Volume 37, Issue 12, December 2002GLASSTECBLDG



by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

Twas the night before glasstec and all through my mind
So many thoughts were stirring, racing to keep time.
My prep notes were taken, concisely with care,
Hoping I’d survive this show, on a wing and a prayer.
My comfy shoes were ready on the closet floor (never take shoes you’ve not worn before.)
And in my jammies, tucked away in bed … I couldn’t sleep because it was only 4 p.m. on the East Coast … and visions of massive exhibition halls with thousands of visitors danced in my head.

That’s pretty much how I felt the night before my first glasstec show, which happened to be the most recent, taking place October 28-November 1 in Düsseldorf, Germany. For the past three years the word glasstec has loomed before me. 

I knew I was in for it two years ago when my publisher, Deb Levy, returned from the colossal trade fair and said to me, “You know, the show was great, but we could have used you editorially. You’ll just have to come next time.” And so I did.

Now I’m not one to be pessimistic. I believe there’s always a bright side, every cloud has a silver lining, the whole nine yards. But I have to admit, I do have a tendency to stress about things, and for a fleeting moment (when I saw the exhibitor list for glasstec ’02) I stressed. 

Five days! I only had five days to visit 1,150 exhibitors (114 more than the 2000 show). How can I possibly do that? They’re in nine halls, take up 688,148 square feet of space (that’s 64,500 square feet more than the last glasstec) and come from 42 different countries. (Nope, they don’t all speak English. Makes for difficult conversation at times.) Offering everything from machinery to equipment to new coatings, hardware, anything and everything pertaining to glass, it was all there.
Stop. Relax. Take a moment and breathe. Not every exhibitor is relevant to the readers of USGlass magazine. Many of the companies displaying their products specialize in bottle and container glass. Plus, an entire hall is pretty much devoted to art and decorative glass, such as sculptures and stained glass.

OK. Once I realized that visiting every last booth wasn’t necessary, I relaxed. I can do this. And indeed I did.

Left: Machinery demonstrations always drew many onlookers. At below, from left to right: A glass “bridge” from the Glass Technology Live exhibition; Cricursa’s booth stood as an example of curved glass possibilities; Vesuvius was one of the may companies exhibiting at glasstec.


Day One
With the exhibit halls opening at 9 a.m. and going strong until 6 p.m., I prepared myself early on for long days. The first event I took part in was the official opening of glasstec 2002, which also included the “Glass Technology Live” exhibition.

Martin Nagel, president of glasstec 2002, began the ceremony and greeted everyone there—in German. For those in the audience (such as I) who did not speak German, headsets were provided so we could hear an English translator recite Nagel’s address.

Nagel’s comments concerning the growth of glasstec were encouraging. “[glasstec] is the first international trade exhibition for the glazing trade,” he said. “Today glasstec is disputably the number-one venue … we are developing today tomorrow’s world.”

After the session it was time to cover the show. I took my publisher’s advice and started in the exhibition hall farthest away—17.

Walking into hall 17, the first thing I noticed was Lisec’s “booth,” which stood in the hall’s center. Visitors could actually take a tour of the booth to view demonstrations of nine different pieces of equipment. Included in the product demonstrations were a vertical automatic water-jet cutting and glass processing center, several cutting tables, including the combination float glass and laminated glass cutting table with tilt-table loading table, a vertical bending machine and an automatic IG assembly line for conventional metal spacers.

“We were very pleased with the strong attendance at glasstec 2002 and the response to our entire line of equipment,” said Greg DeWeese, vice president/general manager for Lisec America. “The interest expressed by our customers in increasing their product quality, productivity and profitability by investing in new equipment during somewhat slow economic times highlights the underlying strength of the industry.”

Working closely with Lisec, Edgetech also had a presence at glasstec. Earlier this year the two companies jointly introduced the fully automatic TSS SuperSpeed system, a sealed (IG) unit production method. 

Top Five Things I Learned at glasstec ’02
(and from Düsseldorf in general)
5. Yes, it’s massive. But it’s really not as scary as it seems at first;

4. When ordering water at dinner, be sure and specify, no bubbles;

3. People smoke a lot in Germany (and at glasstec). It’s allowed all through the exhibit halls. So be prepared to do massive dry-cleaning when you return home;

2. Wear dark colors (black pants, skirts, suits and shoes). Bright colors make you stand out and look like a tourist;

1. Wear comfortable shoes.

One Hall Down … 
So I’d covered hall 17 and was headed back to hall 12 (where the USGlass magazine booth was) to plan my strategy for the next hall. Heading back, I bumped into the first familiar face (aside from those of my co-workers) I’d seen since arriving.

“Hello, Ellen!” said the voice of Joern Hesselbach with Interpane Glass Co. “How are you finding the show?”

“It’s big!” I said. We chatted for a moment, and then headed in opposite directions. 

“You are always welcome at our booth, so please come by,” he said as we parted ways.

Always welcome at our booth. Prior to glasstec, not really a phrase that I’d associate with a trade show experience. But walking through the halls, one of the first things I noticed (aside from the complexity and intrigue inspired by some of the massive, encompassing booths) was that many reminded me of a corner bar or lounge. Beer, wine, coffee and snacks were readily available and on-hand (all day long) in a number of booths. Why do I get the impression that many of these folks come to socialize rather than do business?, I wondered to myself. I suppose more often than not business deals are closed over dinner and drinks compared to a conference room table. Right?

Surprisingly, the rest of the day went by rather quickly. At lunch I got into a conversation with the man at the table beside mine. (And yes, he spoke English.) He was from Florida, and told me this was the only show he ever attended. “I never miss it,” he said, “and this one is going to be big. Lots of people will be here.”


While many spent Halloween night dressing up for parties or taking their kids trick-or-treating, Some glasstec participants found another reason to celebrate. On October 31 in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt, USGlass magazine and iGm/FW co-hosted an end-of-glasstec party.

The celebration included lots of German beer (lots!) and German fare. A band was there playing traditional German tunes as well as top American favorites. USGlass magazine marketing director Holly Carter even joined the  duo to sing a couple of tunes.FRITZ

Deb Levy, USGlass publisher, took the opportunity to recognize Fritz Otto Thielman, who retired this year as project director for glasstec.


Top: Holly Carter entertains guests; Center, from left to right: Fritz Otto Thielman says a few words; David Palmer of Ritec, Tom Vinopal from Clearshield and John Czopeck from Somer and Maca; Bottom: Party co-host Corrine Dame of Dame Associates; Guests enjoy a few drinks and relax before the last day of glasstec; Lisec’s Bernard Scheidl and Jonathan Cullum.

Products to See
But whether it was machinery or glass, the one thing glasstec was not lacking (and it didn’t really lack anything anyway) was products. Companies from across the globe set up shop for the week, ready and willing to meet the needs of both customers and potential customers. (Editor’s note: Be sure and check out the January 2003 USGlass, which will feature a round-up of many of the products available at glasstec).

Attendees could view machinery demos from many companies such as Hegla.

For starters, the machinery halls are dominated by massive displays and demonstrations from companies such as Z. Bavelloni, Intermac, Grenzebach and Hegla. Personally, I found the machinery section one of the most interesting; it’s amazing to see what some of the equipment is capable of doing. One of the demos from Z. Bavelloni was the company’s new completely manual Alpa NC. Alpa machines are used for edging, milling, disk cutting, drilling, writing, polished engraving and beveling. Z. Bavelloni’s software division created a program for the Alpa that eliminates the need to manually position suction cups. Through the program, the machine picks up the suction cups from a tool store and positions them on the work surface. By using a PC, operators enter the program requirements for the position of the suction cups and the centering devices.

Left: Lisec offered equipment demonstrations throughout the week of glasstec.  Right: Attendees view machinery demonstrations.

Discussions also took place over an announcement just prior to glasstec concerning a relationship between Z. Bavelloni and Finland-based Tamglass (a Kyro Corp. company). The October 21 news release, issued jointly by both companies, said the two were in negotiations over mutual co-operation. Many at the show were wondering if there was any underlying meaning to this announcement.

“We are discussing. Nothing has been decided,” said Simona Bavelloni of Z. Bavelloni’s communication department. “The rumor that Bavelloni is going bankrupt is not true. We want to see if two strong companies can get together and work together in order to become the strongest group in the field.” She continued, “It’s a proposal to see if we can work together by the year’s end.”

In terms of other machinery, Intermac brought its complete line of glass machining systems, and also unveiled its Pro 5 NC. The CNC machine features a 4100- by 2100-mm worktable, which the company says allows for simultaneous machining of several pieces of glass, either different sizes or one large lite, with just one set-up. The machine is designed for beveling, milling, drilling, engraving and grinding. 

Schiatti was also on hand with some of its new equipment. Included in the new offerings is a drilling machine that can find the glass’s center automatically once the operator enters the lite’s size.

Salem Distributing was also at the show offering a number of its latest machines. Included in the line-up was the Top Kiln oven from RCN, which produces glass sinks without mold marks. Other lines presented included edging and beveling machines from Bovone, bevellers, edgers and polishers from Zanetti and sandblasting equipment from Pezza.

GIMAV, the Italian machinery association, which managed the Italian pavilion, was exhibiting at glasstec as well. The organization was gearing up for its big event, Vitrum, which will be taking place June 25-28, 2003, in Milan. 

“There’s eight months till Vitrum,” said Renata Gaffo Ricci, director. “We’re hoping the companies will have their new plans done and [attendees] will be buying. There’s not a lot of buying going on at glasstec,” she added.

Tamglass not only had a presence at glasstec, but also in the Altstadt (old town) where it hosted the Tamglass pub each night. This was probably a smart move, because with more than 200 bars, the Altstadt is where many involved in glasstec ended up each evening. 

But It’s About the Glass
Despite how amazing glass machinery can be, it’s still not as amazing as glass itself. There were so many different glass concepts and possibilities available that it would be difficult to write about them all. From art glass to architectural glass, to interlayers and coatings if you were in the market for glass, chances were good it could be found at glasstec.

It should go without saying that glass was a big thing. Saint-Gobain, for example, had an enormous presence at the show, with a vast selection of different types of glass. The company’s demonstration of its Stadip Silence, a laminated safety glass for sound insulation, was one that drew a big crowd every day. The display featured a large “room,” made of Stadip Silence, which held dancers and musicians. While the room’s door was open the music was clearly audible (and loud). Once the door was closed, silence. You couldn’t hear any music. A PVB interlayer provides the sound insulation qualities; the glass also meets break-through restraining glazing requirements.

Pilkington was also on hand, and continued to promote its Activ™ self-cleaning glass. In fact, the company recently completed its European product launch of Activ.

Visteon Float Glass Operations was there as well, promoting its line of Versalux™ colored and reflective glasses. 

And keeping up with the architectural trend of the all-glass look, several companies offered systems and products to achieve this design option. Since I had recently attended the Glass Association of North America’s Fall Conference (see the November 2002 USGlass, page 32 for related article), I knew there were industry concerns over point-supported glass, since there is no documented design practice/procedure for such systems. But with more and more architects and building owners wanting that all-glass look, the ability to make that happen was readily available at glasstec. 

Pilkington promoted its Planar™ frameless glazing system, which uses countersunk bolts in the façade. Unlike companies that sell only the hardware for this design option, Pilkington offers a full-service application in that its system includes the company’s Code of Practice for Structural Glass Facades, and every application is designed according to the code’s criteria. 

Those in the market for a decorative glass look had much to choose from as well. DuPont introduced its SentryGlas® Expressions™, a decorative glass interlayer. From logos to paintings, images can be digitally printed onto interlayers for laminated glass. Though a decorative option, SentryGlas also maintains the benefits of laminated glass, including safety and security.

Glasslam was also at glasstec offering two new products: Polylam® and Fast Flo resin. According to Glasslam, the Polylam process is designed to laminate polycarbonates and acrylics to glass for high-security and bullet-resistant composites. In addition, the company’s Fast Flo resin can be used in the manufacturing of a number of products including architectural laminates, bullet-resistant glass, sound-control glass, patterned laminates and more. 

Bottom Line
So, you’re probably wondering, “what’d she think of the show?” Well I’ll tell you. It was an incredible experience for me. I met so many people and saw so many possibilities in glass that I had never really thought of, such as detailed and sculptured curved glass. Companies such as Cricursa of Spain can take glass and bend it into the most incredible shapes and designs. Looking at that company’s booth, which was a curvature of orange glass, it was just mind-boggling to think that it started out as flat.

Compared to the 2000 staging of glasstec, 2,000 more attendees came to this year’s event. In fact, more than 54,000 visitors traveling from 76 countries attended the event. These numbers astound me, considering of all the trade shows I’ve been to in the United States, none have come close to attendee numbers of 54,000. Indeed, the largest only reach around 10 percent of that figure.

Some who came were show veterans; for others, this was their first glasstec experience too.
“For my first time at glasstec I was really impressed with the show’s quality and dimension. I think that anybody who wants to learn about new technologies in the glass industry should come to this show,” said Luc Joubert, president of Protection Knight Inc. of Quebec. 

So, with one glasstec under my belt, take it from me: if you’ve never been to this show and have an interest, need or desire to learn of all that’s happening with glass, you should be making plans now to be there in 2004. I know I am already looking forward to the next exhibition. No dates have yet been set for glasstec 2004, which will again take place in Düsseldorf, Germany. USGlass magazine will be putting together a special glasstec ’04 tour for readers. 


Ellen Giard Chilcoat is managing editor for USGlass magazine.


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