Volume 42, Issue 8 - August 2007

Taking the Stage   
Expect to Find Worldwide Innovations 
in Glass During Vitrum 2007
by Tami Faram

Vitrum takes center stage in Italy October 3-6 as one of the premiere international glass shows. Vitrum, the showcase of machinery, equipment and systems for the processing of flat and hollow glass is making its 15th appearance. The biennial show invites glass industry experts to the new Fiera Milano exhibition complex in Rho-Pero, Italy, bordering Milan. Sponsored by GIMAV, the Italian Glass Processing Machinery and Accessories Suppliers Association, Vitrum attracts visitors from around the globe to see the latest in glass industry innovations and technologies. This year’s event also inaugurates two new sectors for the glass processing industries—hollow glass and vacuum technology and coating. 

Renata Gaffo, general director of Vitrum, told USGlass this year’s show will greet more than 25,000 visitors from 100 countries, and include 450 booths from glass businesses around the world. Glass industry experts attending Vitrum represent areas of Italy and other European countries, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, South America, Oceania and the United States. 

Attendees to Vitrum say the show has a lot to offer. 

“It’s a more complete machinery and equipment show than others I’ve attended,” says Lee Harrison, president of Walker Glass Co. Ltd., Quebec, Canada.

 “One tends to see a lot more products, especially decorative glass products, on the showroom floor,” he adds. Harrison has attended about a half dozen Vitrum conferences, and he says he always looks forward to being in Italy. “There’s plenty of good food and good wine,” he says.

Vitrum 2007 will be grouped into four product areas:

  • Flat glass processing machinery;

  • VHG vitrum hollow glass: hollow glass processing machinery;

  • VTE vacuum coating; and 

  • Glassware.

What to Expect
Vitrum’s home at the new Fiera Milano complex is a modern facility with recent expansions made to the exhibit hall to allow exhibitors a surface area of more than 21,000 square feet—ample room to present all that technology has to offer from materials to processing. Vitrum hosts a busy three-day agenda of forums to discuss current and future technologies in glass. The show also provides an opportunity for glass industry experts to network with their counterparts.

“The Vitrum show is much more relaxing and a little less stressful than other trade shows of its kind,” says Dan DeGorter, vice president of DeGorter Industries in Monroe, N.C., whose company exhibited at Vitrum 2005. “The show used to be geared to a much more regional audience, but now it’s a worldwide event.”

DeGorter says Vitrum is always a great opportunity for his company’s representatives to meet with their overseas suppliers. “Our company has always worked with European suppliers, so it’s easy for us to see them all under one roof,” he says.

Howard Hanes, president of Salem Distributing in Winston-Salem, N.C., says his company represents about 15 different suppliers at each Vitrum show. 

“We go there for two reasons, to be able see all of our suppliers in one place in a three-day period, and to be there as a presence to greet our North American customers.” 

Hanes says he’s attended the show since its beginnings and is always taken by the Italian hospitality. “They are wonderful people and there is certainly a lot of great things to do in the center of Milan and in the surrounding area,” he says. 

While at the show, look for USGlass magazine’s booth #ST3, in Hall 24. n

North American and Other Select Vitrum Exhibitors
Albat + Wirsam
Glaston Technologies
Cefla Finishing
Dow Corning
Fushan Glass Machinery
HB Fuller Window
Lovati Fratell
Schiatti Angelo
USGlass magazine
*Exhibitor list as of June 1

Opening hours Visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
Dates October 3-6, 2007 
Hall 13/14 and 22/24 
Entrance Porta Ovest
Organizer Fiera Milano International SpA 
               Piazzale Giulio Cesare, 
               Milano, Italy. 
               Tel: +(39)-(2)-49971 
               Fax: +(39)-(2)-49977963

A Show with a View: Milan’s New Fairgrounds
Those attending Vitrum this October in Milan will find more than just machinery and equipment. They will also be greeted by two glazed structures, the Logo and the Vela, which grace the new fairgrounds where Vitrum will take place for the first time. Novum Structures, which has North American headquarters in Menomonee Falls, Wis., provided a free-form system with edge-clamped glass to create the fairground’s new structural element. 

The Logo (which means “symbol” in Italian) marks the entrance to the fairground and is part of the building envelope. It consists of a double-curved, free-form surface that resembles a volcano. The 26,000-square-foot surface is clad with glass and metal panels that have overall dimensions of 70 by 110 feet and 340 feet in length.

The Vela (Italian for sail) forms a canopy that links the individual exhibit halls. It consists of a glazed surface with an architectural form that takes the shape of the natural tapestry represented by the Alps mountain range in the background. The Vela is nearly one mile long, 100 feet wide and clad with approximately 500,000 square feet of glazing.

The challenge for this project was to develop an elegant structural system to support the completely transparent glazing material. This was accomplished by joining straight T-section struts to individually machined “double-disc” nodes to create the surfaces. Nearly all of the structural components are bolted, enhancing field operations and allowing the structure to be factory-finished with minimal welding. Virtually every double-disc node on the project was custom-machined to create the special angles of the free-form surfaces.

There are 4,000 struts and 1,500 nodes in Logo and 38,000 struts and 16,500 nodes in Vela. More than 40,000 lites of glass make up the Vela.

An additional challenge was ensuring the Vela roof could be drained without a perimeter gutter or any visible down-spouts. Novum used an internal drainage system in the columns that required pre-cambering of the flat roof areas as hypar, or skewed saddle-shaped, surfaces. As a result, the square glass panels in some areas had to be installed with a certain amount of pre-deformation.

Milan — Where Culture, History and Fashion Meet
Vitrum 2007 will open its doors to the international glass industry in early October offering an extraordinary showcase of innovations in glass. Because the show is held just outside one of the world’s most beautiful cities—Milan—visitors to Vitrum are also sure to enjoy their experiences in Italian culture, food and history.

Sites to Explore
With a population of approximately 1.3 million people, Milan is steeped in history, but in recent times has become the economic and fashion capital of Italy. This is reflected in the culture of city. Sightseeing around Milan is easier than some of Italy’s other cities. Although you will find thousands of tourists, particularly during the summer, the streets are not as crowded in Milan.

Another of Milan’s advantages is that although there are so many historic and religious sites to visit, the city also is a fashion and shopping capital, and home to modern art and culture. The heart of Milan lies in the Piazza del Duomo and this square is seldom quiet. The Duomo is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and one of Italy’s most spectacular, ornamented with 135 pinnacles and more than 200 marble statues. 

Between the Duomo and Milan’s opera house, the Teatro alla Scala that opened in 1778, is the 130-year-old Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Galleria is an enclosed four-story glass-roofed arcade that contains shops and eateries and is a popular gathering place. Reputed as being the world’s first shopping mall, Milan’s Galleria was an important step in the evolution of the modern shopping mall. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for other shopping arcades.

While in Milan, visitors may also want to see the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo da Vinci’s infamous painting ‘The Last Supper’ is housed

the author: Tami Faram is an assistant editor for USGlass magazine.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.