy will recover and
that in looking to the future, we can plan now for
the opportunities ahead.
“Things are, however, going to be different and
it’s important to be prepared for those changes and
the release of latent demand that we are going to
see as recovery comes.”
He argues that the change seen in aluminium
trade supply will be accelerated, when this recovery
“We have seen a market which, up until now,
has been dominated by a handful of established
players, challenged by three new aluminium systems
entrants in as many years – Deceuninck Aluminium
included,” Nigel continues.
“The choice that this brings to fabricators, plus
a growing number of PVC-U fabricators choosing
to manufacture their own products, as opposed
to buying-in, changes the landscape of aluminium
If anything remains unchanged in aluminium
supply, it is the forecasts that exist for growth. The
most recent report from AMA Research, published
at the beginning of this year before COVID- hit,
had predicted growth in the bi-folding door market
across sectors of % this year .
Its longer-term forecast, however, was also
positive, although it argues that growth may drop to
a still highly respectable % by the end of .
According to the authors of The Bi-fold Doors
Market Report – UK to , this would
mean a total market value of £m by .
“That demand hasn’t gone away. It’s been ‘kicked
down the road’,” says Nigel. “There have been job
losses but there haven’t been mass redundancies.
Incomes have fallen but so has spending.
“The housing market has slowed but not crashed
and people still have equity in their homes. This
points to rapid recovery.”
Decalu, Deceuninck Aluminium’s new system
includes a series of casement options including
Decalu 88 Steel and New Steel, designed to
replicate steel commercial windows; plus a hidden
sash and retro option. There’s also a turn-and-tilt
option and the ultra-energy efficient Decalu101
Scand plus a complete range of panel doors with
Deceuninck Aluminium has, however, chosen
to focus its attention during this launch phase on
Decalu88 its new bi-fold and accompanying liftand
slide option, Decalu6.
“Decalu6 is a very smart lift-and-slide product,”
says Nigel. “Sashes will go to ¤kg in weight and
still open effortlessly. The sightlines are great, the
weather sealing is superb; it’s got a low threshold
and slim interlocking option – it gives you everything
you could possibly want from an aluminium inline
“The product that really excites me, however, is
Decalu88. Not because it’s necessarily technically
better than Decalu6 – both offer incredible
manufacturing efficiencies and through life
performance – but because of its potential market
reach and the opportunities to add margin that it
instantly delivers fabricators already manufacturing
Deceuninck’s PVC-U products but who are buyingin;
as well as the efficiency gains it can offer to
manufacturers of other aluminium systems.
“There are a number of features that makes this
the Decalu88 door very competitive,” continues
Nigel. “You’re reducing component parts from
anywhere from around to to only five.
“That delivers instant wins for fabricators. Your
stock holding is lower, you’re not tying up capital –
the best thing, however, is that there is less of it to
These efficiencies are made possible because
in common with the system as a whole, Decalu88
uses a single inner frame and mid-section with
integrated insulation – so that’s one job off your list
before you start!
It’s the system’s use of pre-inserted and
co-extruded gaskets, however, which deliver
perhaps the biggest win.
Manufactured from high-performance EPDM,
co-extrusion with rigid PVC-U backing, while
eliminating labour, also puts an end to gasket
Along with the other manufacturing efficiencies
that the Decalu88 offers this, Deceuninck argues,
trims % off manufacturing times at a conservative
estimate, to a comfortable ¤% off bi-folding door
“That’s the point – if you can make a premium
bi-folding door so efficiently, why would you
continue to buy-in product from a third-party,” says
“You’re instantly putting % margin back on
each and every door you sell. Why would you give
that away by buying in from someone else?”
Deceuninck Aluminium’s colour offer follows the
strategic direction set by Deceuninck on PVC-U
foils, with a highly flexible offer. This includes dual
colour and marine-grade as standard.
“The start of this year has been tough,” reflects
Nigel. “However, we have to look to the future. This
means acknowledging that the market is changed
and ensuring that we are geared to adapt to it.”