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Volume 7   Issue 6               June 2006


Andersen Corp. to Purchase Silver Line 
Andersen Corp. of Bayport, Minn., has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Silver Line Building Products Corp., a manufacturer of vinyl windows and patio doors. Founded in 1947, Silver Line is a privately-owned company based in North Brunswick, N.J., with facilities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Illinois.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to expand our business into new market segments, especially via the leading vinyl window manufacturer,” said Jim Humphrey, president and chief executive officer at Andersen. “Vinyl windows serve a segment of the market that is growing rapidly. Adding this product line to the enterprise’s portfolio will enable an Andersen company to provide windows and doors for virtually any new construction or home improvement project in any area of the country.”

The purchase by Andersen is contingent on the successful completion of a due diligence process and regulatory approval. Terms were not disclosed. A tentative closing date was set for June 30.

Michael E. Collins is with Jordan, Knauff and Co., an investment banking firm that has been tracking trends in the door and window manufacturing industry. He noted that among other recent acquisitions, this one stands out. 

“Andersen’s acquisition of Silver Line is unusual among other window and door transactions in one important way,” said Collins. “In the case of Silver Line, Andersen is making the unusual move of crossing from wood windows into vinyl windows. However, if there is a place in the industry where such a move makes sense, it is with an organization with Andersen’s size and resources.”

According to Collins, the acquisition is following an industry trend, in that Silver Line will remain an independently managed subsidiary of Andersen. Andersen plans to operate this business as a standalone subsidiary, with Ken Silverman, chairperson and chief executive officer of Silver Line, leading his current management team.

“Combinations like this one put more pressure on other large companies to continue to increase their geographic penetration and to offer products in every possible segment,” added Collins. 

Edgenet and Big Hammer Merge
Nashville, Tenn.-based Edgenet Inc., provider of electronic catalog and guided selling solutions in the building products and home goods industry, is broadening its offering to manufacturers and retailers by acquiring Wisconsin-based Big Hammer® Data Services, a software company known for its data management, design and configuration solutions. 

Tom Frederick, president and chief executive officer of Edgenet, said the merger is part of a combined vision to provide a complete solution that encompasses both selling applications and content for home goods. 
“By merging the largest data pool provider in the hardlines industry with an industry standard guided selling solution, we can offer retailers and manufacturers the first vertically-integrated commerce solution in the industry,” said Frederick. 

Ultrafab Purchases Designer Glass International 
Ultrafab Inc. of Farmington, N.Y., has announced its purchase of Designer Glass International (DGI) of Columbus, Ohio. 

DGI manufactures a patented decorative glass program compatible with all major insulating glass systems. A wide range of patterns can be developed utilizing beveled and textured glass shapes that are encapsulated by a patented grid system. Unlike other decorative glass systems, DGI is lightweight, allowing fabricators to utilize existing hardware packages, according to Ultrafab. The DGI system gives the fabricator the power to develop elegant designs at a price point that is below traditional art glass. 

Jeff Menhart, founder of DGI, and Rocky Blauser, DGI’s general manager, will both remain with the company and continue to operate facilities in the Columbus area. 

Amesbury Acquires Bandlock and Balance UK 
Amesbury Group of Sioux Falls, S.D., has acquired Bandlock Corp. and Balance UK. Bandlock supplies an extensive range of custom PVC extrusions for a wide range of applications in a number of markets. The business is based in Southern California, an area which is experiencing good growth in the door and window market, according to a company news release. The acquisition will supplement Amesbury’s existing U.S. extrusion business, PPI, and further enhance the division’s presence on the West Coast of the U.S. The business will be combined with the PPI division of Cannon Falls, Minn., under the leadership of Todd Betterley.

Balance UK supplies a range of window balances used in the manufacture of double-hung windows. This sector of the UK window market is small but remains a growth area. The business will be combined with Amesbury’s BSI division under the leadership of Wayne Steinhauer.

VEKA Goes South

VEKA South opened its doors on May 17, 2006, in Terrell, Texas. The 100,000-square-foot PVC door and window profile extrusion plant, warehouse and personnel offices sits on approximately 25 acres of land in North Central Texas.

Approximately 200 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including a number of guest speakers such as Walter Stucky, president and chief executive officer of VEKA Inc. and Hubert Hecker, chairperson of the board for VEKA Worldwide.

During his speech, Stucky explained that VEKA wanted to set-up a facility in Texas for a number of reasons. In its North American operations, the company’s strategy is to have an extrusion facility within 500 miles of its customers. 

“We have to be—not just in time—but just in case,” Stucky said, speaking of the importance of its Texas location and servicing its customers in the area. “Vinyl is just at the beginning of its growth [in this area.]”

VEKA invested $6 million USD in the Texas location. The company plans to hire 60 employees in the next year. Currently, there are ten employees at VEKA South.

Stucky explained that the facility in Terrell will be 100-percent door and window extrusion—no fence profiles. He also reiterated that the trend from aluminum to vinyl is gaining strength in the South. To help its customers market their products, VEKA will help with everything from marketing to technical designs and more, he said.

Hecker spoke about VEKA Worldwide’s growth, stating that the company may possibly have to expand one or two of its North American operations. 

North America isn’t the only country in which VEKA is looking to expand. The company is currently looking for land in the Ukraine on which to build a facility. Hecker said that VEKA prefers to build locations from scratch rather than takeover a current manufacturing facility. While it’s more of an investment up front, you get exactly what you want, he explained.

Both Stucky and Hecker said that PVC prices in North America would remain high because raw material, specifically resin, is still high. China pays 30 percent less than the U.S. for its resin. Hecker believes that in two years resin will begin to be sold globally at more of an equal price.

“We’re looking at another rough 18 to 24 months,” he said.

The VEKA South facility is running four profile lines currently, but it can handle up to 18 lines.

The company estimates that in its first year, it will produce 5 to 10 million pounds of material.

Chelsea Fabricators Gather for Annual Event 
Chelsea Building Products held its Annual Trust Series Fabricator Meeting April 4-5 in Philadelphia and marketing manager Les Lundeen says the program continues to grow each year. 

Thirty-six fabricators representing 19 companies gathered to discuss pertinent issues such as lean manufacturing and software issues. They were also able to socialize and network with others in the industry, including suppliers, who participated in tabletop exhibits. 

Some of these same suppliers hosted the presentations including one from Friedman discussing software issues and one from Unique Balance Systems discussing newer products in this category. 

“We try to bring new opportunities and programs in front of fabricators,” says Lundeen. “For example, as companies grow they are always looking for software programs to meet their needs, which is why we offered a presentation on this topic.”

Participants also attended a tour of Northeast Building Products which highlighted the company’s TrustGard and Sashlite lines. 

An awards presentation was also part of the festivities. Following are the recipients:

    •     TrustGard Platinum Sales for 2005: Vinyl Kraft;
    •     Innovation Award for DP60: National Vinyl;
    •     20 Year Valued Customer Award: Northeast Building Products;
    •     TrustGard Gold Sales for 2005: Northeast, National, Fentech Window 
          Corp.,Vinyl Design and Rusco Window;
    •     DuraTrust Gold Sales for 2005: Tempco Products; and
    •     New Trust Series Fabricators: E.C. Miller and Duke Vinyl.

Atrium Expands Deployment of BuyDesign® Software 
TDCI Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, an enterprise software solution provider, has announced that Atrium Companies Inc. of Dallas is now expanding deployment of TDCI’s BuyDesign sales and configuration solution to Atrium’s HR Windows Texas and California regions based on the success of the system in its Washington region. Atrium is using BuyDesign to offer web-based online quoting, ordering and status inquiry services to its regional customer networks.

“The primary reason we selected the BuyDesign solution was because of its configuration capabilities,” said Roger Santone, vice president of information technology for Atrium. “In addition, the fact that it can be integrated with different back-end manufacturing systems provides us the flexibility to deliver a common solution to our customers regardless of the internal system.” 

Urban Machinery Relocating U.S. Operations
Citing growing business levels and the need for further commitment to the door and window industry on the West Coast, Urban Machinery has announced that it will relocate its U.S. operations from Tualatin, Ore., to Port Townsend, Wash., a move that will, in turn, include expanded facilities, personnel and capabilities. Urban Machinery manufactures, sells and services fabrication, welding, cleaning and assembly equipment for door and windows and has supported the West Coast market from its Oregon facility since 1997. 

The company has secured a 3-acre site in Port Townsend’s growing industrial park and has begun first phase construction with a plan to move into the 10,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse, training and office space by the end of July 2006. 

“We are very excited to be growing again, as this move will allow us to offer better services to our customers not only on the West Coast, but across the country,” said Dave Pirwitz, vice president and chief U.S. operating officer.

The company is planning to maintain most of its Tualatin employees and continue a presence in the Portland area with satellite service personnel and parts stocking. 

“In addition, we’ve hired four new equipment technicians and other support personnel in Port Townsend, putting us at six dedicated service techs on the West Coast,” says Pirwitz.

GED Doubles Headquarters Facility 
GED Integrated Solutions, a provider of integrated, lean window manufacturing systems, has added an expanded customer service center to its headquarters in Twinsburg, Ohio. 

According to the company, the expanded customer service center is the only dedicated training and technical center in the door and window industry, allowing customers to receive hands-on training without interruption to their own manufacturing processes.

The new customer service center is an expanded version of the previous off-site training facility. The additional space and integration into the headquarters facility allows hands-on training on the complete line of GED insulating glass and vinyl window fabrication equipment. The new center is digitally integrated and includes a dedicated software lab for training on GED’s LeanNet  communications software and i-3 platform.

Beyond meeting current customer needs, the facility has been sized to accommodate planned new product launches and acquisitions. In addition to the main facility, GED will continue manufacturing and engineering operations out of its Hauppauge, N.Y., facility.

IGMA Announces Acceptance of GasGlass

The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) has announced that the GasGlass® instrument manufactured by Sparklike Ltd. of Helsinki, Finland, will be accepted as a viable method for determining initial gas fill concentration for the IGMA Certification Program.. 

IGMA conducted the first data correlation study between gas fill measurements taken by the gas chromatograph method and the GasGlass device in 2002. The results of this study indicated that measurements taken with the GasGlass device were comparable to those taken with a gas chromatograph. Based on this research encompassing 200 gas-filled insulating glass units, the IGMA GasGlass Best Practices Working Group was formed in January 2003 to expand the initial correlation data. The working group developed a standardized operating protocol for the device, forming the foundation to develop an ASTM standard (currently under development), developed a second round robin series of testing to establish correlation between different GasGlass devices. 

“This device provides another methodology for approved certification testing laboratories to verify initial gas fill and is truly a non-destructive verification process unlike the gas chromatograph or the oxygen analyzer,” said Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director. 

In the Annual Buyer’s Guide 
(see DWM April 2006) the address listing for Intertech Associates should have included Suite 209. The proper phone number for Intertech is 908/284-9098. 
Additionally, the categories for TEKNA USA Corp. were inadvertently omitted (see page 68). 

We regret the errors. 

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