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Best of both worlds – how West Port combines traditional joinery with state-of-the-art manufacturing

Combining time-honoured craftsmanship with cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Cumbria’s West Port Windows & Doors offers something unique in UK glazing – entirely bespoke, best-in-class timber window and door products, available in volumes that no traditional joinery can match.

 It’s that balance of the best aspects of large and small-scale fabrication that’s allowed the Maryport firm to thrive over the last twenty years – not just becoming one of the UK’s biggest and most respected timber fabricators, but also a key part of VKR Holding, the fenestration powerhouse behind Velfac and Velux.

 Today, the firm employs more than 180 craftsmen and technicians, and operates from a 175,000-square foot factory kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, the result of a far-sighted attitude that’s seen it invest extensively in boosting efficiency, improving quality and helping it continue to stand out from the crowd.

 Wide product range

 The company’s product range is among the widest of any timber fabricator in the industry, encompassing everything from casement, vertical-sliding sash, tilt and turn windows and entrance doors to a variety of more complicated products like French doors, in-line sliding patio doors and aluminium-clad composite windows.

 But it’s the level of service West Port provides, and the lengths it goes to offer its customers the best possible products at the best possible prices, that place it among the top fabricators in the UK.

 High-tech paint plant

Take painting, for example. Most timber manufacturers have to get their products painted by hand spraying– increasing lead times, and adding pounds to the cost of every product they make.

 West Port, on the other hand, can boast one of only two high-tech electrostatic paint plants in the UK – the other is owned by global car giant Jaguar. With it, the firm can apply 10-12 coats in a single pass – and any waste paint is recollected and used as the basecoat for other products, making savings that West Port then passes on to its customers.

 What’s more, the company has its own highly advanced paint mixing facility. By taking samples of a desired colour, then running it through a spectrometer, the device can exactly replicate it. So far, the company has produced 175,000 different colour combinations.

 Experienced joinery team

 But while West Port’s Cumbria headquarters plays host to the most advanced modern manufacturing, it’s also home to craftsmanship at its purest and most traditional. The company employs six highly experienced joiners to work on the most bespoke and intricate projects, enabling it to produce anything from wildly unusual custom creations to identical copies of hundred-year-old heritage windows, right down to specific sash horn shapes and other unique quirks, particular to the original designer.

 “At West Port, we’ve dedicated ourselves to becoming as lean and efficient as possible, so we can offer our customers the best value and service as possible,” comments Managing Director Sean Parnaby.

 “From start to finish, our manufacturing process takes place under one roof. Quality slow-grown timber comes in at one end of the factory – and expertly crafted windows and doors come out the other. Through VKR Holding, we’re able to buy directly from lumber mills, minimising costs for us and our customers, and all painting and finishing takes place on site.

 “Unlike a lot of our competitors, we haven’t shifted production abroad – 100% of the products we make are crafted here in Cumbria, something that not only provides nearly two hundred skilled manufacturing jobs, but is going to become increasingly important after Brexit.

 “And, all the time, we’re seeing more and more installers wake up to the benefits of modern engineered timber. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about how timber-alternative PVCu products offer all the benefits of wood, without any of the drawbacks – but with modern timber, there are no drawbacks. It’s the strongest, greenest, longest-lasting window fenestration material of them all – and, to the trade, offers fantastic opportunities to appeal to high-end users, improve their margins, and grow their businesses.” 

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