Right, before I give my own opinions on what Warmcore is, this is the official Synseal press release:

Synseal’s Warmcore Launch Delivers True Innovation

Synseal is proud to introduce WarmCore, an innovative aluminium folding sliding door system which incorporates a radically different product design approach to create a new high performance fenestration framing solution: “warm aluminium”.

Totally designed from scratch starting with a clean sheet of paper, every single component has been concept sketched, detail designed, prototyped, tooled, trial installed and rigorously tested by Synseal’s market-leading R&D team.  WarmCore is a high quality aluminium bi-fold door solution with peerless thermal performance to ensure end-user comfort, all year round.

Precision-manufactured with a high quality surface finish and affording slim, elegant door frame sightlines once installed, aluminium has undoubtedly become the material of choice for premium folding sliding door applications today.  But now there’s an even better solution – WarmCore’s innovative “warm aluminium” frame construction is key to offering unrivalled thermal performance with U-values as low as 1.4 W/m2K using standard 28mm double glazing or 1.0 W/m2K  using 44m triple glazing.

At the heart of WarmCore products is a core of PVC-U which significantly out-performs the polyamide thermal breaks commonly used to reduce the threat of cold bridging on aluminium windows and doors.  The result is an innovative “warm aluminium” frame construction, carefully dimensioned to provide an optimised 70mm front-to-back overall sash frame depth for UK applications while ensuring market-leading thermal performance thanks to the multi-chambered insulating core.

When viewed from the outside, WarmCore doors ensure a classical appearance with a choice of 4 high quality aluminium external cladding styles: Square design (as used with architectural aluminium fenestration), Pencil Round design (curved elegance), Decorative design (sculptured ovolo as used with timber windows and doors) and Chamfered design (evoking traditional putty-glazed windows and doors).

Each of these 4 cladding options presents a premium quality and hi-tech aesthetic appeal, suitable for both residential and commercial building applications.

4 aluminium cladding colours – White, Cream, Black RAL 9005 and Grey RAL 7016 – provide 16 possible colour configurations, including dual-colour combinations.

WarmCore doors can be 28mm double glazed with a choice of Square or Chamfered aluminium beads for a neat internal finish, or 44mm triple glazed using a special TG aluminium bead.

Folding sliding door leaves are triple-sealed with contact weatherstrip gaskets to eradicate draughts and ensure best-in-class weathertightness for all-year-round user comfort.

Gasket corner mouldings for sash-to-frame and sash-to-sash applications use a push-fit design to neatly and positively couple with straight-cut gasket lengths for easy application, whilst avoiding any need to overrun gasket to fill gaps between sashes – there is no need to cut angles or glue gaskets together to form a corner.

PAS24 and Secure By Design (SBD) qualifications provide peace of mind for end users, as WarmCore doors have been independently third party tested by UKAS to prove impressive structural strength and security credentials.

Double-strength sash corners are mechanically jointed and use a combination of internal aluminium cleats and a wrap-around corner moulding block to ensure secure rigidity and robustness in use.

Custom-engineered extruded aluminium flag hinges are designed with security in mind and added reassurance for both installers and homeowners is available from Synseal’s custom-designed hardware development partners ERA, who underwrite and provide a “Five-Star” security guarantee against forced entry for a period of 10 years.

Sill options include a WarmCore standard threshold with integral sill or 150mm thermally-broken aluminium sill and a Part M compliant low threshold design in thermally-broken aluminium with optional ramps and cover trims that can be used internally, externally or both, depending on requirements.

The key installation benefit of WarmCore bi-fold doors is delivered by the clever aluminium track design, which enables a quick all-in-one fitting procedure without the need for de-sashing.  Alternatively, folding sliding door installation with 100% concealed fixings can be achieved by installing the outer frame prior to fitting the track.

Plain hinges, pivot roller hinges and espag hinges provide +/- 1mm adjustment to cater for fine tolerances on site, while single roller and double “pivot” rollers provide +/- 3mm vertical adjustment for precision installation.

The WarmCore range includes all popular Bi-fold door elevational configurations and stacking options, in addition to traditional hinged sash French and Residential doors.  Folding sliding doors up to 6 metres wide incorporating 7 sashes can be specified.

“At Synseal our aim is to design new improved products to arm our existing and prospect customers with value-adding sales opportunities” says Steve Brown, Synseal’s Head of Customer Care & Product Strategy. “WarmCore is a real winner – a bold concept with many technical advantages, delivering true innovation and signalling exciting times ahead.”

Synseal Chief Executive David Leng comments: “WarmCore’s dual-material approach opens up a new chapter in our company’s history.  From November ’14 WarmCore folding sliding door units will be available for our fabricator partners to purchase, fully-manufactured and CE Marked by Synseal.  We will also be establishing a network of approved fabricators across all UK regions from January ’15 onwards and interested parties should contact me directly to discuss this opportunity.”

My thoughts

First of all, if you have managed to read down to this point, well done, that was one hell of a press release! However there was a lot to say. In the end it did turn out to be a PVC/aluminium duo systems as I first speculated in my first Warmcore post. It makes sense as I believe that for the UK fenestration industry to progress further, we have to look at dual technologies to help us continue to push the boundaries as to what is possible.

I like the fact that they have kept the depth of the profile to 70mm. This is a dimension best suited to the UK market. There are other new systems hitting the market which are quite a bit deeper than 70mm. It means a lot of chopping back of internal plaster in people’s homes to make them fit. Not always a preferred option. But a 70mm frame, capable of 28mm double glazing and 44mm triple glazing is going to mean this new product is going to be well suited to the whole of the UK market.

The fact that the Warmcore bi-folds carry a 44mm triple glazed unit is also significant. It is clear Synseal have been doing their research and understand that triple glazing really only provides tangible benefits when you use 44mm units. If they had said that there were 32mm and 36mm options, most wouldn’t have taken notice, meaning the developments allowing for triple glazing would have been wasted. But this is not the situation and they have indeed gone about providing a triple glazing option in the right way.

They also make a point about every aspect of the Warmcore product being designed from scratch. Synseal want to let everyone know that this is a system designed from the ground up, rather than being cobbled together from a range of existing products out there. It’s an impressive point to make, however it comes at a time where the bi-fold door market shockingly fell 7% last year. Something I don’t think many expected. This is going to be one of the difficulties Warmcore is going to have to battle. But maybe Warmcore is the product to put the life back into bi-folds again?

If there was something to be disappointed about, it would be at the choice, or lack of, colour. White, cream, black and grey are nice, but given the rise of colour in the last couple of years, I would have though the amount of colour choice would have been way beyond four options. But perhaps they are trying to keep things simple. We all know how difficult all our jobs have got since the amount of choice has exploded in the last few years.

Overall, when you look at the attention to detail in the manufacturing, security, energy efficiency and design of the product, this is a bi-folding that certainly does redefine the boundaries of what a bi-fold should be. So it looks good and looks like it will perform well. But that is only one part of the story for this new product. The product isn’t launched yet, and we don’t yet know what this is going to cost, the delivery time is still months away and of course the real judge of a product comes when they start to be fitted. Synseal have set the bar high here, and also created a Warmcore rod for their own back. Lets hope that the next phase of this product lives up to the expectations.