Volume 35, Number 12, December 2000


Exhibitors and attendees alike sailed through glasstec 2000, making it the most successful exhibition in the history of the show. The 16th biennial event, organized and managed by the Düsseldorf Messe in Düsseldorf, Germany, is co-sponsored by the Glass Machinery and Plant section of VDMA, (which translates loosely as the Association of German Machinery and Plant Manufa-cturers), with the Federal Association of the Glass and Mineral Fiber Industries and the Federal Craft Association of the Glass Trade (BIV).

glasstec is in a class by itself when it comes to glass industry events and the sheer magnitude of the show is daunting. The five-day, 8-hour-a-day show attracted 52,000 attendees from 74 countries who viewed the products and wares of 1,024 exhibitors from 41 countries. It occupies nine halls, any one of which would be the size of a national trade show in the states. It includes all types of glass and glass working machinery including flat glass, OE auto glass, stained and art glass, glass containers and more.

Better than 1998

Exhibitors and attendees alike generally agreed that glasstec had improved greatly since 1998, when it was held in early September right at the high point of the Asian recession. Then European exhibitors had to return from holiday early to construct their booth stands, leading to a scathing review from GIMAV, the
powerful coalition of Italian machinery manufacturers (see USGlass, December 1998, page 81).

Not so this time. "We are very happy," said Renata Gaffo of GIMAV. "Everything went very smoothly this time, so I get to be more relaxed. The market is doing great and the exhibition is great. Our manufacturers are happy." At the conclusion of the show, GIMAV began in-depth preparations for the other European glass show--Vitrum 2001 to be held in Milan next year (See "Vitrum", the other European show, page 99).

"We are very pleased with how smoothly set up went," said Manfred Lesiak of Peter Lisec. "I'm smiling." Lesiak had other reasons to smile, however, as his company had just introduced a vertical water jet that was garnering quite a bit of attention. But part of the smile might also have been due to the fact that he recently added newlywed to his title, having married the manager of a glass exhibition in Eygpt. "The first time we met was because I had some problems with my invoice from that show and we got to know each other over time," he commented. "But we worked it out."

A number of European suppliers expressed delight in the international monetary situation. The U.S. dollar was at an all-time high against the EURO as glasstec began, making it more difficult for U.S. manufacturers to sell out of the states and providing a competitive advantage to non-American companies.

Both Lisec and Bystronic-Lendhardt had large stands at the event. Bystronic displayed its laminated glass cutting machine with edge deleting unit and its high-performance CNC-shape cutting machine XYZ F 98 R. The equipment offers an edge deletion unit and automatic dust extraction and dressing device. The company says the maintenance-free 3-axis-AC-direct drive combines with the precise profile guides to guarantee maximum cutting precision and shape accuracy, all while maintaining short cycle times.

Grenzebach also had a stand of great magnitude, which it used to showcase some new products including a complete cold end line for oversized glass ribbons and its advanced automotive lines. Its new automotive line equipment means that physical alignment of the glass will no longer be necessary, explained Don Vassel of Grenzebach. The company also announced some major advancements in quality control and "went live" with its information center at http://www.grenzebach.de.

Salem Distributing displayed the Bismatic 2 Plus, an automatic or manual beveling machine for straight or shaped glass sheets without a template. The machine is equipped with an articulated arm, which is assembled with the wheel holding head and a sucker rotating glass-holding plate. It is semi-automatic with a head stop at 90 degrees.

"Normally you have to do a rough cut then a smooth cut, but that's not necessary with the Bismatic 2 Plus," said Bob Long of Salem. The company's new Sep 400 was popular too. The bottom of the tank has a belt and helps keep water and waste from soiling the area.


In the Maddening Crowd

Laser technology was among the most interesting on display at glasstec, with an almost non-stop crowd gathered in the Vitro stand to look at some of the laser products. The effect is a three-dimensional figure carved internally out of glass. The effect is exquisite and quite unique.

Z. Bavelloni created a beautiful Italian piazza that transported visitors right into the center of an Italian town. It looked so life-like that one U.S. visitor (who hasn't been to Italy yet) wondered if it was a replica of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

The company featured nearly 40 products, including a new CNC machine, new family of straight line edging machines, grooving machine, cutting table for laminated glass and a shuttle storage system. It also introduced GEMY, a new family of straight line edging machines. Z. Bavelloni says the present models include 6-, 8-, and 11-cup grinding wheels for flat edge processing with threads, but adds that the machines will be further updated shortly. All models have a new conveyor, the result of an evolution of the one successfully used on other Z. Bavelloni machines. Other functions of the machines include automatic speed control, spindle absorption display, partial and total meter and hour counter and indications regarding maintenance deadlines.


Taken Out to the Ball Game

Glasslam of Pompano Beach, Fla., took advantage of the then on-going World Series to sport a baseball theme in its stand. Visitors were invited to pitch a fast ball as hard as possible in to the company's Break-through Glass"!. Anyone who broke the glass received $1000. While hundreds of people attempted to break the glass each day, only three succeeded during the course of the show.


Born in the USA

Eighty-three firms from the United States exhibited at glasstec, most on their own with 23 in a U.S. "pavilion" in Hall 13. "It's been a good week. We've been meeting people and seeing our customers," said Pete Chojnacki of GED Inc. "This is our first time and it's been great," said Katie Milsap of Hygrade Metal Manufacturing. "We were a bit nervous about getting our freight here, but everything made it and the show's been great."

"It's so nice to hear English every now and then," said Joe Park of Starlite Industries who was working in a stand in Hall 17. "I booked my hotel late and am staying way out in the country in a bed-and-breakfast. It's very nice but no one, absolutely no one, speaks English at all, and I miss conversation," he said.

New to the Messe this year were the messages on the doors of each hall urging attendees to watch out for crime and criminals. A number of laptops were stolen during the show. InterGlassmetal (IGM) organizer Corrine Dame had her purse lifted from the iGm stand in the U.S. pavilion--while she was in it.

Motorized scooters so popular in the United States made their debut at glasstec too, with a number of enterprising attendees using them to get around the vast show quickly.

Visitors from the United States did not seem as prolific as in previous years, but attendees from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet block were strong in number for the first time. But those who did attend were almost giddy with excitement. "We bought an insulating line," said one attendee from the Southwest who preferred to remain nameless. "This is the only place you can see equipment like this. We came to shop and we did." The supplier will actually ship the finished product in March, with a stop first at the upcoming National Glass Association show in Miami and then on to installation.

Conspicuous by their absence were the primary glass manufacturers. Pilkington, PPG, AFG and Guardian all did not exhibit this year. "It was just too expensive," quipped Guardian president Russ Ebeid, who walked the show. "We have to save our pennies." "Just having fun," teased UGC president James Bradford while doing the same.

The Fun Places to Be

Some stands combined business with pleasure. Tamglass Engineering Oy celebrated its sale to a Swiss customer with a reception and entertainment by a renowned Swiss artist.

Tamglass also promoted the HTBS concept, in which the bending and tempering takes place on an adjustable roller bed. No molds are needed and the bending radius is quickly and freely adjustable. The company says this new product extends production capabilities into new dimensions. The new bender design combined with a large heating oven allows production of curved tempered glass sheets to a maximum dimension of 2400- by 1500-mm.

Chief executive officer Pentti Yliheijo announced that Tamglass had sold new machinery worth approximately $12 million at glasstec, with deliveries going to North and South America, the Middle East and Europe.

Interpane's stand in Hall 12 was one of the busiest at the event. Full of activity and fellowship the stand offered a welcome break for customers from around the world. "We tried to do something fun and to remind our customers that we think of them like family," said Joern Hesselback, Interpane's managing director. "Innovation in glass" was the slogan the glass producer chose for the event. It presented two types of solar control glass, ipasol neutral 68/34 and ipasol natura 67/34. According to Hesselbach, these products are attractive options for those seeking energy-efficient properties in glass. The company says these products offer a selectivity value of 2 or 1.97, representing a high light permeability with a simultaneously low transmission of solar energy.

Expanded Education

glasstec included an expanded series of educational programs designed to highlight glass in artistry and technology, mainly to students and architects. The expanded program was met with mixed reviews. "I am not sure if having all those students and architects walking around really enhanced the show," said one exhibitor who preferred to remain anonymous. "They are not really our buyers." But others felt their inclusion a welcome addition.

The opening session included a musical concert of sorts--performed on all-glass instruments: the verrophone, euphonium, musical glasses and the glass armonica. All four types of glass sounds resonated into a symphony with an ethereal quality.

The session was followed by a short welcome by Marc Van Ossel of Saint Gobain, who served as president of glasstec 2000 and a very, very long speech by Dr. Hermann Scheer of Eurosolar who spoke about the importance of glass in energy technology in the future.

glasstec is an enormous and exhausting show. It is an event that everyone in the industry should visit at least once. The next chance to do so will be in October 2002. A review of some of the equipment at the show follows.


Many people who stopped by the Cugher stand were surprised to learn the company was still in the screenprinting business. "We're still here," said the company's representatives.

GIMAV members held a press conference to detail plans for Vitrum 2001.

With more than 1,000 exhibitors at glasstec, it's im-possible for attendees to visit all these booths and view the myriad of products on display. So, if you traveled to Düsseldorf but didn't get to see all the companies on your list, or if you never made it to the show at all, the following is the first review of the latest products and innovations offered by companies listed in alphabetical order.

Bystronic Premier's Cutting Machines and IG Line

Visitors who stopped by the stand of Germany's Bystronic-Lenhardt were able to see a number of new innovations, including a laminated glass cutting machine, a high-performance shape cutting machine and an insulating glass production line.

Bystronic's laminated glass cutting machine with edge deleting unit is for use with low-E glass. According to the company, the fully-automatic separating process is carried out without touching the coating, and the loading of the glass plate occurs automatically via integrated tilting arms.

The high-performance CNC-shape cutting machine XYZ F 98 R is equipped with an edge deletion unit and automatic dust extraction and dressing device. Bystronic says the maintenance-free 3-axis-AC-direct drive combines with the precise profile guides to guarantee maximum cutting precision and shape accuracy, all while maintaining short cycle times.

Bystronic also took advantage of glasstec to premier its highly-automated TPS insulating glass production line. The machine utilizes a two-head CNC sealing robot which seals rectangular formats in two-head technology and shaped-formats in one-head technology, seals depth up to 20-mm for structural glazing and offers quick change unit for processing a second type of sealant.

CMV Provides Infrared Solutions

CMV Hoven GmbH featured products for the glass industry designed for imaging infrared technology. The FPA-thermal camera PYROVISION has a special probe that allows the measurement and visualization of the temperature on the whole glass surface in the smelting pot. The camera's fish-eye lens covers a sight area of 70- by 45-degrees. Additionally, the camera provides a high picture resolution of 768 by 465 pixels allowing the measurement of 400,000 temperature points in less than one second.

CMV also displayed PYROLINE which measures the temperature profile of the passing glass lites and records this in real time in high resolution. The resulting thermal image allows users to draw conclusions at to the process course of different heating and cooling sectors in roller ovens as well as on the RKO-plant. n

This is the first of a two-part article. Product reviews from glasstec 2000 will continue in the January 2001 issue of USGlass magazine.