Shower enclosure design is constantly evolving and every shape, height and width required is now available – and with so many options. One of the major developments over the last 10 years has been the options now available in glass thickness. Twenty years ago, standard enclosures were using 4mm thick toughened safety glass, but now in 2021 the majority of options are available in 6mm or 8mm glass – and there are also a significant number of options using 10mm thick toughened safety glass. Many of the higher value and design led options feature frameless glass – but in reality, the overall volumes of fully frameless units are low. The installation of frameless units is slow and must be precise involving specialist tools such as torque wrenches. The mass market takes into account adjustment for out of true walls and also offers the installer a much more straightforward installation method with a framed unit.
As glass thicknesses have increased, fully framed units using 6mm or 8mm glass have got heavier. The obvious consequence of this weight increase is that the vast majority of sliding door systems would now be classified as a two-man lift. Furthermore, as sizes have increased above the once set norm of 1200mm width, units at 1400mm, 1600mm or 1700mm are now commonplace as many consumers are adding larger units or simply replacing baths. Apart from being two-man lifts, these larger units are extremely difficult to manoeuvre into properties, up a flight of stairs, and particularly around small bathrooms during installation. Demand for such units is only getting stronger, so manufacturers have to innovate to eliminate these problems and offer simple solutions. Roman has successfully done this with the new Fast Fix assembly system.
As the leading UK and European manufacturer, Roman has developed and launched Fast Fix assembly systems across four key volume ranges. All Roman products are made in Britain at a 400,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Roman’s team of six product designers were tasked with solving this issue and worked with the installation division to test and trial the solution. Roman products are the choice of many of Britain’s major housebuilders and Roman also operates successfully with most of the independent merchant sector and their huge installer base. The main volume ranges for Roman’s trade offer and the majority of the housebuilding business is now covered with Fast Fix assembly. The system is now operating throughout the Haven 6 and Haven 8 ranges across all Sliding Doors and Quadrant enclosures; throughout the Embrace range; and now across the Innov8 Sliding Door and Quadrant options.
What the Roman designers have done is to essentially turn the fully framed units into modular sections. A Sliding Door is now in two sections with an assembled door and an assembled panel packed separately – with the top and bottom rails unattached. Immediately, this makes handling and manoeuvering much easier and safer. Once the unit is in position for installation the process is extremely simple. Many products on the market require full assembly on site and the product to be laid flat as the frame is assembled – not so with the new Roman system. The wall profiles would be secured to the wall in the standard manner, the side panel is easily attached to the top and bottom rails which now have slotted sections. The screws are already in place in the top and bottom rails and these would be then dropped into the slots and quickly secured with the turn of a screwdriver. Likewise, the door would be attached to the other end of the top and bottom rails, and the unit can then be secured into the wall profiles, adjusted and then fixed – ready to be sealed and in use. The same system operates across all four ranges and is identical on Sliding Doors and Quadrants – the only difference being that Quadrant doors would be installed separately once the mainframe is in place. An extremely simple system which speeds up and simplifies installation – whilst also making handling vastly easier.
There are many other installation innovations from Roman. The Liberty range operates at the higher end of the retail market and within the luxury project sector. The framing is more minimal and there are five metal colour options across the enclosure range. Customers are paying a premium for colour finishes, yet the minimal frames could potentially largely disappear under silicone after sealing. Liberty offers a silicone free vertical sealing system – hydro-active tapes sit between the glass and the frame and the frame and the wall - and as a result no silicone needs to be applied once the enclosure is fully installed. This eliminates a whole process for the installer – but of course offers a huge visual benefit for the consumer.
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