iGm/FW Attracts Quality Attendees Who Know What They Want
-And Exhibitors Say The Went After It
by Tara Taffera

Those who attended the interGLASSmetal/FENESTRATION World show, held November 4-6 in Columbus, Ohio, couldn’t have left without hearing about Sashlite or Intra—these new systems garnered a great deal of interest from attendees and exhibitors alike (more on those products and technologies later).

And on the exhibitor end, the resonating opinion seemed to be that quality, more than quantity, was important—quality of attendees that is. Most exhibitors agreed that the individuals who were there knew what they were looking for in terms of products.

The show attracted 219 exhibiting companies and 4,894 visitors, according to Doug Dame of Dame Associates, show organizer. The show seemed to be divided evenly between glass companies and window and door related companies.

Mikron’s Richard Morgan said the products his company was showcasing received a positive reaction from attendees.

“There was good quality of show attendees,” said Morgan, who then added, “We would have liked more.”

Some companies, particularly some of the machinery manufacturers had constant traffic at their booth.

“The show was very busy for us. We had a steady stream of customers and potential customers through our booth,” said Sturtz’s Mike Biffl. “The quality of the leads we generated is excellent. We had decision makers from a lot of window fabricators spend a significant amount of time in our booth looking at the different machines we had on display and asking a lot of well thought out questions.”

Following the show Biffl said he was busy following up with all the contacts he made at iGm.

“We are preparing a number of proposals to prospects we met at the show,” he said. “We also had excellent discussions with several companies we have previously quoted and who will be making equipment decisions before the end of the year.”

Many exhibitors said this year’s attendees really did their homework before traveling to Columbus. When they arrived at iGm they knew who they wanted to see.

“People actually came to our booth with purchase orders,” said Winmac’s Peter Zot, who added that he was pleased to sell some of the company’s machines. “We received key people at our booth,” he added.

One of the reasons Winmac may have attracted the right people to its booth is because the company worked on getting attendees to their booth before the show started.

“We advertised well before the show,” said Zot. “That generated a lot of interest.”

Intra Integrates Window Production Systems

Even if attendees had never heard of them, some companies, like Intra Product Development of Ontario, Canada, drew visitors to their booth. Intra generated a great deal of traffic as the company performed live demonstrations of its product every hour.

The company has developed a technology that it describes as a “rapid means of joining thermoplastic profiles.” Intra developed it along with several partners including equipment providers Bystronic, Sturtz and Branson, component providers Lauren International and Interlock and material providers Poly One and National Adhesives.

The company’s executive director Stephen Field described the product as revolutionary, as it incorporates new materials, new components and new manufacturing processes.

According to Field, “the corner web/key is the key to the system.”

Field adds that benefits to the manufacturer include reduced operating cost, elimination of fabrication equipment, labor savings, higher productivity, less inventory and new market opportunities. He added that this new process offers benefits to the consumer as well. These include unique visual aesthetics, new window products, unlimited design possibilities, cost competitiveness and energy-efficiency characteristics.

Field says the product is particularly different from others on the market because it incorporates three unique technologies: friction corner welding, fusion assembly and one- action hardware.

Benefits of friction corner welders include:

• The ability to incorporate current technology into an existing production system;

• A decrease in cycle time;

• The elimination of corner cleaning;

• Parting line aesthetic; and

• A reduction in energy consumption.

GED Tries to Intercept the Competition with New Warm-Edge Spacer

GED of Twinsburg, Ohio, (www.gedusa.com) says it has introduced one of the warmest insulating glass spacer systems available. The company, in conjunction with Berlin Metals of Hammond, Ind., (www.berlinmetals.com) and PPG Glass Technologies has developed a new metal that is designed to work with Intercept™ IG Fabrication. Vilda V92™ is a custom-engineered stainless alloy that GED says offers high thermal performance, is based on proven technology and provides cost-efficient manufacturing. The company adds that this is a differentiated Intercept offering.

“This is a different recipe for IG application,” said Peter Chojnacki, GED’s director of marketing. “We figured out how to get a stainless steel strip that would work commercially and at a price that interested users.”

GED is quick to point out that this is not an off-the shelf product. “It was custom-engineered,” said Peter Baka, product manager.

Though making a custom-engineered product definitely presented some technical hurdles to overcome.

“The challenge was making a premium product that was affordable and that had a thinner wall in order to increase the warm-edge characteristics,” said Chojnacki. “The new thinner material is able to form and punch even better than the previous material.”

According to Chojnacki, GED believes stainless steel offers superior performance as compared to other spacers.

“While many spacer manufacturers say metal is bad we’re telling manufacturers they should use stainless steel,” he said. “Metal is not a bad material as many companies say.”

GED and PPG says it has performed extensive testing on the product.

“We always do apples-to-apples comparison,” said Chojnacki. “We tested exactly the same IG systems, sent to a window manufacturer who glazed them, then Architectural Testing Inc. did the testing. Regarding thermal performance Vilda is equal to or better than other systems on the market.”

When it comes to cost Baka says it is a better value than other spacers on the market.

“It is approximately half the price as a total system as compared to similar performing systems,” he said.

GED says two manufacturers are on-line with the new system and approximately six more are interested. The company even signed up two manufacturers at iGm—one is new and one is an Intercept conversion.

Sturtz provided the four-corner welder, which welds around the IG unit, has a weld cycle of 30 seconds around glass, has a weld time of two seconds and  requires no cycle time.

Sturtz’s Mike Biffl said he received a lot of interest in the friction welding technology.

“Quite a few people came over to the Sturtz booth with questions after they saw the demonstration in the Intra booth,” he said.

Bystronic provided the robotic sealant applicator and the twinheaded frame sealer. The latter produces 840 units per shift, has a simulated double-bead applicator, two-second green strength and an aesthetically pleasing bead.

Benefits of fusion assembly include:

• The use of existing, proven IG technology;

• Elimination of the glazing bead;

• Improved structuralperformance;

• Reduced requirements for metal reinforcements; and

• Higher throughput with less equipment and material handling.

Benefits of one-action hardware include:

• Ease of operation;

• Smooth, precise open and close movement;

• Simplified operation;

• Distinct design options; and

• Higher throughput with less equipment and material handling.

If attendance at the booth is any indicator, the product has already generated a great deal of response.

One machinery manufacturer said, “I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years and this is the most revolutionary product I’ve seen.”

New IG Technology

The other item that garnered a lot of interest was Sashlite, a new IG technology which features two lites of glass adhered directly to the extruded sash as opposed to the existing technology that requires two lites of glass be adhered to a spacer, which is then adhered to the sash.

The technology, which was formally launched in September 2003, has sparked many conversations from window manufacturers, particularly at iGm.

John Robinson of Dayton Technologies (one of Sashlite’s partners) says people have many misconceptions about Sashlite. “It’s stronger structurally, it has better IG values, but people aren’t hearing these things,” he said.

What people are hearing is that if the glass breaks the entire window has to be replaced. Sashlite president Bob Hornung, however, doesn’t see this as a detriment.

There are challenges to Sashlite, as there is with any technology.

“Companies will have to take the Sashlite idea and build it into a profile. That’s where the challenge is,” said Robinson.

A few manufacturers have signed on to use the technology but experts in the industry predict that it may take some time before the concept takes off.

“Someone takes a risk and is successful, then others take the leap,” Robinson said.

All of the Sashlite partners who were present at the show say there was much interest from attendees. Vinyl Building Products’ Fred Metzger said company representatives stayed busy at the booth and agreed that there is much interest in Sashlite.

“Often times doors are produced as a separate manufacturing process from windows,” he said. “This is a more efficient way to produce windows and doors. It’s a cellular based technology that streamlines the production process. It also has lower manufacturing costs and is a structurally and thermally better product.”

Machinery Manufacturers

Though Intra received a lot of booth traffic, so did the exhibit spaces of the other machinery manufacturers present, many of which had ongoing demonstrations of their machines.

Beachwood, Ohio-based Truseal Technologies (www.truseal.com), had much more than a demonstration. The company had an actual production line running that produced IG units.

“Every window we’re producing will be shipped directly to a WeatherShield facility,” said Truseals’ Ric Jackson. “So people are seeing an actual factory on the show floor.”

One of the machines the company showcased was its redesigned Totally Automated Production Equipment (TAPE) system, which Truseal has dubbed TAPE AT (Advanced Technology). The machine now uses a flat application bed instead of the previous bed on rollers. The redesign allows for a 25 percent increase in productivity, due to faster cycle times and application speeds, according to Jackson who added that the new bed has received exceptional response.

“We have hundreds of people looking at it and asking for quotes,” he said, and added that the machine can produce any glass size.

The company has also updated its Quick-Dose by adding extra length. With the extra run out space Jackson said units can sit on the conveyor while dosing.

Urban Machinery of Ontario, Canada (www.u-r-b-a-n.com) introduced a few new pieces of equipment including new cleaners.

“We’ve leaped into a new level of technology with our cleaners,” said David Pirwitz. “Our two new cleaners offer high speed access, faster cycle times and are more reliable [than similar products on the market].”

One of these, the SV-530 automatic CNC weldseam cleaner, offers up to 17 programmable tools possible on two axes, which according to the company, provides complete inside and outside cleaning of the welded frame or sash. The machine also offers optimal cycle times, repeatable accuracy and an operatorfriendly design. Optional upgrades on the system include an automatic turning station, FBS overlap milling cutters and custom-knife configurations. Additionally, the cleaner can be connected to any offloading welder from Urban.

Pirwitz said he was pleased with the outcome of the show.

“We did sell one machine and that’s rare [to sell machines at a show],” he said. One of the reasons for Urban’s success could be that the company looks to the market when it comes to developing machines.

“We are filling niches that are not being filled currently,” said Pirwitz.

Wegoma of Twinsburg, Ohio (www.wegomaincusa.com), was another machinery company that introduced new equipment at iGm. The company featured its new precision sealant application table, which can be used for precise application of hot or cold sealant to the glazing area. The sealant application capacity is 72- by 118 inches with a 73.5-inch maximum frame or sash width, according to the company.

Other features include automatic height adjustment of head sensor and applicator, automatic corner detection and non-contact edge tracking system and divided lite tracing capability. The table is available manually loaded or with powered in- and out-feed conveyors for automated operation.

Although it may have seemed as if it was just the big machinery companies at iGm there were small machinery companies exhibiting that target the smaller window and door manufacturers. One of these was BG Solutions, a new company in Fairfield, N.J., which builds automatic gunning systems.

“We’re targeting smaller IG manufacturers that produce 100 to 300 windows per day,” said Thomas Bohn, equipment representative. “We’ve had a lot of interest and several leads. “We’re producing machines that aren’t already on the market.”

Some companies were showcasing products that they developed in conjunction with other companies. For example Machine Techniques Inc. (MTI) of Aurora, Ohio, (www.mti-glass.com) showcased products to promote its development effort in conjunction with UCB Chemicals. MTI has designed a complete turnkey assembly system for producing laminated glass using UCB’s UVEKOL™ ultraviolet-light cured liquid laminate.

“Hurricane-resistant, security and tempered glass alternatives are fast becoming significant issues,” said MTI’s Ken Nekola. “In the past, the cost of producing laminated glass was prohibitive for most window manufacturers, but with MTI’s line and UVEKOL, it’s much lower.”

He added that smaller window companies are now able to produce laminated glass that previously couldn’t due to the high cost of entry.

“Window manufacturers are increasingly confronted with laminated glass requirements, and now they are able to produce these products economically in-house with an MTI system,” he said.

Hardware Offerings

Another product category attracting attention at the show was window and door hardware. Some companies that didn’t introduce new products only hinted of what’s to come. One of these was BSI Hardware, part of the Amesbury Group of Amesbury, Mass., (www.amesbury.com) which said it will introduce new sliding door handle options in the near future.

The company featured its sash locks, tilt latches, patio door rollers and screen door rollers. BSI’s Cliff Schultz said attendees were very interested in finishes.

“A lot of people are into matching finishes,” he said.

W&F Manufacturing of Glendale, Calif., (www.wfmfg.com) offered multi-point locks for entry doors, which is unique, because according to W&F’s Dale Moses, multi-point locks are typically found in patio doors. The new lock for entry doors features a thumb-turn design and two dead bolts.

“This is the only one on the market with a panic release,” said Moses. “We’ve had a really good reaction to the product. Attendees who have stopped by have no problem operating the lock.”

New locks were also the featured item at Roto Frank of America in Chester, Conn., (www.rotofrank.com) which introduced the Roto Doorman. The product is simple, as all you have to do is wave a key in front of it to make it unlock, according to a company representative. The Roto Doorman locks automatically, offers different options for day and night and may be programmed with a home security system.

Ultra Hardware of Pennsauken, N.J., (www.ultrahardware.com) announced that it has a full line of casement hardware available to window manufacturers—in fact the company has already shipped the hardware to manufacturers nationwide.

Sealants Attract Attention

Dow Corning of Midland, Mich., (www.dowcorning.com/construction) featured its new InstantGlaze Window Assembly Sealant (see article on www.doorandwindowmaker.com along with the January-February issue). According to Dow, the great advantage of this product is that it allows manufacturers to fabricate window and doors at speeds two to four times faster than tape glazing operations. Additionally, the sealant has a pot life of 24 hours and an open time up to 15 minutes. Instant green strength means no delay in fabrication, according to the company. The sealant adheres immediately to vinyl, wood, glass, aluminum, painted or treated wood and high-performance paint and fiberglass.

“This takes the advantages of silicone performance and durability and puts the two together,” said Dow’s Steve Block. “The product will improve productivity, offer higher quality and costs less due to reduced labor and reduced squeeze-out.”

On the first day of the show Block said interest in the product was “beyond what I had hoped for.” Though Dow’s Doug Houtman added that there were some misconceptions that had to be addressed.

“Some people came to the booth and said, ‘I heard you have another silicone sealant.’ That tells me that people don’t understand the product,” said Houtman. “So we show them. We found that seeing is believing.”

According to Dow, the company has taken a whole solutions approach. “Their need is productivity so we have a solution,” said Block. Sika Corp. of Madison Heights, Mich., (www.sikasolutions.com) is another sealant company that has solutions for the window and door industry. But Sika’s main reason for being at the show was to introduce itself to the fenestration market after serving as a leader in the automotive, and other markets, for years.

According to Greg Moran, Sika’s senior marketing coordinator, Sika’s products have received great interest from window manufacturers who have to meet hurricane-impact requirements (see page 71 for more on Sika’s products).

Other Unique Products

As gas filling is a hot topic for window manufacturers, many were interested in the R-20 Gas Recovery System offered by Spectra Gases of Branchburg, N.J., (www.spectragases.com). The system is designed to recover virtually all of the krypton and xenon fill gas that is exhausted from insulated gas units during gas filling. It is already being used in 20 U.S locations and 20 locations in Europe, according to Tom Gallagher, vice president of Spectra Gases.

Of great interest to attendees was an argon recycling machine for use by companies that use more than 50,000 cubic feet of argon.

“Some go through that in one week,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher said the argon-recycling machine will be introduced in the near future.

On the computer side, Ontario’s Albat and Wirsam (www.albatwirsam.com) introduced its CANTOR software that the company says was designed specifically for the fenestration industry. The software, which features embedded CADCAM within the quotation/orderentry process, enables users to design complex shapes and mulled units immediately without using external software components.

Additionally, once a change to the window is made, this affects other line items, and the bill of materials and glass purchase orders are generated instantly.

“Calculating price and validating technical specifications for specials or custom windows is no longer a special process,” said Dr. Ralph Muehlhans, sales director for the CANTOR software. “This feature alone will expedite the order process and eliminate errors during production.”

Planing for iGm/FW 2005

The next iGm show will be held November 1-3, 2005, in Boston. Dame says advance booth commitments for the Boston show have been very strong with 36,000 square feet already assigned (as of November 13).

Tara Taffera is the editor and publisher of Door & Window Maker magazine.