The UK Aluminium Extrusions Market

The demand for extrusions is growing in the United Kingdom and is driving the increase in imports, especially from China and Malaysia

by Ad van der Poel, Ad-Connect Netherlands

The market in the United Kingdom is an important market for aluminium extrusions. The estimated volume of extruded profiles is around 180 thousand tons. Aluminium profiles are used in the Building and Construction Industry, Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Industrial Engineering. Traditionally the Building and Construction Industry consumes a large part of aluminium profiles for the door, window and façade systems. It uses around 50 % of the total volume. (In our data, building numbers are also included as “traders”). Demand is growing for aluminium profiles especially in the transportation /automotive market. The main drivers in this segment are weight reduction and the switch to electric cars. All over Europe we notice good business conditions and a growing demand for aluminium, including extruded products. The effects of a Brexit and pre-emptive discussions with the imposition of tariffs on all imported aluminium products have been left out of consideration.

Annual Production volume by UK extruders versus total consumption
The UK extruders produce together 98 thousand tons of aluminium. The annual consumption of extruded products is around 180 thousand tons.
That means that the missing volume is imported. This volume exceeds 80 thousand tons. In the UK the Stockholders always have had an important role in the distribution of the imports of extruded materials. It is not only the standard items they stock but in addition they also stock bespoke or ‘special’ items that are tailored to meet customers’ requirements. The imported volumes come from Europe and increasingly from Malaysia and China. Chinese players are setting up UK offices to gain market share and these imports are expected to grow by 40%.
Below you will find an overview of the main Extruders in the UK

Hydro’s Extruded Solutions Division in the UK
In 2017, Hydro completed the acquisition of Sapa, establishing Hydro as the only aluminium company with a global presence that is fully integrated across the value chain and markets. SAPA was a 50/50 joint venture owned by Orkla ASA and Hydro ASA.
Hydro Extrusion Solutions is the largest aluminium extrusion manufacturer in the world. The company offers everything from education in aluminium to design, manufacturing, fabrication, surface treatment and finishing. About their UK activities, Hydro’s Extruded Solutions division has more than 1,300 employees in the United Kingdom, extrusion manufacturing plants in Birtley, Cheltenham and Tibshelf. Operating 6 extrusion presses in the range of 7, 8 and 9 inch (1600 up to 3300 MT), it also owns some aluminium fabrication and components plants which are located in Redditch, Bromyard, Gloucester and Rotherham, an extrusion die company in Gloucester and an aluminium casthouse in Tibshelf. Surface treatment and thermal break capabilities are also available. Aluminium building system under the name of Sapa, Wicona and Technal are located in London, Tewkesbury and Wakefield. Hydro has by far the biggest market share in the UK market.

Aluminium Shapes Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 4AP United Kingdom
Aluminium Shapes is one of only two UK owned aluminium extrusion companies. The company has been operating for over 25 years from its Corby manufacturing base. The company has two extrusion presses and extensive in-house machining and fabrication facilities. They offer end to end services from designing to delivery. They are a preferred supplier for both large and small businesses in a wide range of markets. Their in-house machining facilities let the product be extruded, cut, machined, finished and packed all under one roof. They also offer a large range of finishing services for extrusion & components. This year from their Corby base, the company is projected to produce over 5 million metres of extrusion.

Capalex Cleator Moor, Cumbria, CA25 5QB, United Kingdom
Formed in 1979, Capital Aluminium Extrusions Ltd, Capalex is an independent aluminium extrusion company with all manufacturing, machining and fabrication, powder coating, heat treatment, assembly, storage and stock holding, despatch and administrative functions under one roof at a single factory site. They operate 3 extrusion presses: one Direct 850 mt press and 2 indirect presses.
Capalex have gained a reputation as the specialist manufacturer of complex, high tolerance aluminium extrusions in a wide range of commercial alloys customized for the automotive, aerospace, construction and industrial sectors.

Smart Aluminium Extrusions Yatton North, Somerset, BS49 4QN, United Kingdom
Smart Aluminium Extrusions has the reputation for the manufacture of aluminium extrusions to the highest quality standards in UK. Their extrusion products are used across a wide range of applications and industry sectors. Smart Aluminium Extrusions is a part of the global Corialis Group of extrusion companies which has its headquarters in Belgium and manufacturing plants in France, Poland and China. The company employs over 1,500 people worldwide and has a turnover in excess of £250 million. The group is supported by outstanding research and development capabilities and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. Their technologically advanced facilities can extrude, finish and deliver almost any design of extrusion profiles. In the UK The company operates three modern extrusion presses – one 1400mt/6 inch press, one 2,200mt/8 inch press and another 2,500 mt/8 inch press – which combine to deliver a total annual extrusion capacity of over 25,000 tonnes. The extrusion presses used minimize production waste through effective use of latest manufacturing methods while optimising the use of aluminium billets. 100% of the waste aluminium from the extrusion process is captured and then recycled into casting aluminium billets for future production and as a result, up to 30% of the aluminium is extruded from recycled billets.

Exlabesa Wheatley Hills, Doncaster, South Yorkshire – DN2 4SG, United Kingdom
Exlabesa is a Spanish based company active in the market for aluminium extrusion and PVC. Incorporated in 1966, Exlabesa is present today in 40 countries on 3 continents, providing service from its 7 production plants and offering a wide range of products for architecture and industry.
The solutions for glass doors and windows, sliders, electronics and automatic devices are the backbone which allows Exlabesa and its workers to continue advancing towards ever lighter and more reliable products. In the UK they own since 2001 one plant at Doncaster, the former Kaye Aluminium extrusion plant. At that location they run 2 presses, a 1600mt press and a 2000mt press, and have their own in house anodising and powder paint facilities.

BOAL U.K. Limited Shepshed, Loughborough LE12 9BS, United Kingdom
BOAL is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of aluminium greenhouse roof systems for horticulture. With more than 45 years of expertise in extrusion of aluminium profiles, they produce and supply special extrusions to the building, engineering and transport industries.
BOAL Extrusion have production locations in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with a total capacity of 40,000 tonnes and a turnover of around € 140 million. The profiles they extrude come in the range of 7” to 9”. By joining of forces between the production locations they can quickly make switches to serve clients professionally. In the UK they operate 2 presses: one 1600mt/7 inch press and a 2800mt/9 inch press. It has just been announced that Equistone Partners Europe, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, have acquire a majority stake in BOAL Group.

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