If the custom electronics community needed any indication about how bullish the prospects are for continued growth in the motorized shade market, look no further than Lutron Electronics. The Coopersburg, Pa.-based leader in lighting controls and automated shading solutions announced significant expansion plans for its automated shade manufacturing operations.
The company plans to build an additional state-of-the-art, 145,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to increase capacity and support category growth among the professional installer community. Construction will begin in Ashland, Virginia, in fall 2022, and the new facility will be fully operational by early 2024.
Lutron already has a sizeable shade factory in Ashland, and Lutron President Ed Blair tells CE Pro the new facility will be adjacent to the existing one, enabling the company to build a campus-like environment. Besides the two Ashland facilities, Lutron also owns a factory in Chihuahua, Mexico, that is also dedicated to shades.
When the new facility is online, it will mean Lutron’s shade manufacturing capacity will be 30% to 50% higher than it is today, which will result in reduced lead times for CE pros ordering products, according to Blair.
“We wanted to make sure that we built a factory that was big enough to handle the anticipated growth,” he adds.
Blair says the new facility will focus on the “center of the road” shading products that are most in demand.
The Chihuahua facility will focus on Lutron’s core commercial and battery-based shade solutions, while the existing Ashland factory will become a specialty shop that can deliver unique solutions for integrators, such as odd-shaped windows or curved drapery solutions. Blair notes that the facility already has a pit that enables the Lutron team to assemble a 40-foot-tall shade if necessary.
Lutron Prepares for Growth
The addition of the new facility comes on the heels of the company’s record growth, continued innovation in battery technology, new shade designs, and growing consumer awareness and demand for Lutron’s automated shading solutions.
Blair says adding another dedicated shade manufacturing facility reinforces Lutron’s commitment to dealers and readies the industry for category growth.
“Lutron’s automated shading solutions offer a significant and sustainable business-building opportunity for the CEDIA community,” he says. “With consumer demand at an all-time high, the opportunity to develop and grow your shade business with Lutron has never been greater. This new state-of-the-art facility, coupled with our steadfast commitment to quality, unrivaled investments in innovation, and world-class training and technical support makes Lutron a strong bet for the future.”
Lutron built the automated shading category and has been offering shading solutions since the 1990s. Since then, the company has substantially grown its global shading business with the Serena, Sivoia QS, Palladiom and Triathlon product lines, solidifying its position as the global leader and creating significant business opportunities within the CEDIA community.
Blair, who led Lutron’s shading division and has more than 25 shade-related patents, says he is pleased to see shades be a strong source of revenue and profitability for dealers and is excited for the category’s imminent growth.
“There’s a lot of room to grow,” he said.
“Dealers are just now beginning to scratch the surface. Whether you are new to category or looking to expand your current shades business, dealers can count on Lutron to deliver the high-quality products and design-centric innovations required for their most discerning clients. We are ready to handle the increased demand and will continue to invest significantly in our infrastructure, giving dealers the opportunity to confidently make shades their highest revenue-grossing category.”