Volume 40,   Issue 7                                  July 2005


Operations Ceased at Westcrowns Inc.; 
Company Files for Bankruptcy

The Westcrowns Group, parent of Westcrowns Inc., the sole U.S.-distributor of Pilkington’s Profilit glazing system, ceased the Shallotte, N.C., operations June 10 and abruptly shut down the facility after learning that it would no longer have that exclusive position with the product. The product is still distributed in the U.K. by the Westcrowns Group.

According to industry sources, Pilkington and Westcrowns had been in negotiations on continuance of their relationship. Pilkington was said to have been talking to other potential distributors for the product at the same time. 

Speculation is that Westcrowns, which is a privately held U.K. company, saw no advantage to continuing the U.S. operation and financing it when other competitors would be selling the same Profilit product. 

Others speculate that Pilkington started looking for other sources of distribution because it did not think it was getting as many sales for the product as it should have from Westcrowns Inc.

Since closing the North Carolina operations, Westcrowns Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of North Carolina, Wilmington Division, according to William Janvier, the bankruptcy lawyer who is representing the company. Janvier, who is with Everett Gaskins Hancock & Stevens LLP in Raleigh, N.C., explained that with the filing, which is a liquidation bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee to oversee the liquidation of the company’s assets and to sort out its financial matters.

Thomas Braun of Pilkington’s German office told USGlass that Pilkington still has an exclusive arrangement with Westcrowns Inc. for sales of its Profilit product in the United States until the end of August.

In an e-mail, Braun stated, “In general it is our intention to supply Profilit profiled glass to the U.S. market in the future as well, and we are actually reviewing our market position but can not, at this stage, yet tell you more details.”

He added that at this time he could not comment on the situation with Westcrowns Inc., but “we are surprised by this development.”

Optimum Windows Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Optimum Window Manufacturing, a manufacturer of fire-rated steel and special metal windows, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The company was founded in 1985 by Candido Perez, and today is operated by Perez along with several family members, including his son Candido Jr. (C.J.), who serves as operations and marketing vice president.

The company began its operations in the Bronx, N.Y., with seven employees in a 20,000-square-foot facility. In 1990 the company relocated to Ellenville, N.Y., into a 137,000-square-foot facility. 

“I am proud that Optimum has achieved this level of success and I thank our customers, our employees and my family for having made this accomplishment possible,” said Perez.

“Our products are known across the country, and my dream of bringing high-quality windows and doors to the marketplace is realized every day.” 

Insulite Opens Laminated Glass Facility
Insulite Glass Co., located in Olathe, Kan., has announced the opening of a laminated glass facility that will produce custom and stock sheet laminated glass products. 

According to information from the company, a Casso-Solar line with a Melco Steel autoclave will produce glass products ranging in sizes up to 84 by 144 inches. It will also be able to produce products for blast-, security- and hurricane-resistant applications.

The laminated glass line will be managed by Bruce Frisbie, who also oversees the company’s Glaslite division.

Baker Becomes Sole Principal of IBA Consultants 
Mark Baker, president of IBA Consultants Inc., has purchased the remaining 10 percent of company shares from Israel Berger of New York City. The purchase makes Baker the sole principle of the company.

“Israel and I worked together for a long time and we were quite successful in the growth of our company,” Baker said in the release. “At IBA we look forward to continuing to lead our industry as we bring the latest innovative technology and advanced service methodologies to our clients.”

Baker, whose career began by conducting failure investigations while working on his mechanical engineering degree, teamed with Berger in 1989. In 1996, the two formed IBA Consultants, an engineering firm specializing in high-rise envelopes, glass and glazing consultation, and Baker became managing partner. He has continually purchased ownership shares from Berger throughout the years.

In other news, IBA has also opened a new full-service office in Las Vegas that will serve the West Coast construction market. 

“The Las Vegas market is one of the fastest growing areas in the country,” said Baker. “Local developers and others brought us out here because our Florida and international high-rise building experience is relevant to their projects. Since our project list grew so quickly it made sense for us to open a full-time office to serve this market, as well as the West Coast.”

With the opening the Las Vegas office, IBA now has four locations. 

Arch Announces Continued Expansion in Orlando and Denver
Arch Aluminum & Glass of Tamarac, Fla., is continuing to expand its Orlando, Fla., facility. In addition to the two new tempering ovens it added in January, which are expected to be in operation by August, the company is adding a Billco 84-inch laminated autoclave.

“Our goals are still the same, to be able to provide customers with the products they need to grow and thrive in their businesses,” said Leon Silverstein, president and chief executive officer.

The addition will give Arch its third laminating line in Florida; others are in Tamarac and Fort Pierce. The Orlando and Tamarac operations will focus on day-to-day laminated needs, while the Fort Pierce facility will handle project work and specialty items.
The Orlando autoclave is expected to be functional by November.

Arch has also purchased a new tempering oven from HHH Architectural Tempering for its Metro-Denver location. The new oven is an 84 by 180 double bay that will be able to temper the company’s complete line of products.

“We’ve only been open here a short time and so far it’s been super, and adding equipment like this will allow us to service the customer base even better,” said David Gillikin, Denver branch manager.

In addition to the new furnace, Arch also has plans to upgrade its fabrication, insulating and aluminum processing equipment.

Vistawall Announces the Opening of Pennsylvania Office
Vistawall Architectural Products of Terrell, Texas, has announced the opening of an engineered products office in Bloomsburg, Pa. According to the announcement, the new location expands its capabilities in estimating, engineering and project management for curtainwall projects.

Brian Cooke, who has 18 years of experience in the architectural aluminum industry, will be serving as the engineered products manager for the Pennsylvania office.

Bromer Inc. Announces New Optimization Equipment Company
Roger Mercure, president of Bromer Inc., and Elmar Zeidler, formerly of Grenzebach, have together formed a new company called Zeimer Inc.

The two have formed Zeimer Inc., a private company, offering expertise in the operation of optimization equipment for the glass, stone and building industry.

Mercure has been the president of Bromer Inc. for 21 years. Zeidler was previously the chief engineer for Grenzebach Corp. in the United States and prior to that with Grenzebach GmbH in Germany.

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