“There is always demand for high-quality products”
CEO of Alborz Aluminum Complex in an Interview with FelezatOnline:

“There is always demand for high-quality products”

The aluminum sheet and profile industry has been one of the developing industries in the country for decades. Although the industry has been hurt by negative competition, unhealthy economy, lack of definitive standards, etc. and many producers have had to resort to low-quality raw materials, some companies such as Alborz Aluminum Complex have been able to not only ramp up sales, but also improve the quality of its products and diversify its product portfolio in order to boost customer satisfaction. We have interviewed Mohammad Bakhshi, CEO of Alborz Aluminum Complex, for this issue’s Insider Talk.

Please give our readers a background of the company.

Alborz Aluminum Complex started the production of painted aluminum sheets and profiles in 1361. To further support domestic industrial development, the company’s operations have been expanded to include different types of finishes such as anodizing, powder coating, sublimation, etc. High quality, customer satisfaction, compliance with international standards, and gaining access to global markets are among the company’s goals.

Our production capacity exceeds 5,000 tonnes per annum, but there have recently been measures to ramp up production and boost quality.

How do you evaluate the current market conditions?

The country’s economy and market have been in stagflation over the recent years due to political issues; however, rather than taking things for granted, we have always tried to define our own conditions. Thus, with innovation in the different types of finishes, we achieved our goals for 1398 and are now moving on to 1399 targets, which include boosting quality, ramping up production, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Despite the unfavorable market conditions, our 40-history suggests that as we go forward, consumers will better recognize the quality of our products. Therefore, we are certain that demand for high-quality products and services will grow.

Given the domestic economic conditions, which of your products do you think will be more successful?

Currently, with the state of the economy, producers that have absolutely committed themselves to creating value and producing high-quality, durable products will always be able to continue their operations; experts and consumers will be trying to find and provide the highest quality with growing information. Customers are also trying to find the highest-quality products, never buying solely based on price and always prioritizing quality.

If price is the only consideration when buying products or services, one will have to pay the costs of maintenance or having to buy again; buying cheap, low-quality products will end up costing far more than top-quality products.

Do you have any exports?

Since we trade on a B2B basis without direct contact with end users, we don’t have any marketing for end products. However, our products have always been designed with exports in mind. We have exported indirectly to Sweden, Germany, the UK, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Oman, etc. But I have to say that the current regulations and policies are not supporting exports.

For instance, Alborz Aluminum used to export to Sweden through air transportation and as manufacturers of doors and windows in Sweden say, our products are better than the German Schüco’s. Despite the various issues due to the sanctions, exports continue through alternative routes; our latest delivery to Sweden was in March this year. Yet if the regulations had been easier, we would have performed much better in exports.

What is the most common technology for producing aluminum extrusions in Iran? How does the industry compare on a global scale?

The technology is from the 1350s. Due to the depreciation of the rial, most industry participants have not been able to upgrade their machinery despite making every effort.

Currently, there is only one European pressing machine and extrusion production line with the latest technology and DIN EN 12020-2 standards operating in Iran, which uses primary billets, Italian molds, and an isothermal process.

Are doors and windows produced in accordance with standards in Iran?

Standards have been defined for the production of doors and windows, which are the same as common European standards (the equivalent of BS 4873 in the UK), but with the plans of the standard workgroup of the association for doors, windows, and façades, massive efforts are being made to improve the quality of doors and windows. There is negative competition throughout the market and with the lack of proper technical and quality supervision, critical standards are being ignored.

For instance, some producers and importers are jeopardizing the safety and health of citizens; they are importing or producing thermal break profiles with sub-standard PVC or polyamide strips as well as finishes, paints, and anodizing that fail to pass minimum quality tests. Thus, the coatings and finishes will be damaged in months or years. In addition to the extra costs incurred on consumers, such products are defacing aluminum products in the eyes of consumers. Of course, there are companies that can produce windows in accordance with global quality requirements.

Do you have any plans to diversify your product portfolio?

Alborz Aluminum Complex has the widest range of finishes in the Middle East, including over 70 anodizing colors and patterns, over 30 sublimation colors and patterns, and in excess of 2,000 powder coating colors and patterns. Architects and designers are free to choose from these finishes for their modern, traditional, or combined designs in order to meet the demands of different tastes while complying with quality requirements.

How important are finishes on aluminum profiles?

As you might already know, international experts believe that finishes and coatings are the most significant factors that affect consumers’ conception of quality. Thus, Alborz Aluminum Complex has focused on finishes. We have developed this part of the production process to lift it up to the latest quality standards.

Anodizing is the most popular finish; if done with high-quality raw materials and standard processes, the useful life of anodizing finishes can be more than 10 times greater than other finishes such as powder coating and sublimation. To better grasp the superiority of anodizing, it helps to know that the ceramic coating has a melting point of over 2,000°C.

Another advantage of anodizing over other types of finishes is that anodized products ensure the consumer that the alloy or profile meets minimum quality and technical standards; in powder coatings, however, the quality of the profile underneath cannot easily be determined. Powder coating can be used on sub-standard profiles, which will be subject to corrosion within a year or two.

Alborz Aluminum Complex offers anodizing-finished products with 20-year warranties, while our powder coating and sublimation have 10-year warranties.

What environmental considerations are observed in the anodizing process?

Tailings from the anodizing process are filtered and the resulting salts are sold to chemicals plants.

One of the advantages of using the services of Alborz Aluminum is that all considerations in terms of health, safety, and the environment are observed with a comprehensive management, environmental parameters, and minute observation of standards through a preventive, voluntary approach.

Other than raw materials, what is the largest cost item?

In addition to procuring raw materials and European machinery, costs related to the recruitment and regular training of professional workforce including experts and technicians in planning, production, quality control, R&D, etc. take the largest share in production costs.

What gives Alborz Aluminum a competitive edge over its rivals?

Alborz Aluminum has the first extra-fine matte finish shot blasting line in Iran; it also has the first and only aluminum profile grinding line that can create special scratched designs.

Alborz Aluminum Complex is the first supplier of scratch-resistant anodized aluminum profiles in the Middle East as well as white sublimation coating. We can also create powder coating textures and mattes with special effects. Moreover, our services have been certified by the quality management system and customer satisfaction.

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