National based rainscreen cladding company, Sotech, has today unveiled their innovative alternative to terracotta cladding: The Optima XTR Contour range.


“This is a real breakthrough for our technical and engineering teams”, said Jamie Smith of Sotech. “Not only is this much more economical than the traditional terracotta material, it’s much more hardwearing with a faster turn-around to the natural alternative. With the incredible range of finishes available, in polyester powder coating (PPC) and anodised, you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference on a residential build or school renovation project.”


Named Contour in reference to an irregular, bespoke shape.  The inventive interlocking extrusion is produced from 6063-T6 grade aluminium and secretly fixed, onto an extruded support framework horizontally, vertically or diagonally.


“The extrusion is formed when the aluminium alloy is pushed through a die into profiles – or complex shapes – according to the architect’s vision”, said Jamie.  Like our leading secret fix product – Optima FC+ – the new Optima XTR Contour range is available in a range of finishes, depending on the shape and can be fully A1 or A2 rated.”


Available now for full specification, there are four sub-ranges available in this range: Cube, Wave, Plank and Concave.


What are the benefits of the XTR Extrusion range?

XTR Contour Extrusion rainscreen cladding is:

  • Stunning, eye catching extrusions that can be customised and designed to an architect’s very specific and unique vision.
  • Extremely hard wearing (with superior deflection and impact resistance) because it is made from extruded aluminium 6063-T6 and finished in a PPC or anodised coating. This makes it the perfect option for high traffic environments, such as school yards, residential builds and congested areas.
  • Much lighter than the traditional terracotta material, which is naturally heavy and challenging to work with because of its ‘brick-like’ qualities.
  • Highly cost effective because it is an engineered product as opposed to a naturally sourced resource. Other cost benefits are derived from the ease in which we can adapt and mould the panels, and the time savings created in the manufacturing process.
  • Extremely versatile – all commercial finishes can be incorporated on one elevation to create an almost limitless effect of colours and shapes.
  • Incredibly easy to install, leveraging an interlocking male-female joint with a secret fix. Panels are fixed using wafer head, self-tapping stainless steel screws. Planks are interlocked with a security fixing at the rail location.
  • CWCT tested, with project specific tests performed on Ferry Lane and Bath Court.


What designs are achievable with the extruded aluminium Optima XTR Contour range?

The Optima XTR Contour range can be produced in an incredible range of shapes and sizes.


As standard, Sotech is able to provide a range of dies which cover the needs of most projects. However, the expert technical team is able to produce an incredible range of dies for highly unique project builds.


“As with every project we take on”, said Jamie, “we always seek to bring the architects vision to life. If we have a template for it on the factory floor, brilliant! But if something needs to be designed, engineered or manufactured to suit a bespoke brief or challenging project, we will rise to the challenge!”


For example, Plank and Wave die was used in the creation of the XTR contour panels in Ferry Lane in London, an exciting project that regenerated the former Ferry Lane Industrial Site along Walthamstow’s High Maynard Reservoir, into an environmentally-sensitive, high-quality and sustainable Build to Rent development. As you can see in the photos, the rainscreen panels were finished in a bespoke powder ‘Ferry Red’ that creates a stunning effect throughout the day.


Likewise, Bath Court required a Cube shape and we were able create a whole new set of die’s for this project, which completed in 2020.  The all purpose-built student accommodation in Central Birmingham acts as a gateway into the city centre.  Bath Court has just been nominated in the Best New Build category in the 2021 Façade Awards.


Jamie Smith, Estimator at Sotech said of the project: “The mixture of colours and profiles used in this project gives a completely unique appearance. The tough exterior cladding will offer protection to the façade for years to come, enhanced by the paint protection of Axalta Powder.”


Work is currently ongoing on the Imperial Two building on Tottenham Court Road. This project utilises XTR Contour Concave range.   The new development, due to complete Spring 2022 is a collection of 5 high rise residential blocks, community space and commercial areas delivery 500 new homes for the emerging area.


“Interpon D Stone Effect Series looks stunning on the XTR Contour Range, the finish delivers a number of benefits compared to natural stone.   It is weathering, durable, lighter and better for the environment, promoting sustainable construction”  


Optima XTR Contour is available to view and sample at Sotech’s manufacturing plant and at  The Building Centre in London. If you’d like to see this range, and the wider innovative Optima range of rainscreen cladding solutions for your next project, click here to book a video call with an expert member of our team.