A new 20,000 ft2 factory extension, combined with further upgrades in the company’s production facilities, has been completed by Apeer, the Ballymena-based manufacturer of Apeer composite entrance doors and Lumi windows and doors. The investment completes the latest phase of the company’s five-year investment and development plan, which began in 2017.
Occupying a 7.2 acre site, the company’s head office and production facilities now total 140,000ft2 with all services now fully self-contained, including the production of door blanks through to completed door sets for Apeer residential doors; fabrication of all Lumi windows, sliding and entrance doors; and all of the company’s glass requirements.
Despite challenges imposed by Britain’s exit from the EU and political upheaval nationally and locally within Northern Ireland, sales of Apeer products have continued to grow in line with the company’s plans. The new facilities further increase output capacity and provide greater flexibility to suit market conditions and demand.
The factory extension has allowed re-planning of production in more efficient flowlines with all services under one roof, including advanced glass processing that now allows for complex shapes to be cut and the exceptional sheet sizes increasingly required for Lumi doors and windows, to be sourced in-house. A new CNC precision waterjet cutting machine has been installed to make the unusually complex cuts required for Lumi windows and doors, whilst the Northglass AG-series forced convection furnace installed 18 months ago, allows toughened glass production in sheet sizes up to 5m x 2.8m.
The second paint line installed for Apeer composite doors is now supplemented by a second insulating core press used for the production of the company’s GRP-faced composite door panels, which combined will allow more than 1000 two colour doors to be manufactured each week, entirely in house.
Asa McGillian, the company’s managing director, said that completion of the new extension fulfils many of the company’s plans for growth: “The additional space does far more than simply allow new machines to be installed. We have now been able to re-plan our whole facility to create more logical production flowlines and logical sequences, all of which will give us significant increases in output as well as flexibility, something that remains crucial especially until Brexit is finally settled.
“Our glass processing facility is now highly capable and flexible and allows us to cope in-house with the increasingly large Lumi doors being ordered, as well as the demands for Apeer composite doors, for which we also produce decorative glass units in our own studio. In fact, I believe that Apeer doors have a greater UK sourced content than the majority of composite door brands sold in Britain and Ireland. We are proud of that of course, and also that our video-based quality control system is now more intensive than ever and showing an exceptionally low rejection rate. Our right-first-time rate of 98% is excellent.”
Completion of the production investments has further implications for the company. Asa added: “Our focus is now very much on marketing, with some exceptional support programmes being developed to provide high quality leads for Apeer and Lumi retail partners. Our composite doors – especially the Silka range – and new Lumi replacement window which were launched last year at the FIT Show, are enjoying excellent sales growth and we will work hard to ensure this continues.”