Volume 46, Issue 6 - July 2011


Suppliers Expect Polysulphide Sealant Restrictions through the Summer
Suppliers of polysulphide polymers of IG sealants are experiencing supply problems as a result of shortages coming from the Toray Thiokol production facility in Chiba, Japan, following a March 11 earthquake (see April 2011 USGlass, page 17).

Italy-based Fenzi issued a news release on June 7 cautioning customers to expect future cost increases on polysulphide sealants as a result of shortages coming from its supplier. Fenzi reports that Toray has told customers that production of the polymer is not likely to resume until July.

According to the Fenzi release: “To make matters worse, there are problems in getting the infrastructures and electricity throughout Japan up and running again and this is deeply affecting the production chain … Over the coming weeks therefore, problems are likely to emerge with the sourcing of IG sealants and for this very reason the costs of the products will increase.”

Fenzi is hardly alone in feeling the shortage.

“ADCO does not produce polysulphide in the United States but Kömmerling, our sister company in Germany, does and they indeed are affected by availability,” says Michael Speicher, national accounts manager for ADCO Products Inc. According to a news release issued by Kömmerling, “With other suppliers operating close to capacity, polysulphide sealant supplies could be restricted during the busy mid-summer period and there are indications of significant price rises in the pipeline from the other polymer suppliers. Kömmerling estimates that it will be able to maintain normal supplies to existing customers during this period, but will not be able to take on additional volumes for the foreseeable future.”

Fenzi says the Toray Thiokol production facility in Chiba produces and caters to approximately 35 percent of the worldwide demand for polysulphide polymer. The supplier also notes that the shortages of this particular material are leading to strengthened demand for alternative sealant materials, including polyurethane, butyl, silicone and hot-melt.

ADCO further notes, “The primary PIB-based sealants used in IG production are also in a tight supply position following disruption of Japanese production. Raw material for PIB is short and escalating in price. Kömmerling predicts that it has sufficient supplies at present to meet normal high summer demand from existing customers, but prices are likely to increase. Insulating glass producers should be cautious about fixing long-term prices in this unstable situation.”

“This definitely affects customers in North America that buy from Kömmerling,” Speicher says. He adds, “We have informed each customer personally.”

Glasswerks LA Inc. in Los Angeles is among the many IG fabricators feeling the pinch. Ed Rosengrant, vice president of sales and marketing, notes, “The increase in the sealant happens to coincide with the primary glass suppliers’ 10-percent increase. This has given us the opportunity to go with one price increase to our customer base. That being said, the run-up in polysulphide costs has put it on more of an even par with silicone sealants, which has caused us to look at that as an option.”

Tubelite Expands Distribution
Tubelite Inc. in Walker, Mich., has several new distributors for its architectural aluminum products:
• Wholesale Glass Distributors will distribute its products to clients in Tennessee and parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi;

• Butler, Pa.-based United Plate Glass Co. will deliver to clients in western Pennsylvania, southwestern New York, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, northeastern Maryland, the northern D.C. suburbs and specific destinations for large projects;

• Glaz-Tech Industries Inc. in Tucson, Ariz., will distribute Tubelite’s products in Idaho and Utah; and

• Complete Line Glass Wholesalers Inc. will distribute the products to clients in Texas.

GlasWeld Adds Australian Distributor
GlasWeld in Bend, Ore., has appointed GlasWeld Australia Pty. Ltd. as its exclusive distributor for Australia. The distributor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cleveland Tungsten Pty. Ltd. and is located in Revesby, Australia. Sales and marketing for the distributorship will be managed by Garry Sylvester, who previously managed a national call center sales force for Belron and worked for NGS Glass as a national accounts representative.

National Glass Teams Up with TGP in Western Canada
National Glass, a wholesale distributor and fabricator based in Langley, British Columbia, is partnering with Technical Glass Products (TGP) to distribute the FireLite® family of fire-rated ceramic glass products throughout Western Canada. According to the announcement, the new alliance will help National Glass provide architects, glaziers and other building and design professionals with a broad range of fire-rated glazing solutions.

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