Volume 45, Issue 10 - October 2010


Columbia Commercial, Armortex, to Offer Blast-Resistant Products

Columbia Commercial Building Products in Rockwall, Texas, and Armortex of San Antonio have entered into a sales and fabrication agreement through which they are working together on the co-development of a line of low-pressure, blast-resistant products. The two companies are working jointly on the manufacturing, engineering and testing, and the products will be marketed/branded as Armortex. The agreement was finalized on July 1.

Kelly Townsend, national sales director for Columbia Commercial Building Products, says the relationship represents a true manufacturing-marketing agreement.

“We are finding new markets for our existing product lines,” says Townsend. He explains that his company was getting requests for low-pressure blast-resistant windows, as was Armortrex. “About three years ago Rick Snelling [vice president of] Armortex and I started talking about how we could work together,” says Townsend.

Through the agreement, Columbia’s network of sales representatives also will be promoting the products to its current customer base.

“A lot of the projects coming out right now are calling for low-pressure blast-resistant products, often used in military, government and federal applications,” Townsend says. “With [traditional construction] down, customers have been looking for other types of work, so we’ve seen a lot of opportunities for blast-resistant doors and windows. This agreement is a way we can provide another option to help keep everyone busy.”

He adds, “Our customers now have a source for blast-resistant products along with other Armortex products that they offer exclusively, including a line of bullet-resistant products. Armortex customers have also gained a new source for non-blast or impact products as well as the standard products we offer.”

“I think the biggest benefit to both the contract glaziers and the end users is the synergy between our two companies,” Snelling adds. “Columbia has experience with [non-blast] door and window systems while we have experience with the blast systems. Together, this is a great partnership that will benefit customers and end-users.”

Both Townsend and Snelling say they believe the partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for both companies.

“We both feel that right now there is a ton of potential for where we can take this and we will continue to look at [future opportunities], one step at a time,” Townsend says. “So far, this has been a great success for us both.”

Soladigm Plans New Manufacturing Facility in Olive Branch
Soladigm, headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., is opening a new manufacturing facility in Olive Branch, Miss.

The company has purchased an existing building in Olive Branch and expects to begin producing dynamic insulating glass units starting in 2012. The expansion is expected to create more than 300 new jobs.

To help facilitate this $130 million project, the State of Mississippi provided a $40 million loan through the Mississippi Industry Incentive Financing Revolving Fund, in addition to $4 million in Momentum Mississippi incentives for project improvements at the company’s new facility.

Soladigm is backed by venture capital firms Khosla Ventures and Sigma Partners. The company, founded in 2007, currently is operating a pilot production line at its Milpitas facility.

Vitro America Completes Asset Purchase of Desert Glass Products
Vitro America LLC in Memphis, Tenn., has acquired substantially all production and inventory assets of glass fabricator Desert Glass Product LLC in Las Vegas. Vitro America will assist Desert Glass in fulfilling certain customer commitments and plans to offer employment to qualified employees of Desert Glass.

“This acquisition allows the consolidation of two premier glass fabricators servicing the Nevada, Arizona and Utah markets,” says Arturo Carrillo, president and chief executive officer of Vitro America. “Desert Glass has developed a strong market share and reputation in the heavy glass market and we intend to strengthen our participation in that segment.”

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