Published On: Fri, Nov 22nd, 2019

Metal Matters

Windows Active Editor John Cowie takes a closer look at the new name in the aluminium market

You would be hard-pressed to find an entrepreneur any more passionate about UK manufacturing and the window industry than Roger Hartshorn. The much anticipated launch of his entry into the aluminium sector is drawing closer and there is little doubt it will disrupt the status quo in the supply of aluminium extrusions and fenestration products. Garnalex and Garner Aluminium Extrusions maybe the new kids on the block but they are underpinned by a vastly experienced team and a level of investment that demonstrates the serious intentions of the company.

The industry is well aware of Roger’s pedigree in starting businesses in this sector. The move into aluminium has come as little surprise to those who have worked with Roger in previous businesses. Talking to former customers, they all agree if Garnalex offers the same type of products and service that characterised previous companies Roger has been involved in, they will ‘clean-up’. The big question is what exactly are Garnalex and Garner Aluminium Extrusions going to be bringing to the market?

Put simply, it’s a two pronged approach. Firstly, a trade extrusion business, supplying extruded profiles to businesses within and outside the glazing industry. Having made a £7m investment in top of the range SMS extrusion machines, Garner Aluminium Extrusions has a capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes of extruded products. Given the management team’s experience in the window industry there is an obvious synergy with this sector, and one that UK Sales Manager Darrell Woodward will be primarily focusing on. However, there is vast potential outside the industry from a host of other items ranging from aluminium signs to goal posts – in fact anything that is created from aluminium extrusion. Closer to home, Garner will be looking to partner with fenestration systems companies looking to outsource production of aluminium components such as conservatory roof parts, windows and ancillary items. This is common practice in the UK, and provides a lucrative market for Garner to chase. With a brand new, purpose build extrusion facility at its disposal, it makes for an attractive proposition for potential customers.

The big question on everyone’s lips is related to a much anticipated window and door system. It seems that only a few years ago that the market was anticipating the launch of the new Liniar PVC-U system, Roger remembers at the time a journalist asking, “What does the world want with another plastic window system? – how will you ever succeed?” His answer: “It’s because I think I can.” And here we are again, this time in aluminium!”

While remaining tight lipped about the imminent launch of the window and door system, Roger and newly appointed Sales and Marketing Manager Eilidh Hudson (pictured) have been able to shed some light on the vision and development that precedes the official launch scheduled for early next year. The whole process of designing the windows and doors started 18 months ago, with Roger likening the process to creating a new car. The chassis came first then the mechanics and at each stage all the necessary testing. It was only a few months ago that the cosmetics were triggered and this is when the team’s excitement really start to go into overdrive. With a planned preview event in December Eilidh will be able to show to potential customers what they can expect to see, this is pivotal: “December can’t come quick enough for me, the interest has been phenomenal and I just want to say, ‘here it is’ and I know that’s what the fabricators I have been talking to want to hear!” What can be revealed is that the window and door system will feature all the products that you would expect from a market-leading system, backed-up by an extremely fast service and best-class manufacturing. It is also wonderful to witness Roger’s excitement and enthusiasm first hand, especially as he has been here before on a number of occasions: “I have realised over the years that every fabricator and installer wants something new to sell. When you offer a new product or re-invent an existing creation, people jump on and it drives the market forward. This results in customers seeing their own businesses grow – these stories of growth and success are testament to adopting something new. This drives me and continues my passion for this sector and British manufacturing.”