Volume 41, Issue 12 - December 2006

The Big Time: Part 2 
A Look Back at GlassBuild America 2006
By Charles Cumpston, Ellen Giard and Megan Headley

Editor’s Note: This article is the conclusion of USGlass magazine’s coverage of GlassBuild America 2006. The first part can be read in the November 2006 issue beginning on page 92.

Also During GlassBuild …
Shower door companies were on hand with a variety of styles, options and designs to help customers create one-of-a-kind bathrooms. Heavy glass, frameless shower doors continue to be in hot demand, but now, homeowners are looking for more ways to turn their bathrooms into unique environments.

John Wright Sr. with Southeastern Aluminum Products of Jacksonville, Fla., said the use of custom products is a new trend, as homeowners and customers don’t necessarily want something they can just buy from Home Depot or Lowes. 
“They want what no one else has,” says Wright.

To help give customers some unique styles, Southeastern Aluminum introduced two new products this year. The new CrystalLine framed bypass door comes in silver, gold, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. Wright described the door as their “premium framed product,” and said they had seen a lot of interest in it at the show. In addition, the company has introduced a new signature pivot door that has top clamps, eliminating the need for notching. In addition to 3/8-inch glass, the company is now also offering it with ½-inch glass.

Coastal Glass Industries, also of Jacksonville, Fla., was introducing new products and designs, too. One product was a sliding, radiused-front, neo-angle door that was developed initially for the company’s RV customers, but has seen interest in the residential market, as well. It features self-aligning vinyl magnets that help ensure a sealed shower environment, eliminating leaks or drips. The door incorporates curved glass that is available in numerous options, from clear to textured.

 Coastal was also displaying products from its value series. “These [frameless doors] are easy for the customer to obtain and install,” said Mark Rowlett, national sales manger. “Fabrication of this type of door typically takes a long time. Now we have completely fabricated doors ready for immediate pick up and delivery; we’re trying to be a one-stop shop,” he said. 
Shower door company Oben USA of Hayward, Calif., was also on hand with curved glass enclosures. The company has designed its products to give homeowners and consumers a spa-like bathroom, offering products such as steam showers and hydro massage systems.

“Oben had an absolutely fantastic response to its new range of curved glass shower products we released at the show,” said Derek Englefield, president. “We experienced a tremendous amount of interest across our full range of curved glass shower technology and glass software programs aimed at making installation easier and more profitable for the glass dealers.”

Cardinal Shower Enclosures of Cerritos, Calif., a manufacturer of extremely high-end enclosures, was showing its new line of slumped glass doors. According to the company’s Jarred Ross, they fabricate their own glass and this is the first time a shower door manufacturer has fabricated its own slumped glass. 

“The response has been huge,” said Ross. “These are high, high-end enclosures. The big thing is getting shops to realize there’s a market for it.”

Much on Metal
The architectural metal suppliers and window companies also reported good market conditions.

Doug Penn, director of management for YKK AP America in Austell, Ga., said that his company is having another record year, but he sees some softening coming in some segments, such as condos. “It’s slowing down from all-time highs,” he pointed out, adding it would slow down but not go away or die. “It’ll be back, they’re telling us.”

Dave Hewitt, director of marketing for EFCO Corp. of Monett, Mo., stated, “It’s been a record year. The challenge is to get more capacity. That’s why we’re adding more capacity.” The company was in the process of putting in its third press at its new expansion facility. “This will increase our capacity by a third by the end of the year,” he added. He said a lot of the success is coming from the high-rise condo market in New York City and in Florida, and that school and office construction is increasing while residential softens. “We have a healthy backlog of condo projects coupled with our traditional school market,” he added.

Robert Leyland, vice president of sales for Kawneer Company Inc. in Norcross, Ga., said that all of the company’s plants are operating at capacity. “The challenge is to meet lead times. All niches are strong (curtainwall/storefront/windows).” He said that the Southeast shore is strong because of the hurricane products and the greater adoption of hurricane codes. He also said that Kawneer is doing a lot of work in Hawaii, which is booming. “It’s large office building work … commercial/ residential mixed use.” 

One new exhibitor at the show, in name at least, was Firestone Metal Products, better known as UNA-Clad. President Mike Wallace explained that the architectural metal products supplier was acquired by the tire company in June and this was its first appearance under the more prominent parent-company name.

“Firestone wanted to get into the metal business,” he explained. “They want to expand the business and they’re giving us the means to do it.”

Technology on the Go
With suppliers and fabricators reporting good business conditions, that translates into positive conditions for technology suppliers.

Horst Mertes, executive sales and marketing director for Albat+Wirsam North America based in Bellevue, Wash., said that business continues to grow. “Fabricators are looking for integrated solutions. They don’t want different interfaces,” he explained. “They’re looking for an entire database.”

Mark Haeck, sales manager for Mainstreet Computers Inc. in Belleville, Mich., is still amazed at how many people are using different systems and paper. “Still paper,” he said laughing.

“We have a new edition of the software coming out and have redesigned our website and corporate logo,” said Rob Rust, national sales manager for Quest in St. Johns, Mich.

Machinery and Equipment
Nearly half of the show floor was filled with the hum of large machinery at work, and the sound of sales being made. Traffic was, at times, light among the machines, although manufacturers said they found some good leads. 

“Traffic could be better,” said Edward Cocagne representing Glassrobots Oy.

Cocagne said that the RoboTemp™ tempering line on display had been out for about three years, and was designed to combine the advantages of true convection furnaces and radiant furnaces. 

According to information from the company, the furnace can operate at a low system temperature with a rapid processing time, meaning that the glass spends a minimal amount of time on the system’s rollers. Mixed production of clear, tinted and coated glass—of the same thickness—can run in the same batch for production flexibility.

Another product returning to the show was the Vertec vertical drilling and milling machine from CMS North America Inc. Saba Vasanthan, product manager of CMS North America’s stone/glass division, said that response to the Vertec machine was “not bad.” He added that interest in the machine has grown in its second year at the show. 

According to information from the company, the vertical drilling and milling machine features an 8-station, double tool crib, a patented water cushion system that can mill treated glass lites and systems for centering and locking glass lites. It is designed to execute complex drilling and milling cycles on individual lites of glass as large as 98.4 by 122 inches and with thickness of.125 to .750 inches quickly.

For Australian company Quatrolifts, GlassBuild provided a test market for its Nomad 300 and rotating head, which can lift up to 660 pounds of glass, according to information from the company. The equipment transports and installs glass sheets up to 180 by 144 inches. Two company representatives were demonstrating the equipment’s portability on the show floor by pushing it through the crowd that had gathered around the booth and showing off the machine’s features.

Shenzhen Handong Glass Machinery Co. Ltd. displayed an array of machinery, including a laminated safety glass production line and a glass screen printing line. Company representatives said that they’ve received a “good response” to the equipment at the show. 

Edgetech IG Inc. kept busy during the show, offering attendees information on several products it is now distributing. In the booth attendees could see the Form8tor vinyl profile bending system from Uni-form Engineering, which can bend up to eight profiles at any one time. By the time the last bend is made, the first profile is ready to be moved. In addition, the company says that the system features an infrared oven with four heat zones that heat only the profile, thus offering energy savings.
Edgetech is also the North American sales agent for the Cytec UVEKOL® A glass laminating system, which it had on display. 
In addition, Edgetech has partnered with Eco Coat Glass Protection Systems to distribute that company’s new product for protecting installed windows. 

Larry Taylor, director of marketing of Eco Coat, explained that the construction debris splattered across the demo window in the company’s booth could be easily removed thanks to a liquid polymer coating on the window. Applied by the manufacturer by spray or brush, the coating can be removed after installation by a converter that, as Taylor explained, “unzips” the coating from the glass. The coating and debris can then be washed away. Or, if the glazier forgets to remove the coating, it features a built-in life cycle of two years. 

The company designed the environmentally sound coating as an alternative to covering glass with plastic and to be easily removed by glaziers working on tall commercial buildings. According to Taylor, the coating has been adapted to also protect residential units from construction debris as well as scratches from razors used to remove other types of protective coverings.

Tools and Supplies
There were plenty more tools and supplies on the floor dedicated to keeping glass clean and in one piece. For instance, Rubberite Cypress Sponge (RCS) displayed its Gaska Tape foam tape made with cork. It also showed Cling Foam, which the company says is suitable for use with thick, heavy pieces of glass.

Hank Groves of Groves Inc. displayed a variety of new products. Groves was quick to point out that all of the material transport carts in the booth were new. Among the new items were IG carts, the peg dolly and glass transport cart and heavy-duty shop carts.

 Why so many new products all at once? “We’ve been pretty aggressive over the years,” explained Groves.

Also with regards to transportation, Robin Donker noted that Unruh Fab Inc. is now offering a complete line of aluminum frames. The lighter frames are intended to save drivers on fuel consumption.

And John Weise of F. Barkow added that he kept so busy in his own booth, speaking with current and potential customers about the company’s existing line of glass carriers, that he didn’t notice much of what was new with other manufacturers. 
“The volume of people and the quality of potential and past customers was really good,” said Weise of the show.

 F. Barkow was displaying the Mongoose™ truck, which offers a low profile for wind resistance and easy access to parking ramps and garages (turn to page 46 to read more about the Mongoose).

Weise said the show’s heavy traffic was likely due part to the choice of the Las Vegas venue because “customers like to go there.” He added, “They can find a reason to go to Vegas to talk about glass trucks.”

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