Volume 43, Issue 5 - May 2008

Company News             

PGT Industries and ASI 
Limited Form Curtainwall Joint Venture 

ASI Limited in Indianapolis and PGT® Industries in Venice, Fla., have launched a joint venture to expand their market reach by providing unitized curtainwall solutions to the commercial building industry. The joint venture will become “the only manufacturer of unitized curtainwalls in North America that will control all aspects of manufacturing in-house,” including the manufacturing of tempered, laminated and insulating glass and aluminum panels integral to the unitized systems, says Ken Smith, president of ASI Limited. 

“By offering a one-stop-shop for unitized curtainwalls to the commercial construction industry, we are offering the industry a way to save money and gain control over their projects by dealing with one team that is involved in every stage of the project as it moves from design to construction,” says Wayne Varnadore, vice president of architectural systems at PGT. According to Smith, the joint venture comes as a result of “the national demand for unitized curtainwall and the downturn in the residential community [which] provided additional resources from PGT that could be utilized in the commercial market through ASI sales and marketing.” 

The joint venture follows PGT’s announcement on March 4 that it would downsize its workforce by 17 percent—a “restructuring” that follows a similar move last October. “Really this doesn’t relate to the restructuring,” says Jeffrey Jackson, chief financial officer of PGT. “It’s not tied directly. The restructuring was us positioning PGT to better serve the new market … It was us aligning our cost structure to better serve that end market.”

Jackson notes that the two companies had not worked together prior to a management meeting in August 2007. “ASI was searching out a partner and we had heard of them in the industry,” he says. However, Jackson feels that the two companies provide a good fit. As Wayne Varnadore, vice president of architectural systems at PGT, adds, “customers will benefit from PGT’s strength in manufacturing and supply chain management combined with ASI Limited’s extensive experience in sales, marketing, engineering and project management.” ASI also provides PGT with its numerous commercial industry contacts, Jackson says. As he notes, curtainwall is something new for what has been a primarily residential-product manufacturer, and the company is expected to market some entry-level curtainwall products in the upcoming months.

“It’s glass, and we consider ourselves experts in glass,” Jackson says. He adds, “We do multi-story and high-rise buildings—it’s not the majority of the buildings [we do, though].”

The agreement, which is exclusive on all unitized curtainwall products, also requires more of a focus on manufacturing from the glazing contractor ASI. However, Smith notes that the exclusive agreement won’t impact ASI’s commercial installation business. “We view ourselves as material partners to any façade contractor—we bring additional knowledge and experience to these companies,” Smith says. ”Being a contractor, we are more sympathetic to the issues these companies face in design and constructability. We can help a company grow into markets that they previously did not pursue.” He adds, “ASI Limited will still provide installed project strategically located in our markets. We will not be a competitor to any alliance we develop.”

Keystone Diversifies Services
Keystone Certifications Inc. in Etters, Pa., has announced that its quality assurance program has been accredited by the International Accreditation Agency. Participation in the Keystone quality assurance program now qualifies building product manufacturers for all major approval and/or evaluation programs, such as Florida Product Approval, International Code Council Evaluation Service reports, Architectural Testing Code Compliance Research Reports and more. “IAS accreditation is part of Keystone’s strategy to diversify our certification and inspection service offerings across the spectrum of building envelope products,” says Jon Hill, Keystone vice president. Keystone also has a new insulating glass (IG) certification program. “The new IG program was created in response to the growing demand for certification of insulating glass seal durability performance by government agencies and other specifiers,” Hill says. In related news, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance announced at its January meeting that Keystone had terminated its relationship with the organization. 

Glasstech Forms New Solar Energy Systems Business Unit 
Glasstech Inc. in Perrysburg, Ohio, has formed a new business unit to formalize its activities to meet the solar energy industry’s growing demand for flat and bent glass substrates. Leading the unit will be Michael Ondrus, who has been appointed director of Glasstech solar energy systems. “The demand for glass by the solar industry is and will continue to become more significant over the next five years and could, at some point, rival auto industry usage,” says Mark D. Christman, Glasstech president and chief executive officer. “And, just like in the automotive industry, the glass substrates used in solar energy will be sophisticated and will require repeatability, tight specifications, innovation and cost effectiveness.” www.glasstech.com

PPG and Walker to Market Starphire Jointly 
Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries will market its Starphire ultra-clear glass jointly with the Walker Textures line of acid-etched glass and mirrors from Walker Glass Co. Ltd. in Montreal.

Walker Glass currently produces its full-surface, acid-etched Walker Textures line in three finishes: satin, velour and opaque. These products also are available in Walker Textures Select glass custom partial-sheet etched products and Walker Textures Nuance glass, a series of patterned etched products launched in late March. The alliance is intended to take advantage of the enhancements the glass products offer each other and enable the companies to leverage each other’s marketing efforts to the U.S. and Canadian design communities.

In addition, PPG Industries’ industrial coatings business announced that Tecnoglass S.A. of Barranquilla, Colombia, has been accredited as the first international participant in the PPG CAP Certified Applicator Program. The program establishes protocols to help minimize color variance across coated aluminum building components.

PPG CAP program applicators undergo a rigorous auditing process that encompasses all aspects of the coating process. The audit also contains a continuous training and education component and specifies paint application parameters and cure schedules, as well as how finished products should be handled, packed and shipped. www.ppgideascapes.com 

ACI Distribution Adopts Vitro America Name
ACI Distribution in Memphis, Tenn., has officially changed its name to Vitro America, reflecting the name of its parent company, Vitro S.A. de C.V., which purchased the company in 1992. The move is designed to align the company more closely with Vitro as part of a broader strategy to expand the types of services offered to customers. Since January 2008, ACI Distribution has been transitioning to the new Vitro America name and adopting a new logo. The name change is part of a broader brand transition, which will include new and updated products, increased investment in supportive sales tools for the company’s business partners, and improved efficiencies in business operations designed to make doing business with the company even easier.

“We are excited to launch a new chapter in our history and to announce that we are changing our name from ACI Distribution to Vitro America,” says Charles Witherington, vice president and general manager. “More importantly, we will be able to offer our customers more services and meet their glazing needs even more quickly and efficiently than before.”

To boost production capabilities and speed of service to customers, the company has recently made enhancements to a number of its facilities, including new insulating glass manufacturing, spandrel and cutting lines; new glass tempering furnaces; and additional capabilities for DecoTherm® digital ceramic frit glass decoration. www.vitroamerica.com

web watch 
Viracon Puts its Projects on the Map
Viracon in Owatonna, Minn., is putting its projects on the map—literally. The company has launched Viracon Glass via Google Maps, a new website feature that makes it easier than ever for site visitors to locate and learn about Viracon projects in cities across the country.

“With different coatings, glass substrate colors and assembled configurations, Viracon offers architects and building owners thousands of different glass solutions. To help select the right performance and aesthetic for their project, architects often like to see examples of completed projects,” says Christine Shaffer, marketing manager at Viracon. “Our new map feature helps people quickly find projects by city with the click of a button.”

Visitors to www.viracon.com simply select from a list of U.S. cities. This leads to a list of Viracon projects in that city, along with a Google Map showing the project locations. For additional project information, simply click on the project name or location and a dialogue box will list project information including name, address, Viracon products used, architect, glazing contractor and even images of the building, if available.

From the Viracon Glass via Google Maps page, visitors can also get driving directions to each building or even map out a route to see multiple projects, all with the click of a mouse. www.viracon.com

The website for Arcadia Products Inc. was listed incorrectly in the March issue. It is www.arcadiaproducts.net


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