It seems a long time ago now that aluminium was largely confined to commercial applications. Over the last two decades, it has become the aspirational choice for many trade and retail buyers as well – thanks largely of course to the continuing popularity of the aluminium bi-fold.
So far, the industry has got its marketing just about right – with aspirational products pitched largely at the premium end of the retail market where demand is still growing and margins are healthy.
Systems companies, machinery suppliers and groups like CAB can all take a good deal of the credit for developing products which consumers want to buy, developing machines which provide manufacturers with a cost effective route to entry, and sharing ideas and best practice.
As a software supplier though, I would argue that software has also played its part in helping aluminium to become so popular and, crucially, accessible for fabricators.
BM Aluminium has been the exclusive UK distributor for Orgadata’s LogiKal software since we became a separate company from Business Micros in 2007. LogiKal is Europe’s leading aluminium processing software – allowing users to complete estimates, quotes, CAD design and CNC links quickly and easily. The latest LogiKal MES product even helps them create a truly paperless factory environment, using bar code scanning stations to track and monitor every aspect of production.
What makes LogiKal so popular in the UK is the fact that it gives fabricators the freedom and flexibility to work with their choice of systems. They are not tied to the proprietary software from their profile supplier, instead they can process virtually any system in LogiKal and switch seamlessly between them for different projects, products or customers.
In a market where fabricators might use one system for bi-fold doors, one for curtain walling and another for windows, the ability to process all of them using a single software system is hugely valuable, and has helped to give many of them the perfect platform from which to expand and diversify.
At BM Aluminium, we partner with all the major aluminium systems companies – from AluK to Seniors and everyone in between, and support all their products in constantly updated databases. We have our own UK based programming team who work direct with the systems companies on the databases and ensure that new products are fully supported as they are introduced.
We also of course have our own UK based support team who help and advise customers on how to use the software. Because we work on a software rental model, all users always have access to the support they need, and they automatically receive downloads of the latest versions of LogiKal.
Looking ahead, I see no reason why aluminium won’t continue its upward rise. The support infrastructure is certainly in place for fabricators and installers and demand remains strong.