Volume 40,   Issue 10                          October  2005


Three Independent Fabricators Form Glass Fabricators LLC

Three North American, independent glass fabricators, J.E. Berkowitz L.P., Westshore Glass Corp. and Craftsman Fabricated Glass, have formed Glass Fabricators LLC, a non-profit cooperative designed to provide the founding members with an outlet to share best practices, technical information, marketing initiatives and improved purchasing based on combined material volume requirements. 

Arthur Berkowitz, president of J.E. Berkowitz, Bob Lawrence, president of Craftsman Fabricated Glass and Ron Brock, president of Westshore Glass make up the board of directors. 

According to the announcement, executives from the three companies have spent the past year planning this initiative.

“We decided to take this initiative because of a recent trend of strong independents selling out to national concerns, which I am sure were good decisions for the companies involved,” said Lawrence. “However, our interest is to build on the opportunities we worked so hard to create as independents. Innovation and producing great products are key to flourishing, so we decided to join together to share best practices, new technology and other information so that we can enjoy the same benefits that larger corporations have.”

“We are very excited about the opportunity Glass Fabricators LLC provides,” added Berkowitz. “We look forward to an exciting exchange of information and having all three companies grow, while adding new equipment and facilities and developing specific initiatives and plans for improvement.”

“I’m a great believer that the best way to compete is on quality. That’s why the best practices part of the cooperative is the most exciting to me,” said Brock. 

All three companies will continue to be privately-owned and operated.

AFG Announces New Tempering Line for Quebec City Float Plant
AFG Glass, headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., has purchased a new 60-inch, high-speed tempering furnace from Tamglass. The 120-foot continuous horizontal flat glass tempering system will be added to its Quebec City float plant in St. Augustin, Quebec. 

Installation is planned for later this year, and the company expects the furnace to be fully operational by mid-February 2006. 

“Our decision to add capacity to Quebec is based on demand and service levels for the region,” said Marc Massa, vice president of sales. “With a new furnace, AFG will be able to satisfy our tempered customers with improved lead times that will enhance customer service levels.” 

Viracon Says Robust Business is Fueling Its Expansion
“Our business is so robust that we have to expand our existing operations to respond more quickly,” said Don Pyatt, president of Viracon following the company’s announcement September 13 that it plans to build a new $25 million facility in the Southwest, as well as expand its Owatonna, Minn., and Statesboro, Ga., facilities.

He also pointed out that the company will be able to produce more insulating glass and laminated glass when the tempering ovens are installed.

Russ Huffer, chairperson and chief executive officer of Apogee Enterprises, Viracon’s parent, added that once all the expansion is in place, the company would have a 50-percent improvement in capacity since the beginning of the last fiscal year.

Huffer made the point that with AFG and Interpane exiting the coating market, $50 to $60 million worth of business is up for grabs. 

“We won’t get all of it,” he said, “but we are expanding.”

“Viracon will predict with these expansions [that] what the glasses those coaters will produce in a year will save three million barrels of oil every year for those buildings,” Huffer said. “At $60 a barrel, that’s $180 million in energy saving every year. That gets people’s attention.”

“The coating units we got from AFG and Interpane have been completely refurbished,” Huffer said. “The new coaters available are good, but they are designed for residential applications that can make a lot of a product. Our need is different. We have to make smaller numbers of more sophisticated products,” he explained.

In announcing the construction of the new plant, Viracon executives said only that it plat should begin operating in about 18 months. Questioned further, Huffer said that the company is in the site selection process with a real estate company and it is looking in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. He projected that a decision would be made by March 1, the beginning of the company’s fiscal year.

Viracon built its Owatonna facility in 1970 and its Statesboro facility in 1998. 

Simonton to Cease Operations in Bradenton, Fla.
Simonton Windows has announced that effective November 17, 2005, it will cease the operations of its Bradenton, Fla., facility. The company says it will relocate certain equipment to its new facility in Lyons, Ga. According to the announcement, this will affect about 200 Simonton management and production employees.

“We spent a great deal of time evaluating the situation,” said Jody Garrett, vice president of manufacturing. “Unfortunately, our long-term business needs are not a good fit with the Bradenton location. The zoning restrictions in place at the current Bradenton site, in addition to the lack of room for expansion, makes it impossible for us to maintain and grow our operations at this facility.”

Garrett continued, “Unfortunately, this decision has a serious impact on both the Bradenton community and the lives of many people. We’re working to support and assist our Bradenton employees to find new jobs.”

Simonton says it will be working with a number of organizations to provide job outplacement services for employees. The company will also provide a severance package to employees staying in their current positions until the closing date. They will also be paid for any unused vacation time on their day of departure. Medical and dental coverage will remain in effect until November 30, and arrangements are being made for employees regarding rolling over their 401 (k) retirement plans.

Employees will have the opportunity to apply for openings at Simonton’s manufacturing facilities in Georgia, West Virginia, Illinois, Oklahoma and California.

Arch Aluminum Joins GICC, also to Resell ClearShield Low-M Technologies
ClearShield Technologies has authorized Arch Aluminum & Glass’ Waukesha, Wis., plant to apply and resell its low-maintenance/easy clean glass technologies.

“Arch Aluminum brings a national presence to ClearShield Technologies, and by educating resellers and consumers while promoting the features and benefits of ClearShield Clean Glass Technologies everyone benefits,” said Sean Lanigan, vice president of ClearShield Technologies. “With Arch opening its seventh ClearShield application and resale location in Waukesha, our relationship continues to grow and we remain dedicated to the program.”

Other Arch locations that apply and resell ClearShield products are in Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Florida.

“Arch has always been and remains committed to offering services, products and technologies that provide our customers with a superior product,” said Max Perilstein, Arch’s vice president of marketing. “After studying the low-maintenance options available, we determined that ClearShield offers the best choice based on cost, application flexibility, safety, effectiveness and long-term results. Additionally, by offering the best warranties in the industry, ClearShield matches up very well with our own philosophy of providing the highest quality products to our customers.”

Additionally, the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC) has announced that Tamarac, Fla.-based Arch Aluminum & Glass is its newest full member.

“We are pleased to have Arch join GICC,” said Linda Brink, GICC account executive. “As we work to ensure the model building codes provide for the safe and beneficial use of glass in architecture, Arch provides another important voice for the industry.”

“Arch knows that each day the codes are affecting our industry, we feel it is very important to be involved as much as possible,” added Cliff Monroe, senior technical manager with Arch.

SDC Technologies Receives 2005 Emerging Growth Award
SDC Technologies Inc. (SDC) of Anaheim, Calif., a supplier of functional surface technologies, coatings and materials that can be applied to a number of substrates, including glass, has been named the recipient of the 2005 Emerging Growth Award given by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG).

William A. Gregg, president and chief executive officer, received the award on behalf of the company and its equity partner, The Compass Group International, during ACG’s annual awards meeting.

“We were truly humbled and honored to receive this incredible award. We share this award with our global customers, employees, partners and all stakeholders that helped to drive the success of SDC,” said Gregg. “We were naturally excited to win and with this many excellent companies nominated, receiving this award was extra special to all of us.”

DuPont Announces Warranty Program for SentryGlas® Plus
DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions of Wilmington, Del., is launching a warranty program for its SentryGlas Plus interlayer used in laminated glass. The Authorized Laminator Program allows authorized laminators to offer customers a five-year warranty against edge deletion.
“The truly unique performance of SentryGlas Plus has allowed us to provide the first warranty of its kind coming from an interlayer supplier and sets the bar for superior standards,” said Jeffrey D. Granato, architectural marketing manager. “The warranty program allows us to show our customers that DuPont stands behind this product. We also believe it will open new markets for the laminated glass industry.”

To become an authorized laminator, companies must demonstrate compliance with specific quality and manufacturing standards regarding the processing of SentryGlas Plus laminated glass.

Crystal Window and Door Systems of Flushing, N.Y., has been recognized for the seventh straight year by Crain’s NY as one of its Top 25 New York Area Minority-Owned Firms … The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has re-certified Chicago-based Republic Windows & Doors as a National Housing Quality (NHQ) Certified Trade Contractor for its installation program, the Republic Difference. 

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