Volume 37, Issue 4, April 2002

Taking it to Texas
Annual Event Brings New Products and Educational Opportunities to the Glass Industry
By Ellen Giard

In the state where it's been said that everything is bigger, the glass industry's largest North American event, the National Glass Association's (NGA) 2002 annual trade show and convention, took place in Houston, March 20-22. Sponsored by the NGA, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Glass Association of North America (GANA), more than 300 companies exhibited a variety of products and services.

"We came here not knowing what to expect due to September 11," said Harold Marion of Machines & Wheels. "It looks like some companies have scaled back."

However, despite a lower than expected turnout, some exhibitors said the show offered positive responses.

"This has been a serious show, with very good quality," said Art Marino, president of Security Impact Glass of Riviera Beach, Fla. "We only brought two [to work the booth] because we heard it was going to be a light show, but the quality has been very good."

Randy Swor of New World Aluminum of Texas, a first-time exhibitor, agreed the show went well. "We have been very-well received," he said. "We will be very busy with follow-ups after the show."

Another first-time exhibitor, VerCeram Co., also found the show beneficial. "Our first-time experience was very positive," said Mark Sadlek, vice president of sales. "The quality of contacts that we were able to make was very good. I am confident that the leads and contacts we came away with will transform into real work and orders in the very near future."

Getting Things Going
Before making their way to the trade show floor, those taking part in this year's event were welcomed by the opening ceremonies. Keynote speaker Peter Schutz, retired chief executive officer (CEO) of Porsche AG Worldwide, challenged the group to strive for achieving extraordinary results from ordinary people.

The ceremony also saw the presentation of two annual awards. The Maurice Russell Petersen Award, known in the industry as simply the Maury Award, was given to Bob Long, president and CEO of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Salem Distributing Co. Long said he hadn't been told prior to the ceremony that he had been chosen to receive the award. "I was surprised," he said. "It wasn't until I heard [Ron Clawson say] 'he attended Cornell University' that he caught my attention."

BOBLONG Bob Long, president and CEO of Salem Distributing was presented the Maury Award.
BLAWRENCE The Glass Professional of the Year Award went to president of Glass Wholesalers Inc., Bob Lawrence, who is also a USGlass

The second award presented was the Glass Professional of the Year, which went to Bob Lawrence, president of Glass Wholesalers Inc. of Houston, and a USGlass magazine columnist. Lawrence said the honor was a "true privilege."

Something to See
As in previous years, many exhibiting companies chose to launch new products.

One piece of equipment drawing a crowd was a kiln from RCN Engineering displayed by Salem Distributing that makes glass sinks. "This machine is automatic—no strain, no pain," said Salem's Long. "We've received all kinds of interest. It's popular with designers on high-end homes."

Sommer & Maca Industries of Cicero, Ill., also displayed and demonstrated new machines. The VE-4+1 is the company's new five-spindle vertical edger. According to the company, the combination edger uses four peripheral wheels and one cup wheel to create "waterfall" edges on glass up to 1-inch thick. "This is the first machine of its kind," said Sommer & Maca's David Nelson. "The interest is phenomenal."

Also at Sommer & Maca's booth was its VFE-6, six-cup flat edger. The VFE-6 six-cup flat edger grinds and cerium polishes glass sizes from 1/8 to ¾ inches in random order without stopping and without machine adjustments, according to the company.
Lisec America, of Eagan, Minn., took to the show its brand-new automated Super Spacer® Solution. The insulating glass machine features glass washing, automatic Super Spacer TSS™ applications, automatic combined gas filling/assembly press and a sealing robot.

Products and Services
Machinery, however, wasn't the only buzzword this year. Several other companies drew a crowd with their products.

BUGGY BUDDY The Buggy Buddy from Goves.                          Groves Groves also offered its glass handling dolly.

SALEMKILN A Kiln that makes glass sinks was displayed by Salem.

Possibly the newest member of the glass industry—joining up the day prior to the show—was Record Products of America Inc. As a manufacturer of equipment that, for example, counts stacks of CDs, the company introduced and demonstrated its new glass-counting machine. "We've been in the other industry for a long time," said Dan Hemperly. "Guardian asked us to take that technology and [create a machine] that could count glass." The battery-operated equipment counts vertically stacked lites, and can even count crated lites, regardless of thickness.

Hemperly said that response to the product had been very positive, but there was one small discrepancy. Both the company's booth and its product literature described the product as a light-counting machine. "But people have been telling us that it's actually L-I-T-E. So now we're just saying glass-counting machine," he said.

Addressing the self-cleaning glass trend, EDTM Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, demonstrated its new self-cleaning glass coating detector. Model RD 1350 can identify the presence and location of a self-cleaning coating that has photocatalytic and hydrophilic properties. By placing the meter on the glass' surface and pressing a button, it will tell whether it is on the self-cleaning or the clear surface.

EDTM also demonstrated its new solar gain low-E coating detector. According to the company's Mark Imbrock, with the new energy codes in Texas, they have been shipping a lot of these detectors there. Although the codes are not yet enforced, Imbrock says many auditors in Texas are buying this product.

Bringing its latest for demonstrations—and also for view in pages of its 2002 architectural hardware catalog—was C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL) The new catalog offers door rails, handles, locks and accessories and more.

In addition, CRL also introduced a number of new products including electromagnetic locks. These locks are available in single- and double-magnet models, with a range of holding forces.

Another company displaying two new products was Groves Inc. The company introduced its new glass handling dolly and the new Buggy Buddy. According to information from the company, the dolly is designed to transport plate glass, heavy glass and insulating units. It has 8-inch diameter pneumatic tires, and can be used both inside and out on smooth and rough surfaces. It is available in sizes 48 inches long by 12 inches wide and 72 inches long by 12 inches wide.

In addition, Groves offered its Buggy Buddy. According to information from the company, the Buggy Buddy features neoprene rubber on the uprights and the 6-inch wide bed, and has pneumatic tires. It also has heavy-duty 5-inch swivel casters with locking brakes. According to information from the company, tires and casters are positioned outside of the welded steel frame for stability.

Glass is Back
Although the past couple of years may have lacked a strong exhibition presence from major glass manufacturers, this year welcomed three of them back.

Pilkington North America was on hand with its Activ™ self-cleaning glass, as well as AFGD Glass, a subsidiary of AFG Industries, which provided information on the new Radiance Ti™ self-cleaning glass (see January 2002 USGlass page 34 for more on self-cleaning and low-maintenance glass).

Guardian also exhibited and promoted its Sun-Guard glass. The company recently added three new coatings to the series: Sun-Guard Pewter-30, Sun-Guard Platinum-23 and Sun-Guard Silver-10. According to information provided by Guardian, the new coatings are available on clear or green glass. The Pewter-30 and the Platinum-23 have an antique-silver appearance, while the Silver-10 has a sterling-silver appearance.

A Learning Opportunity
A number of seminars also took place offering a wide selection of educational topics. Seminars included topics such as roller-wave distortion (see related article, "Rolling Forward"), which was led by Vesuvius McDanel's Ren Bartoe, and included a panel discussion made up of the GANA's Greg Carney, Alex Redner of Strainoptic Technologies and Mark Abbott of Applied Process Technologies.

Fire-rated glazing (see related article, "Fire Safety"), led by Jerry Razwick of Technical Glass Products and security/impact glazing by Christine Shaffer of Viracon were other seminars available.

The Final Count
Although many exhibitors agreed the crowds at this year's event were fairly thin, both attendees and exhibitors alike said the show was still a fairly good one.

Ligia Braudrick with Southern Glass & Mirror of Plano, Texas, an attendee, said she enjoyed the show. "It's interesting to see what all the products look like [compared to seeing them in a catalog]," she said. "It's good to see the products and meet people."

Next year the NGA show morphs into Glass Build America™, taking place March 12-14, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

GANA Seminar Draws Crowd of 70
In its fourth year, the Glass Association of North America's Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) division held its annual project managers seminar at the Hilton Houston Southwest in Houston, March 21-23. More than 70 participants took part in the three-day event.

In previous years, the BEC has gotten its meeting underway with a plant tour. In its first year the group toured Viracon's facilities, followed by Vistawall's and Guardian's. This year they did things a bit differently and brought bus loads over to the George R. Brown Convention Center on Thursday to tour the NGA show.
But the meat of the event was the vast selection of lectures and presentations on Friday and Saturday. Getting Friday morning underway, Stan Smith, executive director for GANA welcomed the crowd. Andy Gum of Thomas Glass followed with his presentation, Project Management Live! A Day in the Life of a Project Manager. Other presentations included discussions on estimating and working within a budget, project start up and planning and more.

Saturday included a wide selection of seminars covering topics such as energy-efficient windows, wall systems and anchors and somewhat of an interactive discussion on time management. In his presentation, Bob Wudeck of Handspring Inc. brought along several styles and accessories of the hand-held computers made by his company. The hand-held computers offer capabilities to help users stay organized, including phone and address books, to-do lists, e-mail, calendars and more.

Plans for the 2003 BEC educational seminar are presently underway. Tentatively, the event is set for May 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio.

Ellen Giard is a contributing editor for USGlass magazine.


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