Volume 9, Issue 5 - May 2008

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PGT Expands Commercial Presence
ASI Limited in Indianapolis and PGT® Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of PGT Inc. in Venice, Fla., have launched a joint venture to expand their market reach beyond residential door and window products by providing unitized curtainwall solutions to the commercial building industry. 

Ken Smith, president of ASI Limited, says the joint venture will become “the only manufacturer of unitized curtainwalls in North America that will control all aspects of manufacturing in-house,” including the manufacturing of tempered, laminated and insulating glass and aluminum panels integral to the unitized systems. According to information from PGT, exterior facade contractors nationally will save time and money by dealing with one organization that will market, design, engineer and manufacture custom unitized curtainwalls.

“By offering a one-stop shop for unitized curtainwalls to the commercial construction industry, we are offering the industry a way to save money and gain control over their projects by dealing with one team that is involved in every stage of the project as it moves from design to construction,” says Wayne Varnadore, vice president of architectural systems at PGT. “Customers will benefit from PGT’s strength in manufacturing and supply chain management combined with ASI Limited’s experience in sales, marketing, engineering and project management.” 

According to Smith, the joint venture comes as a result of “the national demand for unitized curtainwall and the downturn in the residential community [which] provided additional resources from PGT that could be utilized in the commercial market through ASI sales and marketing.” 

The joint venture follows PGT’s announcement on March 4 that it would downsize its workforce by 17 percent—a “restructuring” that follows a similar move last October. 

Smith reports that while the focus of the joint venture is currently unitized curtainwall, “PGT is diversifying and will market some entry-level curtainwall products in the upcoming months.”

Although the two companies had not worked together prior to a management meeting in August 2007, the current agreement is exclusive on all unitized curtainwall products. However, Smith notes that the exclusive agreement won’t impact ASI’s commercial installation business. 

“Being a contractor, we are more sympathetic to the issues these companies face in design and constructability. We can help a company grow into markets that they previously did not pursue,” he says. 

TDCI and FeneTech Form Alliance
TDCI Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, and FeneTech Inc. of Aurora, Ohio, have announced that they have formed an alliance to integrate their respective solutions, in an effort to provide manufacturers with a management system that includes support for sales activities such as product configuration and quoting along with functions for manufacturing, delivery and service.

TDCI’s BuyDesign® software is a comprehensive guided selling and configuration solution developed to streamline the sales process for customized products. 

FeneTech’s FeneVision® software is a business management system designed specifically for door and window manufacturers. The system integrates production scheduling and control functions directly with shop floor equipment to automate the manufacturing process. 

“No one understands door and window manufacturing better than FeneTech, and we’re excited about working with them to create the most advanced quote-to-delivery solution available in the fenestration industry today,” says TDCI president Dan DeMuth. 

FeneTech president Ron Crowl adds, “TDCI’s BuyDesign provides window and door manufacturers with intuitive web-based configuration and quoting tools that nicely complement our order entry, manufacturing and customer service software. Together, our solutions can have a huge positive impact on a window and door company’s business performance.” 

As part of the alliance, TDCI and FeneTech have integrated BuyDesign Configurator, the product configurator component of BuyDesign, into the FeneVision Order Entry application. This enables all of BuyDesign’s advanced product configuration, visualization and data generation capabilities within FeneVision. It also provides a single configuration rules management environment for the combined solution. Standard links for sharing of customer, product and order information between FeneVision and BuyDesign are also being developed using the BuyDesign Integrator toolset. Using these links, the BuyDesign application for dealer or direct sales force quoting and ordering (BuyDesign Channel Sales) can be deployed as a web-based online solution, or as a distributed desktop/laptop PC solution with automated synchronization via the Internet. Orders are passed directly into FeneVision to drive the manufacturing and shipping process. BuyDesign applications for website development (BuyDesign Build-Your-Own and BuyDesign Virtual Catalog) and for download of configurable product catalogs for use within AutoCAD by architects and designers (BuyDesign Spec-In) also are available as part of the overall solution. 

Keystone Diversifies Services
Keystone Certifications Inc. of Etters, Pa., has announced that its quality assurance program has been accredited by the International Accreditation Agency (IAS). Participation in the Keystone quality assurance program now qualifies building product manufacturers for all major approval/evaluation programs, such as Florida Product Approval, International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) reports, Architectural Testing Code Compliance Research Reports (ATI-CCRR) and more. 

“IAS accreditation is part of Keystone’s strategy to diversify our certification and inspection service offerings across the spectrum of building envelope products,” says Jon Hill, Keystone vice president. 

Keystone also has a new insulating glass (IG) certification program. 

“The new IG program was created in response to the growing demand for certification of insulating glass seal durability performance by government agencies and other specifiers,” Hill says.

Phantom and Seiki Form Partnership
Phantom Screens® and Seiki Screen Systems™ have announced that they have signed a letter of intent to develop a definitive partnership agreement by which they will deliver a complete line of retractable screen solutions to North American customers, including both manufacturers and “do-it-yourselfers.”

“Both Seiki and Phantom share a mutual commitment to provide retractable screening solutions and services that meet the needs of every type of client,” says C. Esther DeWolde, chief executive officer for Phantom Screens, which is based in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Phantom will handle the distribution, customer service, sales and marketing of Seiki products in North America.

“Our general manager of Seiki’s North American branch, Jo-Ann Hussey, recommended Phantom because of its impressive network of authorized distributors; they have the ability to service customers in all parts of the United States and Canada,” says Hiro Moriya, general manager of international sales for the Japan-based Seiki.

Laminated Building Products Opens Doors
Laminated Building Products Inc., a full-service profile-wrapping and slitting facility, has opened its doors in Clifton, N.J. The new 20,000-square-foot facility is located at 35 Monhegan Street. Chris Jablonski, operations chief and president for the facility, has more than ten years experience in all profile-wrapping applications including exterior, interior, stainable/paintable foils and wood veneers.


Thompson Creek Establishes New Company
 Landover, Md.-based Thompson Creek Window Co. officially has recognized St. Claire Windows as its new multi-family window renovation company. 

Thompson Creek has manufactured and installed windows for multi-family replacement (low- and mid-rise apartments, condominiums, etc.) for more than 27 years but now all windows for this specific application will be made by Thompson Creek Manufacturing and then sold and installed under the company name St. Claire Windows.

“We are very excited about St. Claire Windows,” says Rick Wuest, president of both St. Claire and Thompson Creek. “We realize the tremendous opportunity ahead of us and we are focused on providing the best product to our customers. St. Claire allows us the ability to do this in both our commercial and retail marketplace.” 

St. Claire will focus on multi-family renovation projects working with property management companies in addition to general contractors and architects in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

The company recently purchased an 80,000-square-foot building in Landover, Md., that will be home to its manufacturing plant, offices and showroom.

Roto Frank Selects New East Coast Rep
Chester, Conn.-based Roto Frank of America Inc. has announced that PRYSM Marketing Inc. of Doylestown, Pa., is now representing Roto on the East Coast. 

“PRYSM’s extensive technical knowledge and experience in the window, door and insulated glass industry, combined with their reputation for excellent and personal customer service, all played a major role in our decision to have them represent us in the marketplace,” says Greg Koch, president and chief executive officer of Roto Frank.

Ed Robinson, president and founder of PRYSM Marketing, adds, “All of us at PRYSM Marketing are excited about the opportunity to represent Roto Frank of America in the marketplace.”

In the software buying guide (see March, DWM, page 34), where the FenmeVision system from FeneTech was featured, the information that this software offers order entry and configuration capabilities was inadvertently omitted. We regret the error.

WDMA Names New President and Management Company
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) has announced that it has named John R. Stoiber as its new president and SmithBucklin as its management company. The association has relocated from its current headquarters in Des Plaines, Ill., to SmithBucklin’s offices in Chicago.

“We believe this move to be a natural one at this stage in our development,” says Rick Kon, WDMA board chairperson. “It will allow our leaders to focus their energies and expertise on strategy, objectives, member value and strategic alliances. I am confident that SmithBucklin’s people, as well as its unparalleled expertise and breadth of resources will help us expand our reach and allow us to provide best-in-class programs and services to our members and the industry.”

Stoiber holds two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in engineering from Marquette University. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management in strategy and finance and is a certified management accountant. In addition to having founded and served as the chief executive officer of six companies, Stoiber spent seven years with Johnson Controls in product and sales engineering roles focused on building and construction solutions and technology related to energy efficiency, life safety, security and fire protection.

“WDMA is a unique organization with significant growth potential,” says Stoiber. “As the recognized leader in standards and product performance certification for the window and door industry, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with WDMA’s board of directors to create value for our member companies.”

In other personnel news, John Prentice, former director of marketing for the WDMA has left the association. He now serves as vice president industry liaison at the Portland Cement Association. 

Study Looks at Market in China for U.S. Building Products
In an effort to identify strategic growth opportunities for North American manufacturers and suppliers in the Chinese home building market, the National Association of Home Builders’ Research Center has launch its second “China Builder Practices Survey,” gathering data on the characteristics and volume of building materials used in new-home construction for key cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The study will include a look at the purchase of windows for Chinese residential construction. A previous study was conducted in 2004.The research on China is modeled after the Research Center’s “Annual Builder Practices Survey,” which provides data on the size, style, type, volume and other characteristics related to the materials used in new and existing American homes.
   The data collected in the study will enable product manufacturers to:
   • Determine the Chinese market’s need for new products;
   • Analyze trends to facilitate expansion into China;
   • Plan sales strategies for entering new Chinese markets; 
   • Track quantities of building materials used in China; and
   • Understand purchasing trends in that nation affecting their business.

The China Builder Practices Survey will explore the volume of construction materials being used in four representative metropolitan areas and will include windows, insulation, exterior doors, roofing, wood products and concrete.

The research will be conducted in conjunction with Chinese academics, architects and construction engineers. The results will be provided initially to project sponsors and then sold to other interested building product manufacturers.

Ultra Hardware Parent Company Files for Chapter 11
Shapes/Arch Holdings LLC, the parent company of Ultra Hardware LLC in Pennsauken, N.J., and Accu-Weld LLC, a door and window manufacturer based in Bensalem, Pa., filed for bankruptcy on March 16 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. The company’s debt is noted to be between $10 and $50 million, with 100 to 199 creditors, according to court documents.

Among Shapes/Arch Holdings LLC’s largest unsecured industry creditors included in the filing are PPG Industries (with two claims totaling $232,000), H.B. Fuller Co. (owed approximately $42,000), Royalplast (owed approximately $25,000), Caldwell Manufacturing (approximately $21,000), Ventana USA (owed approximately $18,000), Shapes Unlimited (owed approximately $14,000), Guardian Industries (owed approximately $13,000), Ultrafab (owed approximately $13,000) and Sherwin Williams (owed approximately $13,000).

Motion to Dismiss Class-Action Suit Against Pella Denied
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently denied Pella Corp.’s motion to dismiss a class-action suit against the company. In the suit, which was filed in 2006, Saltzman et al. allege that Pella’s ProLine series of windows suffer from a design flaw that has resulted in widespread failures.

The suit also includes Pella’s “250 Series” and “450 Series” windows sold through major retailers, such as Lowe’s. Specifically, the suit alleges that Pella ProLine aluminum-clad windows are prone to water penetration resulting in rotting of the internal wood frame beneath the aluminum cladding. 


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