Volume 35, Number 4, April 2000

Leaving Las Vegas

Show Attendees Exit Sin City with Less Money and More Knowledge

by Tara Taffera


While the National Glass Association’s (NGA) annual trade show and convention had a lot to offer attendees, including a bevy of product introductions and informative seminars, the show’s Las Vegas location, in and of itself, was a big draw. Approximately 325 exhibitors and 8,000 attendees attended the event held March 15-17.

wpe1D.jpg (20624 bytes)Approximately 325 exhibitors displayed their wares at the recent NGA show held in Las Vegas.

Kicking it Off

The show kicked off with the opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker Jerry Lewis. But before the comedy king took the stage, the NGA presented awards to two distinguished members of the industry. The Maurice Russell Petersen Memorial Leadership Award was presented to Jim Johnson, executive vice president of Sommer & Maca Industries in Cicero, Ill., who accepted the award saying, “I’m very humbled.” The Glass Professional of the Year award went to Ron Clawson of Looking Glass Inc. in Henderson, Nev.

When it was time for Lewis to entertain the crowd, it didn’t take him long to get the crowd roaring with his wide-ranging comedy schtick. In fact, opening ceremony attendees can say they went to Vegas and saw a “free” show, as Jerry Lewis’ “speech” probably wasn’t much different than his regular comedy routine.

Peppered among his act, Lewis revealed that making people laugh isn’t just something he does; rather, Lewis is a firm believer in laughter and healing. “It is important to believe that you can beat anything with the proper attitude,” said Lewis.


New Product Offerings

Attendees left the opening session for the show floor to join the others who had already descended on the Las Vegas Convention Center. As is customary, many exhibitors unveiled new product introductions just in time for the NGA show.


• Machinery

Machinery companies were out in full-force and occupied a large portion of the exhibit space.

One of these companies, Edgetech IG of Cambridge, Ohio, unveiled its new Super Spacer® Triseal™, a flexible silicone foam tape product. According to the company, the product, which is desiccant filled with preapplied side adhesive, significantly simplifies insulating glass production. Triseal is engineered to accept both a butyl primary seal and a silicone secondary seal. “We’re here to take the Super Spacer into the commercial market segment,” said Edgetech’s Jim Plavecsky.

TriSeal insulating glass units are assembled using using United Kingdom-based Willian’s insulating glass line. Spacers can be applied on the vertical spacer bar alignment rack or on the tilt applicator, depending on the spacer type. In all cases, the glass is handled automatically and the high track speed allows maximum time, within the cycle, for spacer applications.

Another company offering machinery for window manufacturing was Prestik Manufacturing of Mississauga, Ontario, who featured its E’vn Heat IG Press. According to Prestik, window manufacturers using an Intercept IG line are probably producing IG units and waiting for them to cool. But, Prestik says its IG press can allow companies to have finished units directly off the press—including triples. The product includes highly efficient I.R. halogen lamps, a top tray that quickly opens and a bottom tray that slides out, five-pair compression rolls, positive drive system, accurate height adjustment and a safety tension adjustable clutch. The product has been tested by PPG and four systems are currently in use.

A few companies unveiled new edging machines including Italy’s Bottero and Sommer & Maca Industries of Cicero, Ill.

Bottero unveiled the 432 BSE shape edging machine, which was specifically designed for customers needing to grind and polish straight and shaped glass and/or mirrors with small to medium thickness. The 432 BSE allows the creation of several profiles including pencil, flat, bull nose, waterfall, and single OG. Additional features include easy-to-use, reduced set-up time, high accuracy of +/- 0.10 mm (+/- .004), precise axis movement, tolerance grade of ISO 7, quick set-up of reference points by machine spindle, high working speed for fast quality finish, and compact overall dimensions with self-contained electrical cabinet within machine frame.

Sommer & Maca introduced its new automatic economy edger, Model VE-1P. According to Sommer & Maca’s Rene Bergero, the machine is ideal for glass shops who want a better finish but don’t have a great deal of money. “Operator involvement is minimal,” he said.

The machine consists of a 1-phase, 100-volt operations that process glass at 66 inches per minute. The product will process a variety of glass at 1/8-inch to ˝-inch thick and can perform pencil edge, miter and flat and seam edgework. According to the company, the real value of the edger is that it provides companies with an economical opportunity to own an edger and do quality edgework up to six times faster than a belt machine.

While some manufacturers featured a few products, Italy’s Z. Bavelloni, can always be counted on to offer a wide variety of equipment. One product on display was the CN edging machine ALPA 250/4, which can execute shaped, polished engravings. Z. Bavelloni says one of the great features of the machine is that a customer can buy the machine and then later purchase the engraving kit. Additionally, using one machine instead of two avoids loading/unloading of the glass sheets, dual programming and increased set-up time.

The company also featured new peripheral wheels for double-edgers as well as the M series of high-technology cutting tables. The cutting tables are designed to execute both straight cutting and shaped cutting on flat sheets of glass.

• The Big Guys

Like Z. Bavelloni, show attendees couldn’t have missed the large space occupied by C.R. Laurence Inc. of Los Angeles. The company displayed a wide array of products, which included the CRL Production Oil T-Cutter, an updated, upright wet abrasive belt sander, two new RoboToolz™ Laser products, a new mirror overlay system and an insulating glass starter kit.

Attendees may have noticed that one segment of the industry absent from the exhibitor list were the glass manufacturers, with the exception of Visteon Float Glass of Dearborn, Mich., who introduced a new addition to its blue glass family, the Versalux™ Blue 2000T.

The new blue offers a significantly lower shading coefficient than uncoated blue glass and includes a Titanium-based coating. “The new Versalux Blue 2000T is rich in color, easy to work with and readily available to meet the industry’s needs,” said Roy Drake, director of float glass operations.


• Product Variety

TACO Metals of St. Petersburg, Fla., unveiled its new glass clamp at the show. “People stopping by the booth are automatically drawn to this,” said Bill Kushner, vice president. “There’s nothing like it.” Kushner said the product is aimed at designers and architects who are looking for variety. The product, which has been used in Europe, is designed for friction clamping and eliminates the need to drill the glass.

But, the product introduction wasn’t the only news generated by TACO Metals. The company announced that it has split with TACO West and the two are now operating as separate companies.

Electronic Design to Market Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, introduced the Intelli-Sense non-contact coating location system for window manufacturers. The product incorporates a reflective laser technique for use on the production line, glass washers, cutting tables, glass loading stations, edge deletion tables and QC test environments. The large indicators clearly show the location of the coating on the glass being tested.


Exhibitor Feedback

Overall, exhibitors seemed pleased with show attendance and reaffirmed the fact that the show’s Las Vegas location played a big part in its success.

“Las Vegas is a big draw,” said Glasslam’s John Bush. “The quality of leads is unbelievable. It’s not just numbers.”

Mike Cline of Cline Aluminum Doors said traditionally his company doesn’t do well at shows in the West—but that has now changed. “The contacts [we’ve made] will pay for the investment of coming here,” he said.

One exhibitor not as pleased with the show was Ron Chill of PMC Software. “This is not such a good show,” said Chill. “It is mainly geared to glass shops and automotive glass—not PMC customers.”


Educational Sessions/Attendee Response

With all the product displays to keep people busy, it may have been hard to attend some of the seminars, but there was a variety available.

One attendee, Samuel Graham, of National Glass Co. in McMinnville, Ore., said he didn’t get the chance to attend any seminars, but he did make it to the opening session. “I was very impressed with Jerry Lewis,” said Graham.

Graham said he attends one show per year to keep up with the industry. “I like to go and see the products that are out there,” he said. “It’s also partially a vacation for me.”

Another attendee, Bill Blonchek, marketing/sales manager for BOSS Products in Elizabethtown, Ky., traveled to Las Vegas to walk the show and look for potential customers. Bloncheck, a first-time NGA attendee, said he thought the show was pretty good, but did comment that “it was smaller than I expected.”

Next year’s show will be held in Miami March 14-16.


Here and There:

Other Interesting Innovations on Display in Vegas

Machines & Wheels says it received favorable response to the new Topdrill, a combination glass drill and saw, which the company unveiled at the show. In fact, the company says it received a number of orders for the product while at NGA. The product is manufactured byAustria’s Schraml.

While the product processes glass in a vertical plane, following drilling, the glass can also be positioned for saw cutting. Machines & Wheels says this allows cut outs to be made for electrical sockets or cut outs for hinges, without the necessity of marking the glass. In addition, the process is quick as compared to manual sawing and drilling and reduces glass handling to a minimum. The vertical mode of operation also serves to reduce the possibility of scratching, according to the company.  

Salem Distributing Company of Winston-Salem, N.C., introduced a number of innovative new products designed for ease-of-use and hassle-free maintenance.

The Kwik-Change Felt Wheel is attached to polishers using an industrial strength Velcro™ type material. “It makes it much easier to change wheels using velcro,” said Salem’s president Bob Long.

The company also introduced the Rettig 4 Spindle machine, developed by Karl Rettig of Indianapolis. “Our customers have told us they can be frustrated by how difficult it is to fix a small item on a big machine. Karl worked for more than 5 years on this piece of equipment and there is nothing else like it,” said Long. “Every part of it is easily accessible. You can even unplug and change the motor if necessary, without calling an electrician.”


BEMA Prepares for Growth and Expansion in 2000

2000 will be a challenging year for BEMA (Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Assoc-iation).” These were the words of BEMA president Ray Adams of Southeastern Aluminum Products as he welcomed attendees to the association’s recent meeting held March 16 in Las Vegas. “We’re looking toward expansion,” added Adams.

But with only a certain number of shower door companies from which to draw, many in the industry may wonder exactly how BEMA will achieve this goal. According to Adams, for the first time, BEMA will now offer membership at the dealer level.

While BEMA will be expanding its membership base, Adams was pleased to report that more than 90 percent of the current membership has renewed for 2000. This was despite the recent dues increase.

wpe1F.jpg (12273 bytes)Seattle Shower Doors was the winner in the more than $1,500 category.

Product Expansion

While those outside the bath enclosure industry don’t always see the benefits of a bath enclosure, as compared to a less expensive shower curtain, BEMA treasurer Bill Furr of Coastal Industries urged BEMA members to convince others of the benefits.

“One of the markets we’ve never attempted to get into is the renovation market,” said Furr. He requested that anyone working with older projects that notice water damage around the tub take a photo.

“Curtains may be easy but in the long run they cost more due to leakage,” he said. “The only way to prove that is to show before/after photos.”

So what is Furr’s plan once the necessary evidence is collected? Furr plans to approach the hotel/motel trade press, and other publications, with the hopes of convincing others of the benefits of bath enclosures.

“What is a $250 tub enclosure when you have to pay $5,000 to replace the floor because the bathtub fell through,” said Furr.

 wpe1E.jpg (7595 bytes)Northeast Shower Doors was the winner in the up to $1,500 category.

BEMA Awards

The BEMA meeting was also the venue to recognize the winners of its annual design competition. In the under $1,500 category, Steven Dwyer of Northeast Shower Doors in Weymouth, Mass., accepted the award. In the more than $1,500 category, Brian Bergstrom of Seattle Shower Doors accepted the honor.

Seattle Shower Doors intricate design included 3/8-inch tempered glass (with some laminated), curved control panels, and nine panels of glass (seven of which were curved). According to Bergstrom, it took three men one-and-a-half days to complete the installation.

Glass Forecast

Jim Collin of AFG Industries was called on to render his predictions concerning the glass industry forecast. According to Collin’s projections: Glass market demand is expected to increase 1 percent to a record 5.935 million short tons; and the net export balance will increase utilization to more than 97.5 percent. Collin also reported that housing starts are down 5 percent this year, while residential remodeling is up 3 percent. Collin added that flat glass prices have gone down as compared to other building materials. “That’s alarming,” said Collin. “If this continues, I won’t be here next year.” -TT


Spring Glass Expo™ Debuts in Vegas

The inaugural Spring Auto Glass Expo and International Window Film Expo and Conference was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino March 19-21, following the NGA show.

The three-day event featured seminars covering auto glass repair and replacement and window film. The event also included a two-day exposition known as the Spring Glass Expo designed for all three groups. The event attracted 558 attendees.

The event was sponsored by the National Windshield Repair Association and USGlass, AGRR and Window Film magazines. Look for complete coverage in upcoming issues of AGRR and Window Film.


© Copyright 2000 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.