Volume 35, Number 11, November 2000

Rise in Fuel Prices Lead to Increases in Float Glass Prices

Citing fuel costs in general, and the increased cost of natural gas in particular, a number of float glass suppliers added energy surcharges to their truck load pricing for flat glass Monday, October 16.

“Natural gas prices have more than doubled in three months!,” said F.J. Collin, vice president of sales for AFG Industries in a letter to customers dated September 28, 2000. “We have seen natural gas prices increase from $2.50 per MMBTU to more than $5.30 per MMBTU ... Three of AFG’s most significant costs; natural gas for our furnaces, electricity and diesel fuel to ship our products to your facility, have risen dramatically and outside of our control.”

According to Collin, AFG implemented a $300 per truckload-shipped energy surcharge effective October 16. The surcharge also applies to customer pick-ups.
AFG is far from alone in its actions. On October 3, Richard W. Karcher, president of building products North Amer-ica for Pilkington, notified his company’s customers that a $300 charge would be added to all truckloads starting October 16 as well. Guardian followed suit the following day and instituted a $300 per truckload surcharge.

The move toward surcharges began September 26 when Barry J. McGee of PPG Industries announced that his company would impose a $300 per truckload charge beginning October 16. “Higher costs for natural gas, transportation fuel and electricity are impacting all of us with growing severity,” wrote McGee in a letter to customers. “In our case, natural gas is the primary energy fuel for flat glass production. Natural gas prices have increased more than 120 percent this year ...”
All four major manufacturers have inaugurated surcharges to continue into the coming year and to be tied to various energy indices.

Fabricators and distributors contacted by USGlass magazine say they will be unable to absorb the surcharge without passing it along to their customers. Fabricator Hehr Glass Company of Newton, Kan., will add an energy surcharge of 1.5 percent to each customer’s invoice, beginning October 30, 2000. Karas & Karas Glass Co. Inc. of South Boston, Mass., instituted a 2.5 percent surcharge on all orders, as well, which began Monday, October 30.

“We will have to pass it along,” said the owner of a large Midwestern glass distribution company. “It appears to be more permanent than temporary and it’s just too much for us to absorb.”

Caliburn and eGlass Form Partnership

Caliburn Inc. and eGlass Technologies Inc. have united in a partnership with hopes of providing helpful software to the fenestration industry. Caliburn, a software provider for the window and door industry, hopes the partnership with eGlass Technologies, a software provider to the flat glass manufacturing and fabrication industries, will provide both with opportunities for expansion.

“Caliburn and eGlass have unique expertise in the window and door and glass industries, and the combined efforts will enable us to provide superior customer support and expand our market expertise,” said Caliburn president Andy Woods. “We are excited about the opportunities open to us and look forward to expanding both our market shares.”

Brad Kryger of eGlass Technologies agreed. “By forming a strategic partnership with the world’s leading software provider for the window and door industry, as a group, we can concentrate on the unique needs of each customer,” he said. “We feel very fortunate to be a part of such an exciting offering to the fenestration industry.”

Guardian Prepares for the Future with New Science & Technology Center

Guardian Industries of Auburn Hills, Mich., celebrated the grand opening of its Science & Technology Center on October 10, 2000, in Carleton, Mich.
The new 50,000-square-foot facility holds 16 laboratories, including a thin film deposition lab where scientists focus on improving coated glass products and study how optical thin films are deposited on to glass. The center employs more than 40 scientists, engineers and technicians. According to Guardian, by centralizing its research and development operation, it can apply technologies across product lines with great efficiency.

Guardian president and chief executive officer William Davidson, along with Michigan Governor John Engler, hosted the grand opening ceremony. “This center marks a renaissance for Guardian,” Davidson said. “It is a combination of our history and our future and it is our ambition to be the imagination station of the glass industry.”

Also involved in the ceremony was Scott V. Thomsen, who was named the center’s director in June 1999. Thomsen is responsible for directing Guardian’s Carleton Science & Technology Center and consolidating the company’s product design and engineering and research and development functions.

Several products, which had been developed through the labs, such as infrared reflective glass, Sun-Guard® glass and water-repellent glass, were displayed during the ceremony. Facility tours of the thin film deposition lab, the materials science lab, the glass formulation lab, the chemistry lab, the analytical and material characterization test services and environment test services were also provided.

Husband and wife Russian glass scientists Leonid and Ksenia Landa led a discussion and demonstration in the glass formulation lab, explaining steps and procedures involved in creating colored glass. A display of colored glass samples was also available, with color ranges from grays to reds to yellows and blues. They explained, that by adding certain chemicals, glass can be made any color. “My favorite color is probably the gray, because it is the most challenging to make,” said Ksenia Landa. “There is no one chemical to add to make the glass gray but an exact mixture of several. And also because all of the fashion experts will tell you that gray is the color to wear next year.”

The center began operation in June 2000.