Meeting of  
the Minds  
GPD Celebrates 25th Anniversary  
with a Focus on Innovation  
b y E l l e n R o g e r s  
Above: Arto Metsanen, Glaston CEO, spoke during the opening ceremonies. Bottom right: Metsanen also participated  
in a panel discussion with Jean-Paul Hautekeer from DOW Corning (left) and Jonathan Cohen (center) from Kuraray.  
hen it takes two years to risk in [changing] the traditional GPD  
A focus on new technologies and in-  
bring an event together, you after 25 years. Now we know that this novations was a big part of this year’s  
can bet it will be a good one. was a risk worth taking,” said Jorma event. Arto Metsanen, CEO of Glaston  
That’s the case, at least, when it comes Vitkala, chair of the GPD organizing Corp., said during the opening that  
to Glass Performance Days (GPD), committee. “The open feedback we these new developments will trans-  
the biennial conference that brings received, and still continue to collect, form the glass industry and new appli-  
the global glass industry to Tampere, was very favorable and most notably cations for glass will be developed.  
W
Finland. The 2017 event, which took in the area of promoting expert net-  
The opening also included a previ-  
place June 28-30, marked GPD’s 25th working and the establishment of last- ously recorded discussion with Scott  
anniversary. More than 650 partici- ing contacts and business relations. Thomsen, managing partner at In-  
pants attended the conference—up 20 Preparations are already underway for noscovery and former president of the  
percent—which featured a new look in [2019]…”  
Guardian Industries Global Glass Group.  
a new venue, the Tahti Areena. The set- Vitkala adds, “Without outstanding He talked about the critical need for in-  
ting brought all participants together speakers and session chairs, we cannot novation in the glass industry, pointing  
into one large open space, combining expect to have an outstanding program out that the last step change in the glass  
both education and networking.  
and a first-class event.In this respect all industry was the invention of the float  
“We were well aware that we took a our expectations were successfully met.” glass process. As an example, he said  
56  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | August 2017  
www.usglassmag.com  
Getting Social  
In addition to the high level of presentations and education,  
GPD is also famous for its social and networking activities,  
many of which take place surrounded by the beauty of the  
city of Tampere, Finland. This year’s event included a wel-  
coming get-together party on the opening night, followed by  
a lavish conference dinner on the second night. The evening  
included food, drinks and entertainment. On the final night,  
participants enjoyed the farewell party. The celebration,  
which is known to last until dawn, included performances  
from fire dancers, games, music and much more.  
Top left: GPD includes a number of social activities, including an elaborate farewell party. Top right: This year’s event  
included a performance by fire dancers.  
mobile phones are on a 12- to 18-month nese patents and today there are more Increased connectivity and new  
cycle of innovation, while the glass in- than 7,000.  
dustry is on a seven- to eight-year cycle.  
someone else will do it,” he said.  
functionalities; and  
Looking ahead, Savaete suggested Driverless cars.  
If the current players don’t innovate the flat glass industry should invest  
more in areas such as research and de- Worldwide Awareness  
Several other opening presenters also velopment, marketing, BIPV glazing,  
As an international event, GPD draws  
looked at changes taking place that re- logistics and transportation, energy participants from around the world,shar-  
late to the importance of innovation and and efficiencies and development for a ing viewpoints on what they see as some  
how this impacts the glass industry.  
Bernard Savaete, founder of BJS Dif-  
new melter or alternative glazing.  
He also shared that macro trends  
of the most significant global trends.  
“Larger glass as a structural element  
ferences, talked about major industry will continue to influence the industry. has driven the need for structural in-  
changes the industry has seen over the These include: terlayers to maintain overall unit thick-  
past 25 years. In 1992 there were 150 Increases in global population and ness for larger loads, or allow it to be  
global float lines; today there are more urbanization; thinner for similar loads,” said Michael  
than 500.Back then, there were 25 float Development of the building and Ondrus, architectural market develop-  
lines in China and today there are more construction industry;  
than 250.There were also only 322 Chi- Continued focus on CO2 emissions;  
continued on page 59  
www.usglassmag.com  
August 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
57  
Mconteineuetdifnromgpoagfe 5t7he Minds  
ment manager, Americas, with East-  
man Chemical Co., adding that interest  
in sound dampening as a result of con-  
tinued urbanization is also driving the  
need for acoustic interlayers.  
Jonathan Cohen, global business di-  
rector with Kuraray Glass Laminating  
Solutions, said he also sees growth in  
structural glazing with larger glass  
panels and thinner glass using struc-  
tural interlayers.  
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This year GPD included several new  
features, including a Step Change pro-  
gram, intended to bring new technol-  
ogies and startup companies together  
with established businesses to try and  
increase the clock change rate of inno-  
vation. During “pitching competitions,”  
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2
2 companies each gave a three-minute  
presentation on their business idea,hop-  
ing to convince the jury of its viability.  
Brite Solar was named the winner.  
The company was founded in 2009 in  
Thermi, Greece, and develops trans-  
parent solar cells for power-produc-  
ing glass. Next Energy, based in Santa  
Barbara, Calif., was the second-place  
winner. The company has developed  
a transparent energy-harvesting win-  
dow technology that it says can turn  
glass facades into producers of low-  
cost, on-site renewable energy for  
buildings. Austria-based Lightglass  
received third place. The company has  
developed glass that can be both a light  
source as well as a carrier of electronic  
modules. n  
Call us today at 888-876-2297and let  
us build you the best glass racking system,  
body or trailer.  
E l l e n R o g e r s is  
the editor of USGlass  
magazine. Follow  
her on Twitter @  
EllenGRogers and like  
her on Facebook at  
usgellenrogers to receive updates.  
www.usglassmag.com  
August 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
59  

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