As the window coverings market changes from primarily a fashion-driven market to a combination of fashion and technology, forward-looking dealers (professionals) are preparing to take advantage. The opportunities for growth created by the trend toward motorization are truly significant. The time to participate is now.
To become a successful and profitable motorization source for your
consumer base, projects must be carried through from A through Z.
This means from recommendation of the proper solution (see “The
ABCs of Motorized Window Covering, Part 1,” D&WC, March
2005, page 58) through specification (see Part 2, D&WC, June
2005, page 48) to the successful conclusion of the final completion
phase. Proper planning and preparation are essential ingredients
for a successful execution and to attain the ultimate goal—creating
a satisfied customer while making a profit.
A systematic work-through of the following four successive phases
will help ensure that this goal can be reached:
1. Proper scheduling of all installation facets.
2. Careful analysis of site characteristics.
3. Detailed coordination with subcontractors and client.
4. Walk-through and punch out.
Traditionally, window coverings are installed during the final phase
of a new construction or renovation project. However motorization
requires power sources and, in many instances, some form of wiring
for control systems. If architects and designers are involved, this
will often have been considered. But in many instances the window
coverings expert will be called in to make recommendations, and
frequently this happens late in the game. Then it becomes even more
important to make the right recommendation, and it will be prudent
to call your BTX consultant at this point.
Some of the work might require an electrician, and in some instances
it may be necessary to interact with a local operating control network.
Some suppliers of networks may try to steer your customer toward
using a motorized treatment system that the suppliers can provide
themselves, under the pretext that this is the only way to control
the window treatment system. This will seldom be a valid argument.
BTX offers interfaces to connect with virtually any local operating
network. In most cases the motorized window treatment systems that
network suppliers can offer will be significantly more expensive
than those of BTX and quite limited in their operating characteristics.
Now it is important to agree on timing with the client and the subcontractor
parties involved. To ensure that you can stick to the schedule,
place your order for the motorized systems in a timely manner and
specify the date and place for delivery. Remember that the systems
will be custom-built to your exact specifications.
Make sure your order is complete, including the controls. If the
installation date changes, contact your consultant so he or she
can try to move you up or down in the production schedule, as appropriate.
Because motorized systems are relatively expensive, you would like
to avoid having these stored at an active construction site too
Analysis of Site Characteristics
This activity consists of two parts, the pre-installation characteristics,
which have to be dealt with at the negotiation and bidding stage,
and the on-site installation characteristics, which impact on the
actual work done at the site.
The pre-installation characteristics deal with the physical layout
of the site. It is important to carefully evaluate the site for
its logistics at the very beginning of your discussions with the
client. Conditions there can have a major impact on the cost of
doing the job. Make sure you have made careful notes of any special
requirements such as ladders, scaffolds and the like that will be
needed to complete the project.
Do not forget the importance of access to the actual point of installation.
In many cases motorized systems are destined for large windows.
Large curved drapery systems may require a clear access path, without
obstruction by equipment or furniture. When installing on upper
floors, special reservations for elevators may be necessary.
BTX products invariably represent considerable dollar value. They
are carefully packaged and shipped in protective crating. Make sure
to time delivery properly so the product can be received, unpacked,
checked and, if necessary, safely stored prior to installation.
Smooth on-site installation can often be accomplished by means of
As a rule motorized systems are installed in upper end applications
and in combination with treatments of above-average value. Make
sure your installers are fully aware of the importance that you
and your client attach to their work. They are key professionals
and should look that way. Make sure that they as well as the client
understand the scope of your installation task and that of the electrician
and other subcontractors. One of the key elements a motorization
installer must have is a systems test cable. Also take care of details,
making sure tool kits are complete, well organized, clean and in
good condition (the right drill bits, screwdriver inserts, etc.).
Utmost consideration must be given to the client’s environment,
so use protective shoeware, cover sensitive floors and drape nearby
Good coordination between you as provider of the motorized window
coverings system and other subcontractors is essential for smooth
and efficient overall installation. If there is a general contractor
on the project, it will usually be his responsibility to set the
timetable for completion of the various tasks. As the window coverings
sub, you will normally have to deal with the electrician on the
job. Make sure you get all the pertinent wiring schematics from
BTX to the electrician in a timely manner. For new construction
this must take place before the walls are sealed up. For retrofits
the electrician will either break into a wall to pull new wire that
you specified or “fish” from one point to another. Either
way, the schematics will be imperative for proper completion of
a project. Electricians often are not aware that AC motors for window
coverings require four lead wires to be able to change operating
direction between open and close. Make sure you hook up to the wiring
Often motorization is installed in wired or “smart”
homes. In this case not only will you have to interact with the
electrician, but also with the AV or lighting control sub. Before
the installation and before he wires his portion of the project,
have a detailed conversation with him to ensure that each party
is covering all of his or her responsibilities.
Walk-Through, Punch Out
In many cases motorized systems are operated by BTX controls.
These may be self-standing, wired or remote or function by means
of BTX group control networks. In these situations it is important
to check each operating system by itself, using a test cable. Ensure
that operating directions and stopping points are as specified.
Deviations can easily be adjusted by following the written instructions
provided. Depending on site conditions, the actual treatment may
be installed either prior to this or afterward.
The next step is to hook up to the operating controls and to re-check
the overall system on its operation. Although problems at this point
are rare, any flaws in third-party in-building wiring will now be
detected and must be corrected by the third party prior to the final
walk-through and punch out. The test cable check of separate systems
will identify and isolate such problems, preventing future headaches.
When hooking BTX systems up to control networks wired by third parties,
it is very important to check each motorized treatment separately
for proper operation before connecting it to any control system.
This permits any last minute fine-tuning of end stops, etc., and
provides proof that the product you provided is sound. Technically,
you have now delivered all your systems to specification and should
be ready for the walk-through and punch out. However, the client
expects the delivery of the overall operating system, including
the motorized systems and the operating control network, to work
together as one overall unit. It is important that each party understands
the full extent of its responsibility to contribute to a quick and
To achieve this, connect each motorized treatment system one at
a time to the wiring of the control or building network. Then disconnect
the first system and connect the next, repeating the sequence for
each system until each has been tested individually. Depending on
the agreement concerning who does what, the representative of that
network should either handle this or be there when the connection
is made to make sure each system individually has worked as specified
with the network. Complete the installation by hooking up all systems
to the network. This will ensure that the overall system operates
to satisfaction. You are now ready for a flawless final walk-through
and punch out.
BTX supplies fabricators, assemblers and workrooms throughout the
country with a complete, exclusive program of motors, controls and
hardware components needed to build automated traversing, roller,
lift and lift/tilt systems. The company excels in providing customized
solutions for hardware and control systems, as well as a broad range
of off-the-shelf hardware. Contact BTX at (800) 422-8839, or www.btxinc.com.