Volume 7, Issue 8 - September 2006


Meeting News

Hurricanes are the Focus at AAMA Southeast Region Fall Meeting

With a record-high attendance of 103 people, representatives from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) felt its Southeast Region’s fall meeting was a success. The meeting, held August 16-17 in St. Augustine, Fla., focused on how to keep the region safer in future hurricanes.

Among the topics discussed was the new Florida labeling task group, which was formed because inspectors requested that certified products have a clear label for identification. 

“A temporary label will show its size, grade, how it’s fastened and information on energy,” said Sigi Valentin, AAMA Southeast regional director.

The association’s technical director, John Lewis, also said that the association’s validator has run into some problems because individual unit labels are being placed on double and triple units, implying that the label refers to the whole assembly.

“You’re going to be hearing more about that in the future,” Lewis said.

Scanning the Panhandle
The enforcement of windborne debris construction in the panhandle area of Florida was of interest to many members. 

Joseph Carson, president and owner of Carson Construction and a member of the Florida Building Commission, informed the group of the commission’s progress.

On June 19, the commission voted, 12 – 3 in favor, to adopt the 130-mile per hour contour as the Windborne Debris Region designation in the Panhandle, including all areas within 1,500 feet of the Inland Bays that are not within the 130 miles per hour contour. The commission also voted unanimously in favor of adopting the Panhandle Windborne Debris Region designation, and to integrate the definition into the 2006 supplement to the Florida Building Code. 

“Trees through roofs are 99 to 1 over something blowing through a window—I have been through it,” said Carson.

The commission voted to extend the windborne debris region to the 130 mile per hour contour of the panhandle region at a final hearing held on August 23 at Miami Lakes. The commission is aiming for March 1, 2007 as the implementation date.

Building Codes
Of utmost importance is the building codes’ affect on the region, and how to improve it.

After going through the evolution of building codes from 1976 to the present, Jim Schock of the First Coast Chapter Building Officials Association of Florida concluded that from a manufacturing stand point, the building code is state of the art. 

“However, from an installation and water intrusion stand points they [the codes] have fallen short,” he said.

In order to understand this issue and how to get past it, the Florida Building Commission has set up a work group and looked at the issue. 

Every state in the Southeast region will be impacted by a major hurricane sooner or later, emphasized Jeff Burton from the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

In Alabama, to date, there’s an action, which will be final on March 27, adopting 2003 IRC and 2006 IBC. Mississippi has also finally adopted 2006 IBC and IRC.

Two states—Alabama and Delaware—have no building codes. Some states, such as Texas and Mississippi have voluntary codes.

“Mississippi perturbs me the most. You’ve seen what happened in Katrina—and they are ignoring it. Two cities have already opted out of the voluntary code, and one of these cities is Pascagoula,” said Burton. 

North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida all have mandatory requirements. 

“My opinion is that it will be at least five years before Louisiana is doing it (building to mandatory requirements) at a nominal level,” he said. “Florida code is the gold standard—it’s torqued-up from the national code.”

“Panhandle states” such as lower Alabama, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut also have mandatory requirements.
“Whatever dollars are being spent (by the states for protection), spend it better,” he emphasized.

Water Performance Standards
One of the more controversial discussions of the conference regarded the test method for optional water performance standards for hurricane-prone areas.

Pete Thornton of Silver Line Building Products summarized the method the group has been studying for 18 months by saying that the biggest focus is on the pulsating test method and the dynamic testing.

“We’ve looked at all standards, both U.S. and International (standards), and we’ll have a final report to AAMA National in the fall,” said Scott Warner of Architectural Testing Inc.

The group then reviewed the draft. The method is to first test for 15 psf. Then, it is to test to ASTM E 2268 test – and vary the pressure rapidly. At this point, there are five levels of performance.

“We expect water leakage, but there’s going to be some discussion over what is acceptable. Four or five hours of a hurricane-force storm may pass only 15 ml,” said Thornton.

The group went over the three options of tables in the current draft proposal. Feedback was mixed.

“The pressures we are talking about are only a fraction of a real storm. Let’s find out what the performance is and what we can do before we put numbers up (in the chart),” said Charlie Everly of PGT Industries.

“My only advice is that we be careful with these test methods, that while they are voluntary, they don’t become political and that the state doesn’t tell you how much water should come in,” said Ivan Zuniga of AFG Glass.

“We are talking about two to three years of testing to answer some of these questions.” said Bill Emley, president of AAMA’s Southeast region.

“We need to continue the table out (to the right, further) to include the pressure you would see in a major storm,” said Lewis.


Georgia Gulf Announces Agreement to Acquire Royal Group Technologies
Atlanta-based Georgia Gulf Corp. (GGC) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Royal Group Technologies Ltd. of Woodbridge, Ontario, for $11.82 per share. The total transaction is valued at approximately $1.6 billion.

The combination of Royal Group’s diversified product portfolio, which includes vinyl building and construction products such as windows, with GGC’s vinyl resins and compounding technology as well as operational efficiencies is expected to result in a stronger, more competitive combined company in the vinyl building and construction products industry, according to information provided by GGC.

Representatives of GGC say the acquisition will allow the company further integration downstream and provide earnings growth potential. It will also allow GGC to leverage competitive advantages of compounding, operational skills, chlorovinyls integration and a larger scale and more diversified asset base.

“We are very excited about the potential value of this combination for our shareholders, customers and employees,” said Ed Schmitt, chairperson, president and chief executive officer of GGC. “The integration of the two companies provides an opportunity for improved earnings by leveraging the competitive advantages of each company while creating a foundation for future growth opportunities.”

“Georgia Gulf is a recognized leader in the area of vinyl resins and compounding technology, known for the high quality of its products. We believe that the combination of Georgia Gulf and Royal Group will result in a formidable force in the vinyl building products industry,” said Lawrence J. Blanford, president and chief executive officer of Royal Group Technologies.

GCC expects to close the transaction following approval by Royal Group’s shareholders as well as regulatory approvals. 


Stiles Integrates Intelligent Automation Solutions
Stiles Machinery Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced it is organizing software, robotics and project engineering into a single entity: Intelligent Automation.

“We recognize the growing needs of our customers to take automation and integration beyond just communicating with machines,” said Jerry McCall, product group manager. “I am excited to see these disciplines come together as Intelligent Automation because our customers want the highest level of cooperation between all of their automation needs.” 

According to Don Leblanc, director of systems engineering, “Properly configured manufacturing techniques provide our customers the flexibility to meet today’s market demands while assuring profitability.” 

BSI-Balance Systems Expands in N.C. 
BSI-Balance Systems has announced it will expand its plants in Statesville, N.C., to create 50 new jobs and an investment of $1.2 million over the next three years. The expansion is being made possible in part by a $50,000 One North Carolina Fund grant.

“BSI-Balance Systems’ decision to expand in North Carolina is a testament to our business-friendly climate and skilled workforce,” Easley said. 

The company employs 235 people at two plants in Statesville. After the expansion, both current and new positions will be located in one new manufacturing facility in Statesville. The company also maintains manufacturing facilities in South Dakota and Nevada. 

“Over the past eight years, our Statesville facility has proven that quality and service are the driving forces of any successful company,” said Eddie Kistler, operations manager of BSI-Balance Systems. “Due to our history of success with the East Coast customers we service in Statesville, we have increased our sales and have been able to expand into a new, larger and more accessible facility.”

JoTiKa Seeks U.S. Agent for Add-Ons to GED WinIG Software
U.K.-based glass processing software developer JoTiKa Software has launched add-ons for GED machinery controlled by WinIG software.

The add-ons are designed to allow full external optimization, including the company’s full shape nesting which allows any polygon to be nested with any other polygon, while ensuring that overall waste, including rectangle cutting on the same sheets, is minimized. 

Complete pre-optimized data is sent via the WinIG merge file. This allows the company to implement its full shape nesting solutions. The solution allows manufacture of spacers to be separated from glass cutting, and allows a more extensive range of shapes to be cut, and where feasible to use the Intercept spacer system. Full control over cutting sequence allows for fast and efficient glass storage strategies, such as A-frames, and can eliminate the use of slot racks, according to the company. The add-ons use the WinIG merge file interface to fully control all aspects of manufacture outside of WinIG, and to allow integration with existing bar code tracking systems.

JoTiKa is now actively seeking a U.S. agent for its WinIG add-ons and for its full range of Gtrak glass processing software.

Ontario Window Company Showcased in U.S. Model Energy Home
Pollard Windows of Burlington, Ontario, has announced a partnership with chemical company BASF to produce the BASF Better Home, Better Planet Initiative: Near-Zero Energy Home. The home, in Paterson, N.J., is intended to be an international showcase for innovative energy design. 

“Pollard Windows provided the Near-Zero Energy Home with elegant, high-performance windows,” said Gary DeSantis, BASF senior corporate architect and project manager. 

According to DeSantis, the lead-free vinyl cladding is weather-resistant and will not flake, peel, rust or corrode, also making the windows maintenance-free.

According to information from the company, Pollard’s low-E windows help make the Paterson house 80 percent more energy efficient than a home built to model energy codes established by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

“The particular brand of low-E glass we use, Solarban® 60, makes all the difference,” said Gary Pollard, owner of Pollard Windows. “Solarban® 60 is unique because it also offers solar control and that’s essential for comfort.” 

Pollard noted that the vinyl extrusions in his windows are 500 percent thicker than typical aluminum cladding, increasing durability while allowing for air to circulate between the cladding and the wood, and reducing heat loss. The windows are tested to the American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association and the National Fenestration Ratings Council standards. It is also an Energy Star®-qualified product. 

Milgard Expands with New Fiberglass Entry Doors 
Milgard of Tacoma, Wash., is expanding its product mix with the addition of fiberglass entry doors. The company says it has added entry doors in response to its customers’ growing interest in one-stop shopping for high quality vinyl and fiberglass doors and windows. The company debuted its new door line at the 2006 Pacific Coast Builders Conference in June in San Francisco. Product rollout began in July in California and the continental Northwest with eventual rollout to its full marketplace. In addition, the company has changed its name and logo to Milgard Windows and Doors referencing both businesses. 

MI Windows Acquires CertainTeed Facility
In a move intended to strengthen its position in the replacement products market and expand its presence in the Midwest, MI Windows and Doors Inc. of Gratz, Pa., has acquired a 210,000-square-foot CertainTeed window fabrication facility in Lebanon, Ind. 

With the acquisition, MI has been granted exclusive rights to fabricate CertainTeed vinyl window and patio door products for many of the primary markets throughout the Midwest. In addition to producing CertainTeed windows, the plant will be fabricating MI’s line of XACT replacement windows and patio doors.

“We’re seeing a lot of opportunity in the Midwest for replacement products and that makes this acquisition a key part of our growth strategy,” said Matt DeSoto, MI’s executive vice president of the Eastern division. “We also feel that this will be the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between two great companies. CertainTeed has a strong reputation within our industry and they have a brand that is recognized by consumers throughout the supply chain.” 

TRACO to Build New Facility in Georgia
TRACO of Cranberry Township, Pa., plans to build a new 180,000-square-foot facility in Bainbridge, Ga. The new facility is intended to augment the company’s current capability to produce impact-resistant door and window systems for its retail and residential markets. The company plans to locate the facility strategically to service the entire Southeast market, including Texas. 

“Our strategy is to continue to meet the demands of the marketplace and best support our customers,” said Robert P. Randall, president and chief executive officer. “TRACO is in an extraordinary position with proven products to meet the needs of our customers in the coastal area.” 

PGT Files for an Initial Public Offering 
PGT Inc. of North Venice, Fla., is filing a registration statement with the Securities Exchange Commission relating to an initial public offering of its common stock. According to a company news release, the net proceeds of the offering are expected to be used to repay indebtedness and for working capital and general corporate purposes. 

The manufacturer has filed to raise up to $150 million, according to public documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the company has not announced how many shares it will sell or the price of shares. The company has applied to list its common stock on The NASDAQ National Market under the trading symbol “PGTI.” 

PGT reported that in 2005 the company generated net sales of $332.8 million, and had an adjusted EBITDA of $58.4 million.
Sika Expands to Increase Production Capacity 
Sika Corp. has announced that it will invest $17.8 million over the next two years to increase capacity for polyurethane sealant and adhesives production at its headquarters facility in Lyndhurst, N.J. 

According to William E. Loven, president and chief executive officer, the investments will be made “to transform the factory into a focused polyurethane factory with up to 100 percent more capacity. In addition, we will begin upgrading our equipment in order to increase manufacturing efficiencies and reduce costs.”

Loven adds that the company’s existing powders and mortars manufacturing operations in Lyndhurst will be moved to other Sika locations or to certain alliance partners. High-performance mortars and grouts still represent a large portion of Sika Construction division sales. Such products are used in the repair and refurbishment of concrete structures like building facades, interstate highways and bridge structures.

Formation of VEKA Canada Announced 
VEKA Holdings Inc., a member of the VEKA AG Group headquartered in Sendenhorst, Germany, has announced that its Berlinex plant has been fully integrated into the operations of VEKA North America and will now be operational as VEKA Canada. 

Berlinex, acquired by VEKA from the Epwin Group Plc. in 2002, is an extruder of PVC fenestration products based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and currently employs approximately 60 people. This new VEKA Canada site will continue to serve as a member of the VEKA Group and will supply current VEKA and Berlinex customers in Western Canada with products specific to that market.

FeneTech Adds Staff and New Division
FeneTech Inc. of Aurora, Ohio, has formed a manufacturing services division within the company. Headed by industry veteran Joe Mueller, the manufacturing services division will offer process efficiency audits, ROI analysis, project prioritization analysis, equipment selection, process layout and facility layouts. The new division will also provide engineering services for plant expansion planning, energy efficient utilities planning and project management.

“Many door, window and glass fabrication companies do not have the engineering talent on staff to tackle projects that will provide the significant improvements in their business,” said Ron Crowl, president. “The new manufacturing services division is targeted to meet the needs of these organizations to help keep them competitive in today’s market.”

Simonton Windows® Breaks Ground for Addition to Georgia Facility
To meet the growing need for coastal doors and windows in the Southeast, Simonton Windows of Parkersburg, W.Va., has completed a 120,000-square-foot addition to its Lyons, Ga., manufacturing facility. The addition more than doubles the space the company has at the facility dedicated to producing coastal products.

“Our Lyons facility began window production in January of this year and we [quickly saw] the need to add more production space,” said Jody Garrett, vice president of manufacturing. “We’ve been constantly ramping up operations there with additional procedures going on-line every few weeks. At the same time, we recognized that the need for coastal doors and windows will only strengthen in the future. That’s why we decided to move ahead quickly with the expansion of the facility by starting construction on an addition.”

Ground was broken in February for the Lyons addition on land next to the original site earmarked for future development. The company expects to employ more than 200 people at the facility. 


Gorell Receives Energy Star® Sustained Excellence Award
Gorell Enterprises Inc. of Indiana, Pa., was recently honored with the Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency for its record of manufacturing energy-efficient windows, as well as the company’s work in promoting the Energy Star program. Gorell became the first window manufacturer in the country to receive this distinction, an honor bestowed on organizations that win Energy Star Partner of the Year three or more consecutive times, according to the company. Gorell was named Energy Star Partner of the Year for the third consecutive year in 2006. 

Edgetech Celebrates One Billion Feet of Super Spacer® 
Edgetech I.G. Inc. of Cambridge, Ohio, celebrated the production of its one-billionth foot of Super Spacer on July 24. 

Edgetech’s one-billionth foot of spacer came off the line as the company was filling an order for Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors. Edgetech’s executive vice president Larry Johnson and regional sales manager Erin Barker presented the one-billionth foot in a commemorative shadow box to Jeld-Wen Canada general manager Martin Seier and Jeld-Wen Winnipeg general manager Tod Blanchard at a celebration held July 27 at the company’s Winnipeg facility. 

Just how long is one billion feet? Employees did some research and learned that they would be able to wrap the insulating foam tape around the earth more than seven times, or stretch it from New York to Los Angeles more than 38 times (roundtrip). 

“It took us by surprise when we looked at our data and realized we just produced one billion feet of Super Spacer,” said Edgetech president Mike Hovan. “It’s a very impressive mark and we are extremely proud of our employees who made it happen.” 

According to Hovan, Super Spacer can be found in more than 100 million insulating glass units—or 50 to 60 million windows—in as many as 60 countries. 

“This symbolizes more than 1 billion feet,” said Hovan. “The milestone is exciting, but it’s the fact that our customers are part of this milestone that truly makes it a success. High quality products; valuable relationships; dedicated employees: these are the constants over the last 17 years that have led to this exciting achievement.”

Simplex Building Products Inc., based in Houston, Texas, has announced that Anhui GuoFeng has joined the ranks of AAMA certified PVC extrusion licenses. Simplex has an exclusive North American distribution agreement with Anhui GuoFeng … Edgetech I.G. Inc. of Cambridge, Ohio, has named PRYSM Marketing Inc. of Doylestown, Pa., as its manufacturer’s representative for the Northeast. PRYSM Marketing markets and sells component parts and related products to manufacturers of doors, windows and insulating glass in the eastern United States … Paragon Door Designs of Louisville, Ky., has announced that it has joined the nationwide effort to help the environment and make homes more comfortable through participation in the Energy Star® program for residential entry door manufacturers … Frank Lowe Rubber and Gasket Co. Inc. of Farmingdale, N.Y., a supplier to the fenestration industry, has announced that Hastings, Minn.-based The Kragenbring Group LLC will become the company’s representative in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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