Kiwi firm enters billion dollar cladding industry with non-combustible product


A Kiwi company is entering the global building market, launching an aluminium cladding system that is very competitively priced but, most importantly, is safer.

Called ZX Panel, the easy-to-install system has a worldwide design registration and pending global patents.

The system is also one of the global solutions for preventing exterior fires to buildings, as ZX Panel is pure aluminium and does not contain any composites, which are flammable.

Many apartments and medium-rise buildings in New Zealand currently use composite claddings, which are flammable.

National manager Tony Longhurst says the product is the only fire-resistant product of its kind in New Zealand.

It has been thoroughly tested, and passed all of the relevant independent tests to ensure maximum safety and product preference, including fire,” Mr Longhurst says.

ZX Panel owner Len Helms has spent the past five years working on creating the breakthrough system. He has worked in the building industry for 40 years, and was frustrated by the high cost of aluminium claddings, and had major safety concerns.

“We have spent thousands of hours dreaming, researching, debating, tinkering, assembling and testing our product,” Mr Helms says.

“Our end goal has always been to help the person building a house or a medium-rise building to try and bring down the cost while offering an aesthetic design look, and to ensure weathertightness and be non-combustible — and we have definitely achieved that.”

The product comes in a combination of 400 colours, is approved for residential homes up to 10m high, and is pending for medium rises up to 25m.

Recognising the inherent weakness of typical composite cladding systems that rely on silicone adhesives, ZX Panel set out to create a better, low maintenance, non-combustible, weathertight, cavity-based cladding system.

Designed from the ground up, the system comprises a 2mm-thick powder coated aluminium panel that is clipped into specially engineered aluminium extrusions, creating a reliable, robust cladding system.

Unlike most aluminium panels on the market, ZX Panel panels are the negative detail, giving it a modern design look.

“It is designed for our country’s weather conditions, and is brilliant news for coastal buildings as aluminium doesn’t rust,” Mr Longhurst says.

The system is made from 100% recyclable aluminium. “The company Altus, located in Hamilton, extrude and produce all our products, then powder coat the necessary items visibly exposed. They provide a 15-year paint and product warranty,” Mr Helms says.

The web site,, allows consumers to mix and match multiple colours of the product and clip on covers on a model house, giving them hundreds of choices.

A sophisticated ordering system enables people to order online or through Carters, PlaceMakers and ITM New Zealand.

ZX Panel can also arrange installation solutions by having a network of approved installers throughout the country.

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