The industry’s eyes are on Garnalex and Roger Hartshorn as a new aluminium systems company and extruder takes shape right in front of us. At the end of the July, they announced that they had finished the installation of a monster, police-escorted aluminium press.

Here’s the article they recently released…

Garnalex aluminium press installed and ready for extrusion

New aluminium systems company Garnalex (Garner Aluminium Extrusions Ltd) has completed the installation of its state-of-the-art aluminium press. Following a £9 million investment to date in its manufacturing facility in Derbyshire, Garnalex, Roger Hartshorn’s new venture will begin trade extrusion in September.

Weighing over 170 tonnes, the press was manufactured in Germany and delivered by convoy with police escorts to the Garnalex Nether Heage factory in March. To help visualise what 170 tonnes means, it’s about the same weight as a Blue Whale and nearly as much as three British Army Challenger 2 tanks!

Once commissioned, the vast press, an SMS HYBREX delivering 35 MN of force using 9-inch aluminium billets, will produce 4 tonnes of extruded aluminium an hour.

CEO Roger Hartshorn says: “Over 15 working days in June, 44 full trucks then delivered the rest of the machinery and equipment for our custom-made aluminium press and factory. Unlike most aluminium extruders, we’ve built our state-of-the-art factory from the ground up, and it’s taking shape nicely. Everything is the best it can be, so we’ll start off with a built-in advantage for customers in productivity, efficiency and quality. Trade extrusion will begin in September, and we’re launching our innovative new aluminium window system at the end of Q1 2020.

“Like a lot of the industry, I’ve fallen in love with aluminium,” Roger explains. “But unlike PVC-U and timber, aluminium has seen very little development or innovation over the past 30 years. Service in the aluminium sector has also lagged behind the big improvements fabricators and installers have got used to in PVC-U. So, we’re building in to the Garnalex window and its delivery, all the innovations and improvements that you would have expected to have seen over the last 30 years. In fact, Garnalex aims to reinvent the way

aluminium windows and doors are fabricated, installed and sold, transforming the customer experience end to end.

“We see ourselves as being on a journey to transform fabricators’ and installers’ experience of buying aluminium systems and aluminium windows, by making it easier and better to fabricate, install and sell aluminium. We’re also designing what we think will be a very beautiful window. Those fabricators and installers who’ve seen it agree. Garnalex is aluminium, but not as you know it!”

Fabricators and installers who want to learn about this new window system and be among the first to sell it, can sign up in August for the company’s exclusive ambassador workshops by visiting Garnalex will be running a series of workshops from September 2019.

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Giving ali a bit of PVCu

In a recent article, Roger Hartshorn explained why he has fallen in love with aluminium. You can read that article by clicking here. When you read his aims for the company it highlights for me one area that aluminium hasn’t been able to evolve to and thats to come up to speed with the demands and expectations from home owners and installers in 2019.

I think its fair to say that the explosion in residential aluminium caught aluminium systems companies and fabricators off-guard. In the commercial sector, lead times are naturally longer and the buying process very different to that in the residential market. Since the aluminium renaissance, I don’t think the aluminium industry has genuinely been able to replicate the shorter lead times, market to home owners in the same way the PVCu sector has. Things have got better in recent years of course, but the PVCu market still has the lead in the residential market.

This is where I think Roger is trying to bring aluminium up to speed. He’s trying to do to aluminium what has happened to PVCu in recent years. It will mean lead times will have to be on a par with the PVCu sector. Marketing is going to have to change and be more direct and to the point with home owners and installers, although the home owner bit is down to the installer rather than the sysco. What will also need to happen is to make it as simple as possible for companies to buy from Garnalex. I have seen some of the product portfolios from other aluminium companies and the New York subway map is easier to get your head around than those. But, this is the residual effect from the commercial sector. They haven’t really been simplified or modified to suit a different type of market. Hence you get products called a series of letters and numbers, rather than names and wording people can learn easier.

If Garnalex can bring all of this to residential aluminium, profitably, whilst remaining affordable, then many boxes are going to be ticked. The industry will be watching I am sure.

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