Volume 46, Issue 9 - October 2011


Binswanger Returns to Its Roots as Glass Retailer, Installer

Binswanger Glass has endured a number of changes since the sale of former parent company Vitro America in June (see August 2011 USGlass, page 16), but the biggest change may be that Binswanger has returned to its roots as a glass retailer and installation company, says Arturo Carrillo, who’s been named president of Binswanger. Carrillo served as president and chief executive officer of the former Vitro America (now part of the newly formed Trulite Glass & Aluminum) prior to the sale of the company to Sun Capital Partners.

“Binswanger, for the first time in many years, is independent of a fabricator. It is its own stand-alone legal entity with its own stand-alone management,” Carrillo says. “With this acquisition Binswanger comes back to its original roots, so we’re pretty excited to run Binswanger in an independent manner and continue to be a successful and long-term company.”

Among the recent changes has been the consolidation of several branches. According to Carrillo, only a small percentage of the company’s stores across the United States were affected.

“We have consolidated a few facilities—not many, about 5 percent of locations,” Carrillo says. “That already has happened for the most part. Most consolidations we are going to do already happened.”

Some of these have been positive moves, he says.

“We’re moving a few other branches to better and bigger locations,” he says. “We’re able to use part of the [capital from] the acquisition to re-negotiate with our landlords and that’s what led to the consolidation to new facilities, [moving to] facilities that were in better parts of town, etc.”

He adds, “It’s not a change of business strategy—it’s more of an ability to negotiate with landlords and come up with a better footprint.”

In response to industry speculation that Binswanger could be sold again in the near future, Carrillo says, “Binswanger has been a long-standing company. It’s been around for [more than] 100 years and it has a lot of long-term [leaders] running it.” He adds, “Over the last 100 years it has been owned by different people; now it’s owned by Sun Capital and Sun Capital intends to run it as a successful company. Will they sell it in the future? It’s probable. But would this affect the employees? It wouldn’t.”

He adds, “It’s an interesting discussion, but for the day-to-day operations it should be an irrelevant question.”

Meanwhile, Binswanger parent Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions in Tamarac, Fla., has begun to close facilities; it announced earlier this year that it would consolidate sites to reduce overlapping footprints. Among the sites that has closed is the former ACI Products facility in Memphis. According to an August 8 letter to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Nashville, 46 workers were laid off. On July 15, Trulite had sent a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission, announcing the termination of employment of 46 workers at its fabrication facility in Farmers Branch, Texas.

Saint-Gobain Acquires Solar Gard Specialty Films
Saint-Gobain has acquired Brussels-based Bekaert’s Specialty Films business, which operates under the name Solar Gard Specialty Films. Aurora, Ohio-based Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., part of the Saint-Gobain Group, will now run Solar Gard Specialty Films.

The transaction covers production facilities in San Diego; Zulte, Belgium; and Suzhou, China; the operations under development in China; and all sales and service centers worldwide. The deal involves all employees currently working in Solar Gard Specialty Films.

Bekaert acquired the Specialty Films business in 2001. While the business continued to grow, technological synergies within Bekaert have proven to be limited over time. The Saint-Gobain group sees significant product and market synergies for Solar Gard with its Innovative Materials businesses, including Performance Plastics and Flat Glass.

Total Security Doubles Manufacturing Capabilities, Adds Staff
Total Security Solutions of Fowlerville, Mich., has doubled its facility to 24,000 square feet and invested more than $80,000 in new equipment. The company also hired four people to its manufacturing and installation teams, and plans to add additional sales staff in the coming months.

To meet client demands for a one-stop manufacturer, the company added new equipment to its wood shop and welding area, as well as a new water jet cutting system, vertical panel saw and metal presses.

“Increased manufacturing capabilities aren’t valuable without increased packing and shipping capabilities,” says Jim Richards, president of Total Security. “Total Security Solutions took a holistic approach to its expansion, and, as a result, is primed for sustained business growth.”

WinTec Forms Security Glass Solutions
WinTec Protective Systems Inc. in Houston, a subsidiary of Medina International Holdings Inc. in Corona, Calif., has formed a new subsidiary, Security Glass Solutions Inc. Security Glass Solutions will market its products for commercial and residential buildings, airports and large hotel buildings throughout the world.

Security Glass Solutions will offer various glass solutions for smash and grab in the commercial business market, residential building glass doors, windows, panel and protection from terrorism bomb blast attacks and hurricane protection, says Robert Doherty, president.

Foremost Opens Midwest Facility
East Hanover, N.J.-based Foremost Groups has celebrated the grand opening of its new manufacturing and distribution center in Hobart, Ind. The facility will serve as the distribution center and showroom for Foremost branded products that include its new product offering, Foremost Shower Enclosures. Company representatives report that the majority of this full line of shower and bath enclosures also will be produced at the new manufacturing facility.

The location includes a 50,000-square-foot warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facility and a 2,000-square-foot regional showroom.

Southern Stretch Moves its Pennsylvania Location
Southern Stretch Forming in Denton, Texas, has moved its Pennsylvania location from Zelienople to Butler. The new leased location is 13,000 square feet in area with an additional 6,000 square feet available for future growth.

The new shop houses three stretch form presses ranging from 17 to 30 tons, and a 26- by 8- by 8-foot oven for tempering and annealing aluminum, all moved from the Zelienople location. The company doesn’t plan to add any new lines in the next six months, says Charles Michie, marketing director. However, the new location has added two new additional people in staff.

“The new location gives us room for growth and more inside area, which will prevent slowdowns that can occur during winter weather,” Michie says.

briefly …
Matodi USA is representing Intermac machinery and Diamut tooling in the glass industry throughout most areas of North America. Matodi USA is a recently founded company in Greensboro, N.C., led by Jack Van Meerbeeck as president. www.matodiusa.com

PPG Industries’ industrial coatings business announced that YKK AP America Inc. in Dublin, Ga., has been accredited as a premier member of the PPG/CAP Certified Applicator Program®. YKK AP is certified to apply both liquid and powder DURANAR® coatings to aluminum architectural components

Western Window Systems in Phoenix has launched a new website, www.westernwindowsystems.com. The new site continues to evolve daily with product updates, the latest news from the company, a twitter feed, photos of recently completed projects and more.

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