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Peterborough University Photo Credit Richard Fraser

672 m2 of Optima TFC+ in 5.0mm Aluminium PPC and 935 m2 of Optima FC+ 3.0mm Aluminium PPC* has been used in the completion of the £30 million pound Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Peterborough.

Optima FC+ was used in the main body of the façade as the client required a secret fix solution.

Optima TFC+ was used for the perforated panels. This ensured a robust connection could be made to the bespoke supporting framework, which stud out from the main façade.

Peterborough University - Photo Credit Richard Fraser

The main challenge was therefore determining the thickness and alloy grade/temper for the perforated solar veil. The expert design team at Sotech worked their way from 3mm to 5mm in various grades to ensure best performance and best value for the project. This was supported by extensive analysis using Finite Element Methodology (FEM) to determine the most suitable alloy and optimal thickness for the project.  This in-depth process involved investing significant hours in assessing and modelling the structural and material aspects, ensuring a well-informed decision on the alloy and thickness specification.


Jamie Smith, Commercial Manager of Sotech commented: “The aesthetics of the perforated solar shading are truly eye catching. I’m proud to think that every single panel was perforated in our state-of-the-art manufacturing building in County Durham.”

Speaking at an early tour of the new multi-storey building in 2022, the Principal of ARU, Professor Ross Renton, said: “You can feel the excitement and potential this university has in the heart of the city. Today marks an end to Peterborough appearing in a list of cities without a university. But it’s a new beginning. This one building is not enough. We need a whole campus – thriving in the heart of the city, to bring high skilled jobs. I want to thank all the teams here and I’m looking forward to many more topping out ceremonies in the years to come.”


Phil Fisk, UK & Ireland Sales Manager for Axalta said: “I love this project. The architect designed a great use of geometry and incorporated clean minimalistic colour with the Axalta RAL 9006 to compliment the form.”

As noted on the Bowmer + Kirkland web site, invitees were invited to sign a piece of the rainscreen cladding which became part of the fabric of the building.

Peterborough University Photo Credit Richard Fraser


About Optima FC+

Featuring an innovative slide and lock adjustment mechanism, Sotech’s enhanced secret fix hook on rainscreen system features carrier rail hooks. These hooks can be locked in position on site by installers, rather than in the factory, leading to significantly reduced lead times for all parties. Its versatility is such that a multitude of materials and thicknesses (from 2.0mm to 4mm) used on one universal carrier.

Optima FC+ has been independently tested and certified to meet CWCT rigorous specification for rainscreen cladding and has been fire tested to BS8414-2 and classified to BR135 for high rise buildings.

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About Optima TFC+

Optima TFC+ is an economical alternative to a complete secret fix cladding. The cost effective rainscreen solution requires discreet colour match wafer head fixings in the vertical panel recesses. Superior manufacturing techniques ensure accuracy of panel’s size and form leaving even recesses and cruciform of pristine appearance.

Optima TFC+ has been fire tested to BS8414-2:2015, and classified to BR135 for high rise buildings. A full range of Euroclass A1 and A2 – s1,d0 materials available. Click below to learn more about the materials and finishes available, and to explore 3D models of the system in Sotech’s virtual showroom.

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About Aluminium PPC:

Polyester Powder Coating, or PPC, is a type of dry coating, rather than a conventional liquid paint. When applied to metal rainscreen as a free flowing, dry powder it provides rainscreen panels with an attractive, durable and high quality finish that lasts.

It is a very green process – there are no solvents in the paint and no heavy metals in the formulation, and there are no toxins or dust deposits for the people who spray it. It’s lead-free, it’s easy to dispose of, there are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), there is a high application efficiency with up to 99% usage, it’s one coat.

The PPC powder is applied to rainscreen panels electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to form a ‘skin’. This electrostatic powder process means we can ensure complete coverage of the panels, even on more complex shapes. Plus, powder coating is designed to eliminate any drips, runs or bubbles that might affect the appearance of the panel, giving a clean, seam free uniform finish. PPC is therefore ideal for complex builds with extrusions, curved panels, multiple angles and even hidden surfaces.


*Standard FC+ areas.

Photo Credit: Richard Fraser 


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