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Windows Furnishing Australia Cover Article 2019

26 May 2019

Five years since the merger of Acmeda and Rollease, a lot has changed inside and outside the company.

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"Development is in our DNA, the company is not only built on it, but has been built around it." 

Five years since the merger of Acmeda and Rollease, a lot has changed inside and outside the company.

“When we joined forces, we had a very similar focus and were both very clutch-orientated companies. However, we were separated by 17,000km and had differing market landscape and teams. The greatest challenge was the transition to become one company. In the beginning we probably spent too much time looking backwards instead of forwards and what really brought the company together was not the individual legacy product ranges that everyone was so passionate about, but the new technology and industry that was emerging around us,” says Adam Licciardi, Rollease Acmeda’s CMO.

The introduction of smart technology has propelled the window furnishing industry into the trajectory of the booming tech market and has consequently set the foundation for the company, moving forward. “What ultimately unified us was the focus on a common product, developed together, forming a global goal. The collaboration of Rollease Acmeda shifted towards defining the future of technology in blinds, rather than continuing the path the once-single entities were following on their lonesome,” continues Licciardi. “Tech industry giants like Apple, Amazon and Google were in their infancy of smart home automation when we first merged. Products like AppleHomekit, Alexa and Google Assistant were all very new or non-existent, and the market did not fully comprehend the change that was coming.”

Since then, Rollease Acmeda has expanded its research and development facility at the Melbourne office to include a team of dedicated electronic engineers. The team is focussed on developing its automation program, working on smart home automation products for blinds, and expanding its product range and footprint in automation in general. “To see now it is intuitive to raise and control your shades with voice command is a mammoth shift in the way blinds are viewed. We are committed to developing this experience,” explains Licciardi.

SuperExpo2019 marks the launch of its brand new Automate suite. The largest launch the company has faced in motorisation, since its initial launch of the motorisation program at SuperExpo2013. In the six years since the last show the company has grown into an international motorisation and hardware specialist.

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"Native integration for Apple, Google and Amazon will be a game changer for the window furnishing industry." 

Smarter Shades

Launching at SuperExpo2019 in June, Rollease Acmeda will be releasing its new generation of motorisation. The new Automate range will include updated and innovative wire-free li-ion motors , a modern remote control, cutting-edge solar panel and a brand-new Pulse hub with updated smart software.

Designed in California, the new Pulse 2 not only embraces a strong sense of modern design in its angled exterior but introduces the latest in smart home integrations. “After constant queries and a clear priority for our customers, we can finally reveal that Apple HomeKit is coming. People have been wondering whether or not we will be integrating with the service for a while, and we’re excited to reveal that we are,” says Stefan Botha, Automate Product Manager. The native integration with Apple allows users to control their Automate shades directly through Siri and across the entire range of Apple’s devices, whether it be an iPhone, iPad, the HomePod speaker or even the Apple Watch. Similarly, the now native Google Assistant integration, will be a first for the hub, allowing android users to control their shades with voice commands straight from any Android device. Previous smart home integrations with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and numerous smart home platforms, are all being carried over to the new hub as well. Upon the release of the new hub, an updated mobile app will be released to both Android and iOS devices. The updated app enables sophisticated control options straight from any smart device, allowing users to set even more schedules, timers, scenes and organise their shades by rooms and groups for ultimate customisation, quickly and conveniently. Rollease Acmeda will be showcasing the entirety of the integrations and app alongside its new Pulse 2 at SuperExpo2019.

The new motorisation suite has a clear focus on design, technology and function, innovatively redeveloping the first-generation of products. Major changes to the shape of the motor head ensure it remains completely invisible to the untrained eye, when installed. The revolutionary new Wire-Free series also effectively hides the once visible antenna, by cradling the cable around the circumference of the slim motor head. The upgraded motor also replaces the previous-generation charging cable with convenient 5V micro-USB charging, allowing the new series to be free of all traditionally visible cables, permitting the first truly “wire free” motor, as well as improving overall convenience for users when needing to charge their motor. To further enhance the motor’s contemporary aesthetic, the Wire-Free series will include an unobtrusive motor cap, designed to cover the motor head and match the shade bracket in colour, enabling a minimal aesthetic and a completely concealed motor. The new motors are noticeably quieter, slimmer and incorporate a new-found elegance with ‘soft close’ technology. Soft close slows the motion of the shade resulting in a quiet, gliding finish at the end of the shade’s movement. “These new motors enhance the form and function of our current motorisation range, allowing all our customers, whether it be an end user, fabricator or installer, to benefit from the changes we’ve made. We’ve ensured the dimensions of our motors mirror those of a manual shade, so now retrofitting a motor in an existing shade is extremely simple and efficient, allowing users to upgrade their shades more easily than ever, without the need of an electrician,” explains Botha.

Automate’s redesigned brand identity will be reflected throughout all the upcoming products, each being a testimony to a modern and minimalistic aesthetic. Included as part of the launch is the all new remote control and Solar Panel. The new remote has been beautifully designed by a leading industrial design company in Silicon Valley, will be available in either white, or black and features a tactile, physical button layout to ensure ease of use. Rollease Acmeda will also be launching a completely redesigned Automate Solar Panel. The new panel will have a minimal look and feel, coupled with better power conversion, better performance in low light environments and overall increased efficiency, all while maintaining an unobtrusive presence when installed.

Rollease Acmeda’s Automate launch positions the brand to be a leader in automation in the window furnishing industry.

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"We’re constantly updating,  upgrading and bringing out new products. We’re passionate about  developing market-leading  technology that adds value for our customers, and in turn their  customers." 

The Evolution of Externals

Last year saw the release of the updated Zipscreen website, along with dedicated social media channels to help support its growing number of producers and retailers. Now at SuperExpo, Rollease Acmeda will be launching its revolutionary locking system for Zipscreen, the New Ultra-Lock. “The innovation will allow us to integrate lock functionality directly into the side channels, keeping the latch hidden, and the overall aesthetic of the shade to remain clean and modern.” says Aidan Schofield, Externals Product Manager. The New Ultra-Lock also features self-correcting technology, which acts as a failsafe for the Zipscreen system. Now, if only one side of the shade engages, then simply lowering the weight bar will “reset” the locks, to ensure the weight bar can be raised and then locked succinctly, all in one swift action. The New Ultra-lock is sure to be a significant attraction at Rollease Acmeda’s SuperExpo stand. Together with the new lock, aiming to cater the growing market demand for completely transparent external solutions, Zipscreen will also be displayed with its new clear PVC configuration.

Designed by world renowned, Italian industrial designer Mario Mazzer, Rollease Acmeda’s beautiful new awning, Feng, will be displayed at the show. Feng will be Rollease Acmeda’s new flagship awning. Featuring an elegantly designed, rounded aluminium enclosed cassette and the capacity to span an impressive 14 metres in width with a 3.7m projection, the awning is just as versatile as it is aesthetic. “We’ve Integrated LED lighting to ensure the awning can easily be used throughout the day and night, effortlessly transitioning at the flick of a switch.”

New to the range, Rollease Acmeda will also be launching its horizontal awning solution, Frame. The first of its kind for the company, Frame is a retractable roofing skylight system, built to protect from sun and rain. Designed with a durable and fully-enclosed cassette, the Frame system attaches to existing conservatories and pergolas to create a perfectly sheltered area, completely protected all year round. “The Frame is a high-performance system that spans sizes of up to six metres by six metres. Frame also features a premium tensioning system, powered by high-pressure gas springs/struts and is compatible with our signature side-guide technology, zLock.”

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"Child-safety is our number one  concern, and as such, we  continue to dedicate resources to the research and design of  products that effectively reduce the hazards associated with  window furnishings" 

RESPONSIBILITY IN THE REDUCTION OF HAZARDS

As technology advances, the issues relating to child-safety are slowly starting to be resolved. Rollease Acmeda has been one of the biggest advocates of this movement and has designed, developed and released numerous systems that eliminate the hazards associated with traditional chain-controlled systems. Aside from motorisation, which removes manual controls completely, Rollease Acmeda has introduced several innovations to replace the chain. Comprised of the Easy Spring series and Aero Chain-Free, the company’s increasingly-popular child-safety suite will have a dedicated section at its SuperExpo2019 stand.

Rollease Acmeda’s Easy Spring Series showcases two distinct products- the Easy Spring Wand and the Easy Spring Ultra. Each tackles child safety by removing the traditional chain-loop associated with rollers of this calibre. The Easy Spring Wand eliminates the need for free-hanging cords or chains and allows a seamless one-handed operation via the unobtrusive and stylish wand, which is especially perfect for high shade installations, aiding in accessibility. Thanks to its advanced clutch configuration, ESW also features hem bar override operation, granting users two points of control. Both systems utilise Rollease Acmeda’s auto-rise functionality, ensuring easy control at the light touch of the hem bar or wand, creating a refined experience, and smooth operation.

Along with the Easy Spring Series, Rollease Acmeda’s Aero Chain-Free is the company’s answer to a child-safe dual shade system. Once again replacing the chain with hem bar operation, the Aero, just like its Easy Spring counterparts, features the convenience of auto-rise functionality, a 6-step limiter, and a built-in decelerator, with the addition of one-touch limit setting, making the installation process of the “reinvented dual shade system” extraordinarily simple.

The semi-automatic nature of this child safe suite truly adds an element of class to a category of products that is increasingly growing in importance. “Thanks to the emergence of motorisation, and our semi-automatic operating systems, we’ve started to slowly build the path to a completely child-safe future,” says Licciardi.

The entire suite of child-safe solutions will be on display at SuperExpo2019. Rollease Acmeda will be ensuring the products are showcased and the issue of child-safety is spotlighted through the course of the event, adding a dedicated section and staff to help educate those who attend the expo on exactly how its products function and why Rollease Acmeda is a key player in the child-safe category as much as it is in every other category in the industry.