Hydro made its first meaningful move into the aluminium building systems business in 1984, when it acquired Integral Profilsystem AB in Sweden. Twenty-five years later, the Åseda-based firm is still serving customers in Scandinavia with highly competitive aluminium systems.
Today, Hydro is one of the largest and most innovative aluminium building systems companies in the world. It serves markets with differentiated systems from three global brands – Domal, Technal and Wicona – and the regional brand Alumafel.
In an area where wood has long been the material of choice for buildings, particularly residences, some might consider it ironic that Hydro’s long ride in the aluminium systems business started in the Swedish countryside, amid the forests of Åseda, with Integral.
Slow start, growing ambitions
This was Hydro’s first real step into the systems business, and it was not easy.
At the time, Hydro was accustomed to the general extrusion business, and the systems industry was so different – and its experience with Integral so mixed - that company management decided to slow down and take time to figure out where it wanted to go with building systems. Consequently, when Alcan asked Hydro to take over Technal in 1986, together with five of their extrusion plants, Hydro said no.
But it went fairly fast from there, historically speaking. Hydro took an ownership stake in Wicona in 1988, then full ownership in 1991. Technal joined in 2002, and Alumafel last year.
Ten years ago, the Swedish unit put away its local systems and turned to Wicona-brand systems, mainly the brand’s new façade system. It has been delivering Wicona-brand doors, windows and sliders in