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‘In those days there was only one roller size offered...’

Domestic BlindLouvolite discusses  the evolution of its roller blind programme from its first introduction in 1988 to today’s  programme which reflects the changes needed by today’s professional blind maker


Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister and Paddy Ashdown had just been elected as Leader of the then Liberal party. Wimbledon had amazed everyone by winning the FA Cup. The first ever Red Nose Day had taken place and raised what was in those days a staggering £15million for charity and Whitney Houston was top of the pops with her song ‘One moment in time’.

The Year was 1988 and perhaps not surprisingly, going quietly unnoticed by the world popular press, Louvolite introduced its first version of the Louvolite roller blind programme and manufacturing system at the BBSA exhibition at the Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. A Louvolite ‘workstation’ was set up and a member of the Louvolite team was continuously making blinds to present the manufacturing method to the trade. In those days there was only one roller size offered and this was typically geared for use with blinds made for the domestic market.

In the 1990s the Louvolite roller system really started to come of age with the introduction of the three key foundation systems that still drive the programme today; system 32, 40 and 45. These three systems were designed around the same operating platform but provided differing performance levels to allow blinds of differing weights and sizes to be operated simply and effectively. The fully integrated manufacturing method, allowing blinds to be assembled without the need for sewing or gluing, was refined still further and the roller blind had suddenly become a star. No more wooden or – worse still – fibre rollers; instead an aluminium tube perfectly designed to receive the appropriate end set and a fabric locking system simple to use and effective in use.

Chain operated systems became the product of choice and - frankly - remain so. Louvolite’s sprung loaded idle end allowed for far easier and faster installation and also gave a degree of comfort for those odd measuring mistakes. It has to be said that in those bygone days the roller blind was probably viewed as a domestic product by the vast majority of blind makers.

Roller Blind ComponentsFast forward now to the 21st Century
We have had a Labour Prime Minister for the past 15 years or so, Wimbledon has now moved and is called Milton Keynes Dons, Whitney Houston has not been heard to sing in years and £15million wouldn’t provide a decent pension for an outgoing bank administrator!

Roller blinds however still play a huge part for architects and specifiers too.

The original Louvolite programme has evolved to reflect the changes needed by today’s professional blindmaker. Workstations have grown in size to allow ease of manufacture for those larger blinds found in commercial installations. Tube designs, whilst still using the preferred aluminium, have been modified to allow them to receive some of the thicker sunscreen fabrics being requested.

The Louvolite operating systems are still familiar but are now known as SC Series 32, 40, 45 and 45+. The operating units allow consistently smooth operation over a wide variety of sizes and weights of product with aluminium deflection performance being fine tuned to comply with operational efficiency and preferred operator pull force values for ease of use.

Louvolite has refined its manufacturing and assembly techniques to incorporate the most modern and effective injection moulding facilities used in combination with thermoplastic engineering materials that are specially selected to ensure high performance.

In addition, Louvolite uses robotic assembly procedures to ensure consistency of product production and performance.  Manufacturing batches from the Louvolite SC Series are randomly selected to undergo 10 year cycle tests at the Louvolite R&D test centre; it is this attention to detail that maintains the high customer satisfaction level.

In addition to the standard units, blind manufacturers can now incorporate spring assist units with slide and lock technology to further reduce the efforts required to raise larger heavier blinds.

Recent developments to create link drive and multi link drive systems with independent or common control options provide installation solutions to previously challenging situations. Where motorisation is required for either individual operation of to be used in conjunction with computer controlled building management systems Louvolite SC Series can be driven by Somfy motor systems.

Recent advances to provide multiple drive units for manual or powered drive operation further enhance the offering and a totally revised Architect specification sheet summarising the options available through accredited Louvolite manufacturers is about to be issued. The Louvolite product is also viewed on the Royal Institute of British Architects web site and the Louvolite web site. A special place must too be reserved for the Perfect Fit roller blind. This product has – with the other family of Perfect Fit products – transformed the industry and created a new benchmark for others to try and follow. If the conditions allow it is quite simply the best way to install roller blinds to double glazed windows.

Domestically Louvolite products still remain the product of choice by blindmakers and their customers alike. The choices available to allow the consumer to personalise their blind are greater than ever as too are the fantastic array of fabric choices that Louvolite offers. Success however can bring with it a number of issues that have to be considered. The Louvolite product is so successful because it has been proven to perform consistently and without creating problems either for the consumer or the blind maker  – this is true at both domestic and commercial levels. Because of that success the Louvolite systems have spawned a number of lookalike products that are not manufactured by Louvolite and are in no way connected to the company. These lookalike products are available in Asia and are now being made available within the U.K – make sure that when you specify a Louvolite product that’s exactly what you get and not a wannabe.

So there you have it – a potted history of the Louvolite roller blind programme.



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