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Volume 7   Issue 3               March 2006

And They're Off
Builder's Show Marks the Start of Another Year of Innovation

by Megan Headley 

If you walked the floor of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., during the 2006 International Builders Show (IBS), January 11-14, you were probably more than tired just from walking a distance roughly equivalent to 40 football fields. You were likely also overwhelmed by the throngs of people—more than 105,000 housing professionals—and the hundreds of new products situated in eye-popping displays all calling your attention at once. 

This year’s show, the most well-attended annual convention in the history of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), offered a glimpse into the cutting-edge designs, technologies, products and services that will be available to the home building community, and door and window manufacturers, in 2006. From—literally—hot glass, to doors carved right on the show floor, and all manner of expansions for hardware lines, IBS showed that 2006 will be a year of innovation.

Following are just some of the unique products spotted on the show floor to watch for in the year ahead.

Glass 

Andersen Windows Inc. of Bayport, Minn., used IBS as the launching pad for its new high performance™ low-E4™ glass. Low-E4 features an exterior coating that, when activated by sunlight, helps reduce dirt build-up and water spots, and promotes faster drying. 

“Low-E4 glass is the next generation of glass technology,” says Rod Krois, window marketing director at Andersen. “Combined with our low-maintenance exteriors and 20/10 limited warranty, our customers now have less to worry about when it comes to owning and maintaining their homes.”

The transparent metallic low-E coatings on the glass, which are applied to one of the glass surfaces within the airspace, deflect radiant heat and let in visible light. The glass coatings also offer energy efficiency, and can reduce glare and cut ultraviolet light by 83 percent for protection from fading for interior fabrics and furnishings. 

The Thermique™ Hot Glass Technology™ from Engineered Glass Products (EGP) of Chicago wasn’t new this year, but the application featured at the show was. The technology, first introduced for heated glass towel warmers, has been adapted for use in architectural windows. Warm-to-the-touch examples of the electrically heated glass were on display at EGP’s booth. 

“We had a constant flow of interested builders, and I think one good barometer about the impact of our product was that we received referred visitors, who would tell us that ‘so and so’ told them to come by and see our amazing technology,” says George Usinowicz, architectural representative for EGP. “Another compliment to our booth displays and presentations was the number of attendees who returned on another day, to satisfy more of their own questions, or to be the first to show their peers and associates our heated glass.” 

According to information from EGP, the heat in the glass is generated by a transparent metal oxide coating connected to specifically designed buss bars within the laminated or insulating unit, which are in turn wired to the wall-mounted Thermique controller. When the controller provides electricity, the coating heats up the entire glass surface uniformly. At full power, the heated windows reach a uniform temperature of 105°. 

Guardian Industries Corp., based in Auburn Hills, Mich., spotlighted a product at IBS already familiar to DWM readers (see December 2005 DWM, page 44). 

“Although we used a series of direct mailings leading up to the show to preview ClimaGuard SPF for window manufacturers throughout North America, the formal product introduction took place at the show,” says Tim Singel, director of residential glass products for Guardian. “Our presence at the show provided window manufacturers, builders and architects with an opportunity to see our products, interact with Guardian representatives, and to learn more about Guardian innovation.”

Designed specifically for use in residential windows, ClimaGuard SPF blocks 99.9 percent of ultraviolet (UV) radiation without any visible change in daylighting, according to information from the company. 

According to Singel, the show paid off through the positive response from attendees. 

“The interest level at the show exceeded our expectations. Prior to the show we believed that broad awareness of the damage caused by UV exposure through windows would translate into strong interest in ClimaGuard SPF, but the simplicity of the glass configuration (a familiar double-glazed IG unit) seemed to resonate with show attendees,” Singel said.

Although the company expects the product to be popular in the replacement market, Singel noted that “the response we received from builders and architects at the show was very encouraging.” 

Hardware

Officials at Winkhaus North America Inc. of Whitewater, Wis., found their first time exhibiting at the IBS show to be a great success. According to information from the company, a constant flow of traffic throughout the show generated a large number of high-quality leads. In addition, company officials said that the new products they showcased were well-received by the attendees, notably the stainless steel One Motion™ lock that automatically unlocks both the deadbolt and multi-points from the inside with one downward motion of the lever. Also highlighted at the Winkhaus booth was the motorized Blue Motion™ lock, which is activated by remote, card reader, fingerprint scanner and other new technology features. 

The new director of sales, Jim Roberts, said of his experience at IBS, “It was a positive and effective way to develop relationships with existing customers of Winkhaus North America Inc., as well as potential customers that attended the show.” 

Kris Newman, commercial hardware manager at G-U Hardware Inc. in Newport News, said that the company received a good response from attendees on its new code- and remote-activated handlesets, and that the company will soon be offering additional information on the products. 

HOPPE North America Inc. of Fort Atkinson, Wis., garnered interest for its new HLS9000 multipoint swing door hardware for wide stile entry doors with 60mm and 70mm backsets. Attendees found on display the new multipoint locking door system, which, according to information from HOPPE, offers security, tight weather seals, smooth operation and protection against warping and twisting. 

According to Pat Junker, vice president of sales, a great deal of the foot traffic that veered toward the hardware manufacturer’s booth in the West hall, was directed there from the booths of HOPPE customers. Many of the company’s customers were displaying finished products at the show, which led attendees to investigate the hardware manufacturer.

“We ended up with, we think, a very good show,” says Junker. 

Weiser Lock of Burnaby, British Columbia, had on display its latest hardware collection: the Collections line. Collections features three forged brass handlesets, two knobs and two new levers. The new Shelburne, Hawthorne and Amherst handlesets feature concealed interior screws and a Grade 1 deadbolt with a ballistic design and improved security features.

W&F Manufacturing Inc. of Glendale, Calif., spotlighted its Trilennium™ swinging door multi-point hardware. The hardware features a 3- points latch and 3-points deadbolt. The top and bottom latch design allows for door misalignment and 3/16-inch pull-in when deadbolted. Deadbolts include an anti-saw hardened steel pin. Release of the latch and deadbolt is done in a single downward movement, and there is a visual indication of whether the door is locked or unlocked. 

Finished Products

The Jeld-Wen® IWP® folding door system was one of that company’s biggest product announcements for 2006. Unveiled for the first time in the United States at IBS, this system combines the style, customization opportunities and elegance of a classic French door with the updated benefits and features of a sliding door. Show attendees were able to test the smooth slide of the door system, which operates accordion style; its sections slide on an overhead track and fold up neatly against one another to allow for full access to the indoors or outdoors. Company officials believes it will be especially popular with homeowners who are increasingly interested in creating outdoor living spaces and want a direct connection to their yards and gardens. 

Also on hand at the Jeld-Wen booth were two members of the Reyes family carving one of the company’s IWP® custom wood doors with images from the company’s new coast-to-coast series. Attendees were able to watch Andres and his uncle Roberto Reyes quickly turn a piece of wood into a work of art.

“It’s incredible to watch,” says Shane Meisel, Jeld-Wen’s marketing manager for wood doors. “They can shape and carve a piece of wood as if it were butter. The end result is so detailed and lifelike, people are amazed when they find out the designs are all created by hand.”

Hurd Windows and Doors of Medford, Wis., drew attendees to an up close look at its newest product with a cocktail party at the Custom Home in the IBS Show Village. 

The new Kingsview™ single-hung window, the first product in a line of top-quality, all-wood windows and doors, headlined the 11 new products Hurd featured at the show. With no visible man-made material, the industry’s highest impact ratings and sophisticatedly styled hardware, each product in the Kingsview line is hand-crafted to be architecturally beautiful and amazingly strong, according to the company. With more species of wood, arched components and elegant hardware, the Kingsview product line is geared toward luxury homes. Available in an array of sizes and shapes, company officials expect the product line to open new design opportunities.

In addition to its product offerings, the company used IBS as its stage for launching its multi-million dollar marketing campaign introducing the “new Hurd.” 

“We’ve repositioned the company to rightfully compete in the top tier, luxury home segment,” says Larry Haberman, president of Hurd. “Specifically, we’re investing in new technology in our plants, new products and, most noticeably, we’re updating the Hurd logo and initiating a new trade and consumer marketing campaign.”

Another new window system was featured at the booth of the Bilco Co. of New Haven, Conn. The company introduced its ScapeVIEW™ Series 6000 foundation window system. Constructed of vinyl for durability and corrosion resistance, the window assembly is a two-piece system consisting of a pour-in-place buck and a snap-in window unit. Available in three standard sizes, the window meets code requirements for emergency egress.

Pella Corp. of Pella, Iowa, featured new design options at its booth: the manufacturer has created decorative panels to hang between lites of glass in the company’s Designer Series® windows or patio doors. 

“Thanks to our newest innovation, now the consumer is the designer with windows and doors,” says Sherri Gillette, Designer Series brand manager. “More popular colors, materials, fabrics and beautiful glass options now make it easier than ever to personalize your home or business environment.”

The series offers snap-in, snap-out blinds and shades in 25 different colors, but panels can also be customized to precisely match fabrics, wallpaper or artwork. In addition, fabric panels and panels that simulate stained glass can be inserted between the lites. And, according to information from the company, Designer Series doors and windows with triple-glazing and laminated glass reduce exterior sounds. 

Following the Show

IBS exhibitors have also been keeping busy since the show, following up on leads and preparing new developments on their newest lines. 
Junker noted that usually HOPPE experiences a bit of a lull before the show and then a bit of a lull following it. 

“We did not experience that this year,” he said. “Since then we’ve just been following up on leads.”

“We have wonderful leads for interesting projects from all over the country,” Usinowicz added. “Within two weeks of the show, we were already responding on site to a spectacular architectural home in Louisville, Ky.” 

Usinowicz added that the company is already dealing with new developments on its product. 

“Response has been very positive,” Singel added. “We’re receiving inquiries on a daily basis from builders, architects, window manufacturers and consumers throughout North America and from as far away as Australia,” said Singel.

While following up on new developments, many exhibitors are also making plans to return to IBS in 2007. NAHB has announced plans to hold next year’s event on February 7-10 at the familiar Orlando location, the Orange County Convention Center. 

Megan Headley is an assistant editor for DWM Magazine.


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