Volume 46, Issue 5 - June 2011


Coral Industries Recovers from Tuscaloosa Tornadoes
Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Coral Industries was just one of many local businesses that felt the impact of tornadoes that ripped through the area on April 27, leaving hundreds dead and neighborhoods destroyed.

Of the company’s 250 employees there were no fatalities, though there were some who were hurt. “We have some bumps and bruises, but no fatalities—thank the Lord,” says Lewis McAllister, executive vice president. “Fifteen to 20 employees lost their homes and most, if not all, they had.”

After being shut down for a day, Coral quickly resumed the majority of its operations. While the company’s main plant was unharmed, the architectural aluminum division was not as fortunate.

“It was leveled. There is nothing left,” McAllister says of the 50,000-square-foot facility.

Operations there have been moved to the main building where another warehouse is located. The architectural division suffered extensive damages so it will be some time before that business segment resumes.

“The architectural division is 10 percent of our business. Ninety percent is shower doors and glass and that part is up and running,” McAllister says.

Glass Eliminated from One WTC Podium Wall
The glass portion of the podium wall of One World Trade Center in New York has been eliminated from the tower’s design, the New York Times confirmed on May 12.

Originally, architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in New York had specified that the lower 20 stories of the tower would feature an ultra-clear glass unique from the remainder of the 104-story tower (the top of the tower currently is being installed).

The high-profile project has undergone several changes since its initial conception. In October 2010 it was announced that PPG Industries in Pittsburgh would manufacture the glass for the tower’s podium wall, after having been told in early 2009 that the contract was instead going to a Chinese glass company (see December 2010 USGlass, page 10). Zetian Systems Inc. in Las Vegas was supplying the Starphire glass to fabricator Sanxin Glass in China, and bringing it back to the United States to be installed by Solera/DCM in New York (Representatives of Solera/DCM declined to comment for this article).

Zetian president Greg Olin told USGlass in March that the decision to specify PPG’s glass was made by the architect. “We are suppliers; when we put the options on the table and the architect says ‘I want that one,’ I don’t ask why,” he said. “There’s a world of difference in the way that glass looks. The combination was just perfect. Once [the architect] saw that it was available, and there was some inventory available immediately to do the trials that we needed in order to keep the contract schedule, it became a no-brainer” (see May 2011 USGlass, page 35).

Representatives of SOM would not return calls from USGlass to comment on the reason for the design change. However, the Times reported that as of the trials at Sanxin Glass in March, the “glass panels tended to bow after they were cut and tempered, which interfered with the lamination process.”

Olin commented on the New York Times’ report: “They [the Times] managed to identify two key points: the scale and the breakage effect. Prismatic glass can be tempered and laminated successfully into smaller lite sizes than designed, but when it breaks, it acts differently than tempered flat glass—no matter what size. This is the key to the change. It has nothing to do with where it is produced. The laws of physics apply universally.”

Neither the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York nor Tishman Construction, the general contractor on the project, would return calls from USGlass to comment.

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