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Volume 7   Issue 1               January 2006

What's News

Saying it Like it Was

Looking Back on iGm/FW 2005

by Ellen Giard

In 1999 the interGLASSmetal/Fenestration World (iGm/FW) show in Atlanta was the event’s best-attended year. There were 5,000 in attendance, 280 exhibitors and 25 seminars. Having shifted its focus to better target the door and window industry, iGm/FW exhibitors and attendees alike that year were all pleased. The shows in the years that followed received similar reactions—even in 2001, which took place just weeks after 9/11.

This year, however, things were different. The event took place November 1-3 at the brand new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Fewer than 100 companies exhibited; some who had signed on to exhibit pulled out before the show began. As far as attendees, the presence was scarce. There were no long registration lines and no swarms of people in the aisles. There were queries from some exhibitors wondering if there had even been anyone registered at all. Some said if the show continued on that same path they planned to not ride out the three full show days. 

The second morning saw a small buzz of attendees, but by lunchtime, that, too, had faded. Toward the end of the second day a few exhibitors entertained themselves by tossing a small football around in the aisles; others packed up, tore down and headed home.

The last morning of the show saw a solemn start. Scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., many of those who stayed for the duration began tearing down before the show’s end time. At 12 p.m. precisely, show workers began pulling carpet and booths came down. The show was over—two hours sooner than its originally promoted end time.

What Went Wrong?

For an event that was once considered the North American glass equipment trade show to dwindle down to a mere shell of a show, you have to stop and wonder why. What caused this drastic change of events? Many felt the move of NGA’s 40-year old show from the spring to just weeks before iGm/FW meant exhibitors could no longer participate in both, but had to choose one.

Industry veteran Marcel Bally of Bystronic Inc. shared his perspective on the situation.

“In the past there were the two competing shows: iGm/FW and the NGA show. Years ago, iGm/FW was the proud and premier North American exhibition for machinery companies, such as Bystronic, and had the advantage of being held every other year in the fall, opposite the glasstec show in Düsseldorf, Germany, rather than the less convenient NGA show in the spring. Bystronic, and most other machinery companies, exhibit generally only at one event; economics and available resources would not permit us to dance at every wedding.”

Bally continues, “The [show] dynamics somehow made more and more companies gravitate toward NGA. Bystronic was not immune to this trend and in 2001 we exhibited only at the NGA-show [held in Miami] and not at iGm/FW. But in 2003 we went back to iGm because the timing of our new product introduction dictated participation at an event held in the fall. Though that was a good show for Bystronic, it was, to a large extent, due to the absence of all of our competitors. Now that the NGA show [GlassBuild America] has moved from the spring to the fall, the decision was unavoidable to go with GlassBuild, rather than with iGm.”

Exhibitor Reaction

While the number of attendees may have been minimal, many exhibitors still found the show worthwhile.

“Despite the dismal attendance figures, Sika focused on the quality and not the quantity of leads generated,” said Greg Moran, market field manager for Sika Industry, Industrial Business Unit. “We had also scheduled meetings with some key accounts so the purpose of visiting Boston was multiple.”
Moran added that since the volume of traffic was light they could get to know those who came by the booth better.

“We were able to have more expanded conversations with [those who] visited the booth to truly understand their needs,” he said. “The down time on the floor also gave [exhibitors] time to talk shop, share data on the markets, learn about products and get to know each other.”

As part of its presentation, Sika exhibited in a new booth design that featured its Sikaflex adhesives for use in high-performance impact applications, SikaSil 100-percent silicone products and SikaFast acrylic adhesives. A new installation product lineup included the SikaPlan SAF100 self-adhered flashing, Sikaflex polyurethane installation sealants, SikaBoom expanding foam, Sika backer rod and Sika glass and surface cleaner. All components of the installation product lineup are compatible and are targeted for use in OEM recommended, ASTM E 2112 and InstallationMasters methods for door and window installations.

Amber Grayson, marketing coordinator with the Amesbury Group, said that while the company did introduce new product lines and also announced the acquisition of Builders Hardware Inc. (see related story page 18 in the Nov. 2005 DWM), it was difficult to say how well the news was received.
“There were so few people there I really can’t gauge the reaction or feedback, though,” she says. 

In addition to the acquisition announcement, the company’s BSI-Balance Systems division announced the addition of the inverted 747 Series Block and Tackle Balance Series for single and double hung windows. The series is considered a “straight-drop system,” meaning installation for both fabricators and homeowners is fast and easy.

While Randy Deering, senior vice president of Genius Retractable Screen Systems said he enjoyed Boston as the host city for iGm/FW, the show itself, he did not.

“Unfortunately the turnout for the IGM show was abysmal and as an exhibitor it was very disappointing to see the dramatic drop in attendance since the previous success of the Columbus show in 2003,” he said. 

Genius did, however, exhibit a new display and introduced two new products at the show, the pleated retractable screen named “Sheer Screen by Genius” and a new retractable screen designed specifically for vinyl sliding patio doors. The screen’s design is unique because it uses petite profiles and the glide rails are actually made of vinyl so they will blend with the vinyl of the patio door. Once the rails snap in place, they are virtually invisible. 

“I am pleased to report that we received a plethora of inquiries as a result of the IGM show. A large number of these leads were the result of the unveiling of the new vinyl sliding patio door system.” 

Seminar Scene

Those taking part in iGm/FW also had the option of attending several seminars (The seminar program had been organized by USGlass magazine, DWM’s sister publication). There were a variety of discussion topics on the agenda. John Baker of the Sandler Sales Institute led a seminar titled “How to Get More Sales than you Ever Dreamed Possible.” The seminar offered tips and advice on utilizing available resources, already in place, to help increase profit.

Valerie Block of DuPont talked about how the glass industry can benefit from green building design. Her presentation covered changes in building and energy codes and the “green” opportunities available to glass companies.

Providing the “Laminated Glass 101” lesson was Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia, who covered the properties, benefits and applications for which laminated glass can be used. She also talked about the evolution of hurricane codes and glazing, as well as blast- and security glazing.

The most controversial seminar was the point-counterpoint debate between Jim Benney, executive director for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum and Glass over the NFRC’s proposed non-residential certification and rating program.

The debate began with Benney, who provided an overview of what the NFRC is and why he feels it is an important organization. He stressed that the NFRC is not a trade association, but is a 501c(3) organization that is “dedicated to serving the public and satisfying the needs of private sector partners …” The group was formed because there was a need for a national standard to determine the energy performance of fenestration systems. 

Benney explained that NFRC’s standards and its product certification program have addressed commercial applications since 1991 and in 1999 the group developed its current site-built program. Now, NFRC is working on developing a new method for rating and certifying products used in commercial applications, which it is calling a Component Modeling Procedure.

“This [procedure] was approved by the [NFRC board of directors] in 2004,” said Benney. The task is now communicating and validating this information to the industry. 

Perilstein’s presentation followed Benney’s opening remarks. 

“I agree with a lot of what Jim said,” began Perilstein. He said he believed, that as an industry, development of a whole system product calculation for fenestration performance is vital. “What we’re against is the money. What we disagree with is NFRC’s apparent attempt to profit from third-party verification on the calculation for a whole system fenestration performance.”

The obstacle Perilstein cited in this regard involves the action of the NFRC board of directors. Perilstein said the structure of the NFRC’s board and its bylaws give board members ultimate authority over the efforts and recommendations of task groups and subcommittees.

Perilstein also said that the NFRC’s board of directors “continues to grossly oversimplify and manipulate the facts,” including how it “protects” itself by its 501c(3) status.

Benney responded, “The 501c(3) status is often misunderstood. We are not a trade association; we are here to benefit the public, not the industry. Members of these groups don’t get much say. The board is responsible for making sure NFRC meets its mission: the public needs. They [the public] need to know they are getting what they are buying.”

Perilstein again commented that he opposes the fact that [the program] will be costly for the “responsible party,” which will likely be the glazing contractor. While he agrees that the whole system calculation can be a valuable design tool for all stakeholders, he feels that the validation and certification portions of the program are not necessary and only add cost to the program.

Benney responded that a “paper trail,” which comes from the validation, certification and inspection, is necessary to confirm the performance of the system used on a building’s design and construction.

The bottom line for the industry, according to Perilstein, still comes down to cost.

“The line in the sand is the third-party certification,” he said. “I just don’t see where we need the last two steps.”

What’s Next?

As iGm/FW 2005 came to its conclusion, there was talk and wonder among exhibitors if there would be another show. No dates or location have been announced in regard to an iGm/FW 2007. Show organizers were contacted, but did not respond.

In the meantime, GlassBuild America has raised its booth prices 23 percent for next year (see box above).

Ellen Giard is a contributing editor for DWM magazine.

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.