Grey dominates VERTIK-AL Top 10

Vertik-Al products

The latest powder usage figures from Vertik-Al reveal that shades of grey dominated its powder coating lines in the 11 months to April 2020.  Of the top 10 colours most used, five were a tonal variation of grey, with Anthracite Grey leading the charge with almost 20% share.

In fact, the powder coater’s top 10 comprises only neutral tones, with the five remaining colours a variation on this theme – Jet Black, Signal Black, Heritage Black, HIPCA White and Pure White.

Vertik-Al director, John Park-Davies believes that this neutral dominance is down to their versatility; providing a blank canvas.  “For many years white has been the principal finish for window and door products, while black and a uniform grey accounted for the majority of roofline products.

“As tastes and trends have evolved, designers and homeowners have embraced the entire neutral colour palette, seeking hues that don’t compete with other colours but can easily be layered with stronger tones, both inside and out.  Our powder usage is proof of this, with greys and blacks prevailing.”

Vertik-Al also crunched the numbers on finish usage and matt dominates at 83.91%, followed by satin, gloss and then finally, metallic.

In combining colour and finish, variations of grey in a matt finish obliterate the competition with 20 entries in Vertik-Al’s top 50.  In fact, Anthracite Grey is the only grey to feature in both a matt and satin finish.

The powder usage data has also supported a rising interest in bolder, more extraordinary colour and finish combinations.  Anodic Pewter, White Aluminium and Gold Metallic all rank in the top 50, featuring in metallic finishes.

Vertik-Al generally uses around 400 colours regularly and can access over 3500.  By working with global powder companies, including AkzoNobel, Synthapulvin, Axalta, IGP etc. the company can respond to the most elaborate of requests, coating aluminium to complement all manner of products, and architectural styles and features.

The company offers 25-year supplier backed guarantees on a range of colours.

Vertik-Al is the only applicator in the UK and Ireland to hold the GSB International quality seal for Approved Coated Aluminium and is one of a handful of applicators to boast membership of the product certification scheme, QUALICOAT.

To discover how your business can benefit from Vertik-Al’s colour expertise, investment and over 50 years’ experience in powder coating, visit


Digital Volume Correlation (DVC) Analysis of Aluminium Foam

X-ray computed tomography (CT) has been successfully exploited in different fields as a non-destructive testing (NDT) technique to qualitatively and quantitatively inspect components. Intricate structures, such as cellular solids, require a three-dimensional characterisation, therefore X-ray CT can provide insights of the behaviour for this class of materials. TWI conducted a series of experiments to assess the behaviour of aluminium foam under mechanical and thermal load.

Read more: Digital Volume Correlation (DVC) Analysis of Aluminium Foam

2m Distancing Rule Reduced | Your Guide for a Safe Return to Work | Solutions

  • From the 4th of July, thousands of businesses across England will be free from lockdown.
    Pubs doors will unlock. Cinemas will reopen. Hairdressers, waiters, and librarians will return to the workplace. And you may be able to bring even more of your people back to work…
    But before you recall your staff, remember: you first need to meet new government guidelines on health & safety.
    Click ‘read more’ for your FREE back to work toolkit and enjoy expert advice on how to get COVID secure
  • A Guide to Flexible Furlough: On 12 June, the Government released further guidance on how the flexible furlough scheme will operate from July. This scheme is an adaptation to the original Job Retention Scheme. Here’s how it works…
  • Schools Staying Shut: What Could This Mean For Your Company?
    Schools are no longer obligated to fully reopen before the school summer holidays in England. Instead, schools will be…
  • Managing Health & Safety: Social Distancing at Work Guide
    Businesses are starting to return to work across the UK. One of the main challenges they’re facing is social distancing…
  • Unpaid Leave & Coronavirus: The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause issues for businesses across the UK. It has resulted in furloughs and…
  • [Checklist] 7 Steps to Becoming COVID-19 Secure

Read more: Croner Solutions newsletter – June 2020

MACH 2021 Leading the Way to Recovery

January 2021 is going to be a hugely important landmark for UK manufacturers. After the disruption of 2020 getting supply chains moving and investment flowing are going to be big priorities for the new year. The place to do that will be the NEC, which will not only play host to MACH, the UK’s national engineering and manufacturing exhibition between 25-28th January, but will also be packed with other events.

After a gap of nearly a decade, Subcon will return to being co-located with MACH alongside a number of other shows, including Drives & Controls, meaning it will be a huge week for UK manufacturing.

The organisers have partnered on the events before, but in the current climate the collaboration takes on added significance as the need to kickstart the manufacturing sector after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes of crucial importance to the wellbeing of the UK economy as a whole.

By pooling their resources, expertise and experience, the two organisations said they would be better able to support UK manufacturing and engineering businesses to bounce back as the economy starts to rebuild and adapt to this ‘new normal’.
The highpoint of the week will be the Manufacturing Technologies Association’s Annual Dinner which the Association, which owns and runs MACH, will be holding onsite at the Vox, on Tuesday 26th January.

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, said: “Our intention is to ensure MACH is not just a showcase for the manufacturing technologies sector, but a celebration of the manufacturing industry at its best. MACH is a content-led event and brings together the latest advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies – in operation and all under one roof.”

“Highlights for the show will include a significant focus on the digital factory, with more automation and connected manufacturing processes, power by the hour and new cost efficiency solutions that will dramatically improve production processes and help shape the industry over the next decade.

“MACH has always been the place to see real innovation come to life. Manufacturers and engineers come out in force to support the UK’s national show and see first-hand how technology is developing. As such, MACH will be the perfect way to kick start 2021 and we are delighted that other complimentary shows will be taking place alongside MACH for what should be a celebration of UK manufacturing at its very best.”

ALFED will be exhibiting at the show, please contact Kirsi Lintula if you would like to participate:

UK competitiveness in the aluminium sector is key to growth, investment, employment, development and the UK strategic industrial value chain

UK competitiveness in the aluminium sector is key to growth, investment, employment, development and the UK strategic industrial value chain. High energy prices as well as climate and environment regulations have a negative impact on the aluminium industry. A global level playing field in energy is required to ensure future competitiveness and continued investment in the UK aluminium sector.

The UK aluminium strategic value supply chain must be a driven collaboration between government and the UK aluminium industrial sector, building connectivity with a trusted UK based supply network, up and down the value chain.

This structured approach will support OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies who need to fill the gaps in their supply chains or to support the creation of new ones. Such a facility will support the high value and technical requirements of the industrial sector, including aerospace, automotive, rail, marine, energy and medical, from conceptual design to complete process and product delivery systems, into business.

Championing energy efficiency

As more and more white-collar employees gradually switch back to working in an office environment, now is a good time for businesses to ensure any energy efficiency good practices picked up whilst working from home come with them.

Most money-conscious, employees wouldn’t leave lights on unnecessarily or not properly shutdown their electrical devices whilst working from at home, and these type of behaviours should be present in the office environment, too.

You could even employ an ‘energy champion’ from within the workforce to take on the responsibility of engaging their colleagues in energy-saving measures in a bid to reduce the company’s energy bill.

Some simple measures such as the installation of movement sensitive lighting and LED lightbulbs can help massively in reducing the energy bill, too, without too much initial financial outlay.

Alternatively, you could turn to an external energy agency to conduct an energy audit and determine how you can use less power without compromising business throughput, output or thermal comfort and wellbeing of staff. An Energy Management health check workshop will cost you nothing but could save you thousands of pounds.

A Senior Energy Management certified assessor will visit your organisation and present his/her ideas over the course of a morning or afternoon with the aim of highlighting energy efficiency projects that can be easily implemented with little or no capital expenditure.

If you would like to discuss any energy efficiency measures, please get in touch with a member of our team on 01225-867722.

Words from Energy Management



Did you know? The source of aluminium metal is an ore known as bauxite. Bauxite was originally discovered in France, but the large-scale mining of bauxite today is in semi-tropical areas – Africa, South America and Australia, for example. There is no commercial mining of bauxite in the UK.

Bauxite is a complex mixture of alumino-silicates, iron oxide, titanium dioxide and silica. Compared to other metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, the yield of aluminium metal from ore is very high. It requires four tonnes of bauxite to produce two tonnes of aluminium oxide, from which one tonne of aluminium metal results. For some metals, such as gold or silver, one tonne of ore might yield only a few ounces of metal. Therefore, with world production totalling 65 million tonnes of aluminium metal, the industry must mine 260 million tonnes of bauxite.

New Aluminium Diffusion Bonding Technique Developed by TWI

TWI has developed a proprietary technique that enables the successful diffusion bonding of aluminium with the ability to achieve joint strengths comparable to the heat-treated parent material, for previously investigated grades. The technique produces an autogenous joint as no interlayers or melting point suppressants are required.

A research programme has been launched to investigate the application of the technique to different aluminium alloys and other materials.

Read more: New Aluminium Diffusion Bonding Technique

Aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust

Aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust – only oxygen and silicon exist in greater amounts. Because aluminium is a reactive element, it is usually found as a highly stable complex alumino-silicate instead of in metallic form. To produce aluminium metal from such a stable compound requires complex technology and large amounts of energy. The end uses of aluminium and its alloys are many and varied, but the major ones are in transport, building and construction, packaging and electrical and mechanical engineering. Aluminium’s light weight, high strength and good corrosion resistance make it the metal of choice for all commercial and industrial engineering sectors. It is also highly recyclable without degrading quality, giving it a vital role in the burgeoning circular economy.

Whatever the origin of the aluminium, its end use is growing and there is very active trading in imported and exported aluminium products, ingot and scrap.

Aluminium – the infinitely recyclable metal


One of aluminium’s advantages over competitor materials is its capacity for repeated recycling with high recovery rates, without loss of quality. Aluminium recycling offers clear energy and environmental benefits; it requires only around five percent of the energy use and emissions associated with primary production. However, the recycling industry faces technical challenges both in making further efficiency improvements to melting and purification systems and in ensuring a steady and reliable scrap stream.

Most new aluminium scrap, also known as pre-consumer scrap, arrives at the recycling industry directly from product manufacturing. The quality and the nature of the alloy is known; in addition, it is often uncoated. This means it can then be melted with little preparation, apart perhaps from baling. Such scrap is usually collected by the re-melters in order to produce new wrought aluminium alloys.

Old aluminium scrap, also called post-consumer scrap, comes into the recycling industry via a very diversified and efficient network of metal merchants and waste management companies equipped with the technology to recover aluminium from vehicles, buildings, household goods, etc. This is often performed with heavy equipment such as shredders in parallel with magnetic separators to remove iron, sink-and-float installations or with eddy current installations to separate aluminium from other materials.

Following collection, sorting and preparation, a portion of this ‘old’ scrap is usually purchased by the refiners and is melted mainly into casting alloys, also known as foundry alloys. Refiners recycle not only scrap from end-of-life aluminium products but also scrap from foundries; turnings, skimming’s (dross), etc. A fraction of sorted and prepared scrap is purchased by the aluminium fabrication industry to feed alloy re-melting and casting facilities, ensuring a valuable closed-loop recycling and fabrication process of wrought semi–finished products.

Recyclers use a combination of rotary and reverberatory furnaces that represent about 90% of their furnace technology, while induction technology use is marginal.

The solidification process is closely related to melting and recycling and is also crucial in the aluminium value chain, playing a significant role in the productivity, quality and efficiency of production.