Volume 40,   Issue 11                      November  2005

You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie …
by Ellen Giard, Charles Cumpston and Brigid O’Leary

After a not-so-successful showing in San Diego in March 2004, GlassBuild America went south this year to Atlanta—and exhibitors were happy about the move. The exhibition took place September 13-15 at the Georgia World Congress Center, where organizers say more than 8,000 participants, including exhibitors and attendees (and 482 exhibiting booths) found the latest products, services, machinery and more for the glass and fenestration industries. 

What Was and Wasn’t
This year’s show featured exhibitors offering an array of products ranging from the latest machinery and equipment to doors and windows. However, one element that had a rather small presence at the show was glass. The primary glass manufacturers have not been big exhibitors at GlassBuild America in the recent past. In Atlanta, modest sized booths, compared to what the glass manufacturers display at glasstec in Düsseldorf, were had by AFG, PPG and Visteon. PPG’s booth emphasized the Pittsburgh-based company’s complete services (paint and coating as well as glass), while Visteon promoted its range of colors for architectural glass.

AFG exhibited its pattern glass, and also had a sample of its new low-maintenance glass, tentatively called “Spotless.” According to the company, the product is designed for locations that don’t get much rain and lack sunshine to initiate the photolytic process. The company is targeting the product first to the residential market. AFG’s Fred Wallin expects a lot of window manufacturers to be interested in the combination of Spotless and low-E. The company expects to be fully ramped up by the first of the year.

Also missing this year was the presence of two of the country’s largest fabricators, Arch Aluminum & Glass and Oldcastle Glass.

“This year’s show just did not fit into our plans,” said Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch. “Our goal has been to improve our recognition among the architectural community and we concluded that the Atlanta show would not bring in many people from that sector. We did, however, take the time to recognize our customers who did attend the show by having a hospitality room, and that worked out much better than the hassle of a booth.” 

New Faces
This year’s show also saw an increase in the number of Chinese exhibitors. Twenty-five companies participated, offering everything from hardware to machinery.

A number of first-time exhibitors were on hand this year as well. One company showing at GlassBuild for the first time was Finishing Dynamics, which serves the finishing needs of the architectural aluminum industry. The company is based out of Villa Rica, Ga., and according to Lance Gotfredson, vice president of sales, the Atlanta location was one of the reasons they chose to exhibit.

“We’re on our own turf, so it’s good for us to get a feel for the show,” he said, and added that it had been a good experience for them. “We’ve done jobs for people we’ve never gotten to meet before and we were able to meet them face-to-face here, so it’s been very positive.”

“It’s been sensational for us,” said Giannini, who said they were able to find 30 new showrooms from exhibiting.

Technoform, which has its global headquarters in Germany and North American in Cleveland, was also new to the show. For the commercial glazing industry the company offers its I-Strut spacer bar.

Energy Crisis
“North America is the last market to see the effects of the energy crisis and now energy prices are up so … we’re seeing a tremendous demand for thermal products,” said Mark Silverberg, company president. Silverberg said his company chose this year to launch its products in North America since they have been seeing continued growth globally. “North American thermal codes are asking for the next generation solution for frames and glass,” he added.

As far as the show, Silverberg said it was a good experience, as several of the commercial companies had stopped by the booth. “We’re definitely on their radar screen,” he said.
One thing many exhibitors did well this year was draw attendees to their booths. One company that enjoyed a constant crowd was Edgetech I.G. of Cambridge, Ohio. This year, instead of bringing equipment to the show the company opted for a Vegas-style booth, complete with gambling tables, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike and a jazz trio. The company also offered what it deemed the 360 degree lounge, which played off the company’s message—the 360 service package. 

“With 360, our message is that everything comes back to the customer,” said Erin Johnson, director of marketing.

Although there was no equipment at the booth, it was still a strong focus of the company’s message. Plasma televisions in the booth showed the various lines available from different suppliers including Billco, Bystronic, For.el, LD Industries, Lisec, Spadix and Uvekol. 

“Our message is that customers don’t have to get boxed in by one supplier,” said Johnson. 

The booths of many other exhibiting companies also saw steady streams of attendees throughout the show.

Marcel Bally, sales and marketing director with Bystronic said they were very pleased with the show.

“We came expecting a better show than ever before in North America and our expectations were met fully,” he said. “We sold equipment right off the show floor and we have never really done that before.” Bally said they sold the vertical cutting machine to someone who came to the show with no interest of buying. He also said attendees were very interested in the new automatic Super Spacer® line.

“It’s been extremely busy and we’ve seen lots of traffic,” said Phil Plant, Billco’s director of sales. Plant said his company sold a number of equipment lines at the show as well, including cutting lines, washers and spacer application machines. 

TruSeal unveiled its enhanced TAPE-AT machine, which features a simplified design. The company has partnered with Besten Equipment (now, like TruSeal, owned by Quanex) to design a machine that is 30 percent more compact than the previous version and built with advanced control software to simplify maintenance. The insulating glass units made during GlassBuild were to be sent to a customer, Moss Supply, after the show.

According to Darcy Meyer, general manager for Besten Equipment Inc., the TAPE-AT system has been simplified substantially.

“It’s simplified for operators and highly automated,” he said.

Gus Coppola, president of TruSeal agreed that automation was key. “We’re finding a much wider variety of customers size-wise looking at automation,” he said. “Much more value is being placed on automated technology to make the product faster, better and less expensive.”

Say it with Glass
Decorative glass continues to be a big trend within the architectural glass community, and a number of exhibitors offered products to meet that demand. Joel Berman Glass Studios of Vancouver, for example, exhibited with its cast glass products. In addition, the company is working closely with a number of others including Kwik-Wall, Pilkington and Technical Glass Products, all of which offer Joel Berman glass in some of their product lines.

Roy Drost of Sevasa, an acid-etched glass producer, said they can produce their products in heavy glass up to a ½-inch thick.

“Architects are always looking to set new trends and fads,” Drost said. “We’re here to help fill that need.”

Carey Mobius of Garibaldi Glass (also a distributor of Joel Berman Glass) said their ceramic frit patterned glass was a big draw.

“People are coming to the booth and looking for something different,” he said. “They want something that is not a commodity; people are looking for a change.”

Interlayer manufacturer Sekisui was showing its Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) co-polymer interlayer for laminated glass. According to Michael Dent, sales and marketing representative, EVA does not need an autoclave to be laminated. Other materials, such as cloth and metallics can also be laminated with it into the glass to create patterns and designs.

Making a Splash
A number of companies at GlassBuild offered their latest in bath and shower enclosures. Oben USA was one of the companies (also a first time exhibitor) offering curved shower doors. Derek Englefield, president of Oben said they received a fantastic response to their new curved glass enclosures.

Coral Industries of Tuscaloosa, Ala., also exhibited an array of shower enclosure products, including its frameless line. Tim McKinley, who handles the company’s sales and marketing and product development, said the frameless products are the ones that continue to be the most popular.

“We’ve continued to develop the product because homeowners are looking for no metal,” McKinley said. “We have a 3/8-inch heavy bypass door that has no vertical metal. We’ve upped the bar to creating an enclosure that is truly frameless.”

Coral also offers several other options for its product line, including new glass patterns and color.

Ray Adams of Coastal Industries was also on hand at GlassBuild. He is seeing an increase in shower doors made with thick (3/8-inch) glass.

“And a shower door gets used everyday, so we want it to operate smoothly,” said Adams.

He said that homeowners are also very interested in patterns right now. “They want to jazz up the bathroom,” Adams said, and added that they are now offering a 3/8-inch bypass door with the etre patterned glass from Joel Berman Glass Studios.

“This is very popular, but pricey,” Adams said, but added, “Coastal has products, though, for every home, from starter homes to million-dollar homes.”

Hardly Just Hardware
With Hurricane Katrina still fresh in everyone’s minds (Katrina actually kept some exhibitors from attending the show, including Dependable Glass Works of Covington, La.), security was a big topic among the hardware exhibitors.

“With the hurricane, we’ll see a flurry of work, but that will be another six months or so,” stated Mary Hester, outside sales manager for JLM Wholesale of Oxford, Mich. “And this work will definitely include security,” she added. “They should have had security in the codes before, but now they’ll have to because of the storm.”

James Lajeunesse, vice president engineering-foundry for the Bronze Craft Corp. of Nashua, N.H., said, “Bomb blast multi-point hardware is very important for us.” 
Mark Gabor of Express Hardware in Barrington, Ill., made the point that there is also greater consciousness for ADA compliance in the lock business. 

“Fifteen years ago, levers were a much smaller part of our business,” he explained. “Now, people want to know which levers are compliant with ADA. And steadily over the last seven years, knobs have been disappearing.”

Paul Daniels, vice president of sales for C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. in Los Angeles, said that with the heavier ½-inch glass being used more these days, there is increasing demand for hardware products to handle it.

Currently in Curtainwalls
Current events are impacting the curtainwall business, as well, according to exhibitors.
Clark Folsom, marketing manager for U.S. Aluminum Corp. in Waxahachie,Texas, said his company was promoting its impact- and blast-resistant products. 

“Hurricane glazing has been a nice, growing area,” he explained, “and now with Katrina, we’re going to see new codes coming out in those areas, which will be good for the curtainwall industry.”

Terry Newcomb, marketing director for Thermal Windows Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., said he had just been online and there was a list of 100 hurricane rebuild projects that had already been approved. “Business has really picked up with the hurricanes,” he said. “Six months ago I wouldn’t have predicted this level of business.”

Condominiums are also a favorite topic for the commercial window suppliers.

Jeff Rutledge, vice president of sales for the Vistawall Group of Terrell, Texas, reported that the company would be opening a new extrusion press in October at its Greenville, Tenn. facility. 

“It will give us a 25-percent increase in capacity,” he said. “Demand is driving it. We have window products for high-rise condos and that is hot for us,” he added. He said that the projects are mostly new construction, but there is some renovation.

Doug Penn, director of marketing for YKK AP America Inc., also said that business has been good, and that in response to customers’ and architects’ needs, its major curtainwall system had been redesigned to make fabrication and installation easier.

Kawneer also exhibited, showing products from its core line. Karen Zipfel, director of marketing, said Kawneer will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. “So it will be a big year for new product launches,” she said. “The focus will be on impact-resistance.”

She continued, “We’re excited about the momentum … [as we are] in progress to debut new products next year.”

Traco was showing its NexGen™ NX-210/NX-220 window system. Robin Randall, vice president of marketing, said the window is highly energy efficient and features insulating glass made with the company’s NexGen Energy Spacer™ and NexGen Strip System™ thermal barrier.

“It is multi-configured for out and in swing and has dual finish capability,” said Randall. n

For a look at more of what GBA offered, including machinery and equipment, be sure to check out next month's USGlass.

Changes Abound at Salem Distributing
March 4, 2005 was a major day in the history of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Salem Distributing. That was the day the company became an ESOP company, 100-percent employee-owned. This means that instead of there being only one company owner, all 64 employees own part of the company.

“ESOP is a pretty wonderful thing,” said Mike Willard, vice president of Salem, during a GlassBuild America press conference. “Salem is now a different company, a changed company.”

Willard said that in 2004 Salem had sales of approximately $28.5 million, and he expects that 2005’s sales should be about $37 million. One reason for this is the fact that Salem has begun doing more work in the stone business.

“We’re [applying] our knowledge about glass to the stone industry,” said Willard.
Another change at Salem is a new logo, created by Steve Brown, advertising director. Brown explained that because Salem is now a new company a new logo was needed to give the company its own identity.

“The logo is a new moniker on a new company,” said Brown. “We went through what seemed like hundreds of logo [possibilities].” Like the old logo, the new one still has a triangle, which Brown says they felt they had equity in, but the logo itself is more modern than the original.

“It reflects the environment of a new company,” added Brown. “We may be the only company in the glass industry, that when a customer calls to place an order they’re talking to an owner.”

New production and equipment is also part of the changes taking place at Salem. At the GlassBuild America Show, Salem demonstrated a variety of equipment and machinery lines.

“The glass industry changed drastically over the past ten years and Salem is changing with it,” said Doug Mangus, equipment sales coordinator. Reflecting the growing need for laminated glass, due to changing hurricane and building codes, one equipment change for Salem is a focus on laminated glass. In fact, the company showed a section of a Bovone laminating line. Salem is also distributing grinding, polishing and drilling equipment, among other lines, as well.

Seminar Spotlight: Focusing on Glazing and Industrial Hygiene
Glazing contractors attending GlassBuild America had numerous educational opportunities in which to participate. One was a seminar titled “Glazing and Industrial Hygiene: Reducing Liability Risk Using Science,” led by Megan Canright of Forensic Analytical and Ron Clawson of Looking Glass Inc. The seminar speakers talked about industrial hygiene concerns related to water infiltration, and liability risks for glazing contractors. 

Canright explained that it is important for glazing contractors to understand the liability issues for water intrusion at the sites where they have installed or replaced windows. One area of concern is mold.

When it comes to the building envelope, Canright said there were several sources of moisture, which could lead to mold. Sources include the roof, flashings, drains, valleys and penetrations and windows.

“Water intrusion through windows can be due to defective or dated windows,” she said, adding that defective or dated components in exterior doors and sliding doors, as well as skylights, can also cause water intrusions. 

Following Canright, Clawson talked about preparation and installation for storefront and entrance systems.

“The biggest problems I see in the glazing industry are improper usage of sealants and improper framing and assembly of framing,” said Clawson. “Everything needs to be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All companies have a recommended installation practice for their materials,” he stressed.

He also talked about several resources of information that would be useful to glazing contractors. One resource is a new publication from ASTM titled “The Directory of Building and Construction Sealants and Adhesives.” 

“Every law firm will use this book to hang you if you have not [sealed the opening properly],” he said.

Another resource he recommended was the “GANA Glazing Manual.”

“It has reference material for every standard you need to work in this industry,” he said.

Clawson continued by discussing the proper way to install storefront.

“Start with the sealant application techniques,” he said. “Use a sealant product, stick with it and learn everything you can about it. Stick with one [product] and you’ll do it well.” He recommended doing a pull test to make sure the sealant sticks to the substrate, and a water test once the installation is complete.

During the third part of the presentation Canright talked about preventive strategies for glazing contractors.“How do we deal with mold growth?” she asked the audience. “Our challenge is that there are [only] vague guidelines; there are no accepted exposure standards,” she said. She encouraged the practice of asking and answering the right questions and following preventive measures, such as a preventive maintenance program and preventive work practices.

So what measures can glazing contractors take to ensure they are protected from such liability issues? Clawson offered some advice: “Have the tools: information, standards, procedures and practices,” he said. “And follow up with documents and testing and show you’ve done everything to do the job correctly for customers.”

“As glaziers,” he continued, “We don’t make glass, we buy it. The only thing we really have an impact on is the installation.”

Seminar Spotlight: What’s on the Glass Export/Import Menu?
Today, like the weather, everyone talks about China. And while there’s nothing you can do about the weather, the same is not true for China—at least that was the message from a presentation by Garth Hedley, a market analyst for glass with the International Finance Corp., which is part of the World Bank.

In a session on the economic importance of flat glass production in China and other emerging markets, he assessed the impact of globalization on the U.S. market. The session attracted about 40 people, a number of whom were Chinese.

Hedley spent about half of the session’s allotted time speaking generally about how companies have become more global and markets have changed.

He pointed out that the cost of building a float plant in China is 40 to 50 percent what it would be in the United States because the engineering knowledge is available at a lower cost.

He also explained that while China produces, by weight, 33 percent of world’s flat glass volume, it has only 10 percent of world value, which means that what is being produced has little value added. It represents a large opportunity for Chinese manufacturers in the domestic market but is a threat to the world producers because that value-added production could then be exported, he stated.

According to government statistics Hedley presented, 80 percent of float glass produced in the United States is fabricated and becomes value-added. This means there is a huge gap (70 percent) between production in the two countries.

He also pointed out that because shipments from U.S. companies have grown at a slower rate than consumption, there is more glass being imported. He included Mexico as an emerging market that exports to the United States.

“The question you have to ask is, why, when the product is bulky, there is just-in-time delivery, customization and other factors that would seem to be against import, are customers in the United States increasingly buying from China?” Hedley said. He used insulating glass as an example, but imports of this fabricated product from China are very small. Whereas when he used rearview mirrors for cars, imports were very high.

He said that trends show float glass will be less impacted by Chinese imports because of the bulkiness of shipping such low-value products while the same will not be true for value-added products.

Innovation is the key in this situation, he told his audience. A company has to be innovative and new products have to be brought out that take time to replicate to give domestic fabricators an advantage.

© Copyright 2005 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.