Volume 45, Issue 4 - April 2010


SAGE Secures $100 Million in Loans, Tax Credits for New MN Facility

SAGE Electrochromics Inc. has been offered a conditional commitment for a $72 million loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Coupled with a $31 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit awarded earlier this year, the company has now secured more than $100 million in federal funding, which will help it establish a facility for manufacturing its electronically tintable glass. The company plans to tap the DOE funding to build a high-volume manufacturing plant next to its headquarters in Faribault, Minn.

The 250,000-square-foot facility is expected to add 160 full-time green manufacturing and technology jobs to the 100 jobs in SAGE’s current plant in southern Minnesota. More than 200 construction jobs are expected to be created. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this year, and the plant will begin shipping its products in the latter part of 2011.

SAGE president and chief executive officer John Van Dine hopes that the company’s new facility will reflect its “green” message both inside and out. “The new SAGE manufacturing plant will have many green features and we hope to attain a LEED certified silver or gold rating,” he says.

Among the features that the company plans to incorporate into the new facility are installation of its own SageGlass® windows to reduce HVAC equipment size, building electrical usage and electrical peak demand; implementation of daylighting throughout the building with integrated lighting controls and SageGlass® windows; and enhanced ventilation and indoor air quality via operable windows.

In announcing the funding, the DOE cited electrochromic glazings as “the next major advance in energy-efficient window technology.” According to Van Dine, the new facility will help to overcome some of the hurdles that may be preventing these products from becoming “mainstream” now.

“The higher production volumes made possible by the new facility will bring the cost of the product down dramatically, allowing it to become a mainstream product when the plant is fully operational,” says Van Dine. He adds, “Greater capacity will also supply the increasing demand and shorten lead times. The new facility will produce much larger sheets of glass, up to 5 by 10 feet (current size is 60 by 40 inches), which is highly desired by architects and builders.”

Feds Investigate Minnesota Plane Crash
Federal investigators are planning a hearing over the cause of the July 31, 2008, plane crash that killed Marc Rosenberg and Alan Barnett, chief operating officer and assistant project manger for APG International, a Glassboro, N.J.-based contract glazing company (see September 2008 USGlass, page 18). Those aboard the plane were customers of Viracon and were traveling to the company’s headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., for a meeting to discuss the Revel Hotel & Casino project in Atlantic City.

John Bush Launches New Consulting Company
John Bush, who most recently served as the director of laminated products for Oldcastle Glass, has launched a new company, John Bush Consulting Inc. With more than 21 years experience in glass fabrication, Bush says he started the company to support the glass fabrication industry in response to recent requests for assistance.

“I have been encouraged by the number of my contacts who have expressed a need for a true independent opinion,” he says, explaining that, given the slow economy, the time was ideal to start a consulting business.

“A lot of companies may not have the in-house expertise [for various projects] and in this economy they don’t want to hire anyone permanent until the recession turns around,” Bush tells USGlass. “So companies are more likely to bring people on short-term to help them through these projects; they are more prepared to take on a consultant.”

Bush says he will be focusing on a variety of project types such as technical, marketing, product development and troubleshooting.


Kawneer to Invest in Central and Eastern Canada Markets
Kawneer Co. Inc. plans to combine its current Scarborough, Ontario, facility and Mississauga, Ontario, service center into a new and expanded fabrication center by the end of fourth quarter 2010. New fabrication capabilities will be added to its Montreal service center. According to the announcement, these changes also will provide customers in Central and Eastern Canada with increased production, resulting in shorter lead times and enhanced quality.

“This significant investment in state-of-the-art fabrication equipment and technology will greatly improve our flexibility and capability to service the needs of the Central and Eastern Canadian markets in two convenient locations and is a reflection of Kawneer’s commitment to the Canadian market and growing its business with Canadian customers,” says Tom Szematowicz, director of the company’s service centers.

Crystal Window & Door Systems has clarified what the integration mentioned in a news story that ran in the March 2010 USGlass, page 12, entails. The company is combining the operations of its Chicago and New York facilities. The company states that neither location is actually closing.

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YKK AP America in Austell, Ga., has expanded its presence into Michigan by partnering with Statre Corp., an independent manufacturer’s representative … Quixsilver Systems Architectural Glazing Solutions of San Jose, Calif., is the new exclusive representative for Orange, Calif.-based Calibre Door Closers Inc. for the Northern California and Northern Nevada regions … Italian machinery manufacturer For.El. has announced the launch of a new website at www.forelspa.com … Exact Finish Inc. in Kernersville, N.C., a manufacturer of glass and aluminum interior products, has announced that it now will do business under the new name of EFI.

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