Volume 34, Number 4, April 1999


Industry News


Harmon Contract to be Sold to Owner of Cupples Products Inc. of St. Louis

CH Holdings Inc. of St. Louis, the holding company that owns curtainwall manufacturer Cupples Products Inc., is in the process of acquiring all of the stock of Harmon Ltd. of Minneapolis from its owner Apogee Enterprises, Inc., according to Gregg Sage, Cupples's chairman and principal stockholder. The acquisition is subject to closing conditions which are expected to be satisfied in the next several weeks, said Sage. Upon closing, CH Holdings will own 100 percent of three subsidiaries—Cupples Products Inc., Harmon Ltd. and Cupples International Inc.

"This agreement completes our previously announced plan to exit our higher-risk businesses and focus on the core businesses which we believe . . . provide the best opportunity for growth," said Apogee’s president and CEO Russ Huffer. Harmon Ltd. had sales of approximately $85 million during its fiscal 1999 year. The company has worked hard to come back from massive losses in the early 1990s.

Cupples Products Inc. plans to become strictly a manufacturing company that will handle up to 50 percent of the manufacturing for Harmon as well as 100 percent for Cupples International out of its plant in Union, MO. Harmon Ltd. will handle all current and future domestic curtainwall work, while Cupples International will be responsible for all future international curtainwall projects. All installation work for new domestic projects will be handled by Harmon, rather than being subcontracted, according to Sage.

According to information provided by CH Holdings, the engineering staff at Cupples will remain in St. Louis and become part of Harmon Ltd. In addition, the project managers, sales and estimating staff will become a part of Harmon Ltd. or Cupples International. Sage is expected to be remain chairman and William Sewell will be the president of CH Holdings. Sewell will also fill the role of president for Harmon Ltd. until someone else is appointed. The current executive vice president of Cupples, Phil Bonzon, will be promoted to president of Cupples International.

The two companies had been very active competitors for many years, and some industry analysts have voiced concern over the integration of the two into one. "This could be the Safelite-Globe deal of the curtainwall industry," said one such observer.

Discussions of Sale of CPFilms Continue

As of press time, the announcement of the pending sales of CPFilms of Martinsville, VA, to Solutia Inc. of St. Louis, MO, was expected to be made before the end of the month.

CPFilms, formerly known at Courtaulds Performance Products, is one of the largest manufacturers of window film in the United States. Solutia, formerly known as Monsanto, manufacturers the polyvinylbutryl (PVB) interlayers used in laminated glass.

Harding Glass Puts Acquisitions on Hold

Kansas City-based Harding Glass has put its much publicized acquisition program on hold indefinitely and suspended future acquisitions. Harding, the subject of much media hype for its expansion, pulled the plug on the program earlier this month.

The company cited its recent flurry of acquisitions as reason for the suspension. Harding most recently acquired Pritchard Paint & Glass of Charlotte, NC, and Premier Auto Glass of Columbia, SC. "We would like to improve the performance of the ones we have before continuing to acquire more," said Bud Cornelius, CEO. "Best case scenario, our expansion program could be restarted as early as three months and worst case, six months."

"This is time to regroup, not a permanent closing of the program," said Steve Wisdom, executive vice president of operations. "The company’s main concern is to assimilate all of the acquisitions from an accounting and computer standpoint," said Wisdom. "We need to get everyone up to the Harding standard so that operations can run smoothly."

Sources familiar with the situation who preferred not to be identified said the move was made in response to pressure from Harding’s owner, Sun Distributors. "Sun said ‘shut it off,’" said the source, "and really gave Harding no choice in the matter."


Laminated Glass Corporation 50 Years Old

The Lam-inated Glass Corporation of Telford, PA, is celebrating its fiftieth anni-versary in the glass industry. At its inception, the company only handled glass laminating. Today, the company has a variety of high performance products, including bullet-resistant laminates, glass-clad polycarbonates, laminated polycarbonates and SentryGlass Plus, a new composite laminate which offers exceptional resistance to impact, said Michael Lerner, president.


Tubelite Products Meet Criteria

Reed City, MI-based Tubelite Inc. tested its 200 and 400 series curtainwall products under a more challenging set of test criteria.

The new tests required the products to undergo 15 different procedures designed to measure whether or not products meet the desired quality standard. Areas tested include static pressure air infiltration, static pressure water resistance, dynamic pressure water resistance, uniform load deflection, thermal cycling, seismic testing and uniform structural overload, according to the company. The results for the 200 and 400 series are included in the company’s latest design manual, both in print and on CD-Rom, as well as on the company’s website at www.tubeliteinc.com.


Ultra Hardware Opens New Facility

Ultra Hardware Products LLC has opened its one million-cubic-foot warehouse facility in Pennsauken, NJ. The $1.8 million facility will accommodate the company’s growth from an acquisition of a primary competitor, its expansion into new product lines and a growing customer base.

The warehouse is 53-feet tall with 45-feet of shelving to stock merchandise ten pallets high (as opposed to the usual two or three). The company purchased specially designed lift trucks and installed super flat floors with permanently installed guides for the lift truck in order to create an extremely efficient warehouse environment, said an Ultra spokesperson.

The new facility has provided the company with additional opportunities to add new product categories, such as plumbing products, cabinet hardware and component parts for the OEM window and door industry.

New Manufacturing Plant for Arch Aluminum

Arch Aluminum and Glass Co. Inc. held a ground breaking ceremony for its new 50,000-square-foot glass and aluminum fabrication facility in Jackson, MS. The 75 employee plant will represent an investment in excess of $3 million dollars. The plant will include an HHH convection custom tempering furnace, a new automated glass cutting system, a new insulating glass line and a custom architectural aluminum fabrication operation, according to Leon Silverstein, chief operating officer.

GED Opens Plant in Twinsburg

Glass Equipment Development Inc. announced the opening of its new manufacturing and office facility in Twinsburg, OH. The new facility houses the sales and marketing offices, research and development (R&D) engineering and software development offices, R&D machine building facility, CNC machining centers and the CNC punching and bending fabrication centers. The total square footage of the company’s manufacturing headquarters and service areas now totals 144,000.


North Country Glass Inc. Acquired

ThermoView Industries Inc., a designer, manufacturer, marketer and installer of custom vinyl new and replacement windows and other home improvement products, has acquired North Country Glass Inc. of Mandan, ND, for an undisclosed amount of cash and common stock. North Country Glass Inc. supplies Heat Mirror™ insulating glass window units to distributors/installers of custom vinyl replacement windows. This acquisition is ThermoView’s twelfth merger and/or acquisition transaction since becoming a publicly traded company in April 1998.

Alcoa Inc. Acquires 50 Percent of C.C. Pace

Alcoa Inc. of Knoxville, TN, has acquired a 50 percent interest in C.C. Pace Energy Services, LLC of Fairfax, VA. The joint venture will be called Pace Global Energy Services (PACE). C.C. Pace is an energy management and consulting firm, while Alcoa is a producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina.

"Our joint venture with C. C. Pace will enable us to implement innovative cost-reduction strategies for our own facilities and participate in the growing market for value-added energy services," said Randy Overbey, president of the energy division of Alcoa.


AAMA Forms Glass Materials Council

The American Architectural Man-ufacturers Assoc-iation (AAMA) has formed the Glass Materials Council. The council will provide technical, regulatory, legislative, marketing and certification support to AAMA members. Glass manufacturers will make up the council and will work to ensure establishment, maintenance and communication of industry quality standards. Responsibilities of the council include: monitoring ENERGY STAR® and Department of Energy programs and providing direction and influence over decisions related to glass issues; monitoring National Fenestration Rating Council activities and providing direction and influence over decisions related to glass issues; monitoring and influencing state code legislation related to glass issues; and maintaining active communication with other glass-industry organizations. Bradley P. Boone, of PPG Industries Inc., and Grant T. Muller, of Pilkington Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., will serve as co-chairs.

AAMA National Committee Reports

Several committees met at the recent American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) meeting in Florida. A new task force discussed the formation of a new concept in product certification. The program would eliminate permanent labels and provide participating companies means of a third party certifying their entire product output. The task force will meet again at its next meeting to be held May 23 to 26.

The GMC Marketing Committee proposed a mission statement and goals. The committee will also begin development of a consumer-training module for energy-efficient glazing, according to Brad Boone of PPG and Grant Muller of Pilkington Libbey-Owens-Ford, co-chairs.

The Skylight Integration Harmonization Task Group also met. The goal of the group is to integrate AAMA 1600 and NWWDA I.S.7 into one voluntary specification. The standard would include flat glass and plastic glazed units. Discussions were held as to the relevance of having skylights included in the new standard or having a different document for skylights, according to Roland Temple of Velux, chairman of the task group.

NAHB to Run RemodelAmerica

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of the Re-modeling Industry (NARI) announced that NAHB will own RemodelAmerica. The groups say this will benefit their members and the remodeling community across North America. NAHB also owns the Remodelers’ Show™, and both shows will be managed by the NAHB convention division. RemodelAmerica will continue as an annual event in the spring and the Remodelers’ Show will take place each fall in different regions of the country.


Glass Expo Calgary ’99

The glass and metal industry will participate in educational workshops, seminars and demonstrations as Glass Expo Calgary premiers June 25 and 26 at the Coast Plaza hotel in Calgary, Alberta.

The expo will provide workshops, seminars and presentations for the auto and flat glass and metal industries. Hands-on auto glass, shower door and mirror installations will all be held during the event. In addition to the seminars, there will be a tour of a local industry business, a cocktail party and a breakfast featuring USGlass columnist Lyle R. Hill.

Nominations Open for Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™

Nominations are now being accepted for annual induction into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™. The Hall of Fame honors those individuals who have made a difference both personally in the lives of others and who, through their actions, have raised the level of professionalism in the glass and metal industry. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by USGlass magazine.

Deadline for nominations is July 1, 1999 and the winners will be announced in August. The dinner and awards presentation will take place in conjunction with Glass Expo Midwest ’99, on October 22, 1999 at the Cleveland Marriott in Cleveland, OH.

Glass Expo Hawaii™ A Success

Glass Expo Hawaii, held February 19 and 20 at the Turtle Bay Hilton Tennis and Golf Resort on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, attracted more than 600 visitors from 41 states and six countries.

The show encompassed educational seminars and demonstrations along with a trade show and social events. One seminar, Auto Glass Insurance Interface in the Next Millennium, featured John Barlow of Safelite Glass Corp., Mark Friedman of Nationwide Insurance, William Hardt of State Farm Insurance and Bud Oliver of NAGS. Other seminars included a demonstration of proper mirror installation techniques presented by Chris Palmer-Ball and Jim Halpin of Palmer Products, and ways of working with your architectural metals supplier, led by Cindy Alveard of Vistawall and Tom Miller of the Kawneer Company.

The expo was sponsored by the Independent Glass Association and USGlass magazine.


Proposed Changes to NBC

The following changes/revisions were made to the National Building Code as interpreted by the AAMA:

Section 1017.3 B72—Clarifies that the face of a swinging door is the basis for the measurement of clear width (32 inches). The current code language can be interpreted to prohibit any projection into the clear width of the door opening including any door hardware, which is too restrictive and inconsistent with ADAAG or CABO A117.1.

Section 1017.3 B73—Establishes a reasonable range of projections for door hardware and trim that will not limit the use of the door by a person in a wheelchair. Limits projections less than 4 inches and more than 34 inches above floor level to maintain accessibility. A final modification permits some projections into the door width at the head of the door)

Section 1017.4 B75—Adds an exception to the side-hinged swinging egress door requirements for Group B occupancies (50 or more persons). Allows sliding doors serving rooms having a maximum occupant load of ten (small office spaces, parking garages). Proponent references same provisions in NFPA, ICBO and the new ICC.

Section 1110.1 B102—Adds additions to the alterations section when determining accessibility, such as the 20 percent path of travel requirement. Also exempts alterations and additions to windows from these accessibility provisions. It was modified to remove the exception for windows in determining the accessible routes for additions.


AFG and TruSeal Form Partnership

The exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights for AFG Industries Inc.’s Comfort Seal spacer have been given to TruSeal Technologies, according to James W. Bradford, Jr. president and chief executive officer (CEO) of AFG and August J. Coppola, president and CEO of TruSeal. Over a period of four to six months, AFG’s current extrusion operations will be moved to TruSeal’s Barbouville, KY, plant while current Canadian customers will continue to be serviced from Toronto.

Courtaulds Aerospace Inc. Changes Its Name

Effective February 1, 1999, Courtaulds Aerospace Inc.’s name changed to PRC-Desoto International Inc. The name change was a requirement under the acquisition of Courtaulds plc by Akzo Noble in July 1998. The corporate structure, officers, directors and employees will remain the same, according to Ted Clark, president and chief executive officer. All existing product names, numbers, office and factory locations, telephone and fax numbers will also remain the same.

TRACO Introduces Name and Logo Changes

Pittsburgh-based TRACO has completed name and logo changes for its subsidiary companies, Skytech Systems® and Security Window & Doors. The new names are TRACO Skytech Systems® Inc. and TRACO Security Windows & Doors Inc. In addition, each subsidiary will be represented with a new logo.

"The purpose of the name change is to position our subsidiary companies in alignment with TRACO as an extension of existing product lines . . .," said Nanci Case, vice president for corporate marketing.

Reorganization Occurs at POLYGAL®

POLYGAL U.S.A. of Janesville, WI, has organized its customer service department to quickly respond to requirements of representatives, distributors, OEM and end user customers. Several promotions and title changes have taken place.

The recently enlarged warehouse facility now maintains an inventory of more than three million square-feet of the company’s products, ready for order processing, packaging and shipping within 48 hours, according to company representatives.


PPG Posts Fourth Quarter Results

PPG Industries recorded a fourth-quarter 1998 net income of $162 million including after-tax restructuring charges of $8 million. In 1997’s final quarter, the net income was $159 million including restructuring charges. Also, PPG’s board of directors raised the quarterly dividend to 38 cents a share from 36 cents.

"Acquisitions since 1997, as well as continuing gains in manufacturing efficiency, contributed to sales and operating earnings for our three business segments: coatings, glass and chemicals," said board chairman and chief executive Raymond W. LeBoeuf. "Our disciplined acquisition and divestiture program is part of our strategy."

Southwall Technologies Charged One-Time Fee

Southwall Technologies Inc. will incur a one-time charge against earnings for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 1998. The company had quality problems associated with a small percentage of its anti-reflective film that was manufactured and shipped in early fiscal 1998. As a result, the company estimates that it will incur a one-time charge against earnings of up to $1.5 million.


Indonesian Glass Industry is Threatened; Japan Sheet Production Falls

The entry of cheap imported sheet glass with only a five percent import tax is threatening the Indonesian glass market, according to Comtex Newswire. Hendra Heryadi, the president of glassmaker PT Multiglass, said the cheap sheet glass is imported by PT Alam Kaca Prabawa Indonesia (AKPI), a producer of mirror glass which enjoys an import tax exemption from the Capital Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) for raw materials and supporting documents. Heryadi sent a letter concerning the matter to BKPM, but has not yet heard a response. He also asked the government to review the amount of import duty imposed to imported sheet glass.

In addition, the output of sheet glass in Japan fell 18.5 percent in August from one year ago to 2.182 million boxes, according to a report in Comtex Newswire. Shipments totaled 2.061 million boxes, down 9.9 percent and the fourteenth straight month of year-on-year declines, according to the Japan Sheet Glass Association. The decline is attributed to weak housing starts and cutbacks in automobile output.

CPIV Voices Concern Over Glass Dumping in Europe

Glass dumping in Europe is a concern to the Comite Permanent des Industries du Verre de la Communaute Economique Europeenne (CPIV), according to Norbert Ullmann, president. CPIV is the voice of the industry in its relations with European institutions and represents the industry with the European authorities. Ullmann discussed the concerns at a press conference at Glasstec ’98.

The committee is urging European authorities to not abolish tariff duties. Currently there are high tariff duties in the United States for domestic and safety glass. The committee is also requesting more protection for the glass industry against voluntarily and involuntarily dumped imports to avoid further closing of glass companies.


Forbes® Features Donnelly

Auto parts supplier Donnelly Corp. is featured in the March 8, 1999 issue of Forbes. Donnelly Corporation manufactures 95 percent of the rearview mirrors in North America. "Looking for Nirvana," discusses the company’s attempts at management of its plants. After several failed attempts, the company hired Art Smalley and Russ Scaffede, former Toyota managers. Since 1996 defects have fallen from 1,290 parts per million to 92 last year.


In the article about Glass Week, (March USG) Larry Beese was misidentified when quoted as saying his company was trying to hold its increases to 3 percent. Beese works for Interpane.

We also provided incorrect information about the content of TruSeal’s website. The website provides info about insulating glass sealants.


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