Volume 8, Issue 9 - October 2007
Atlanta Wrap Up
GlassBuild America, held September 10-12, in Atlanta, presented door and window manufacturers with an opportunity to view the latest products and have discussions with existing suppliers on everything from energy efficiency to competing in a down market. As usual, the search for products reigned supreme. Following is a sampling of what exhibitors had on display.
The window was developed jointly by VEKA, which created the vinyl window system, and Wayne Dalton, which made it possible for the WISP to be deployed and locked at the click of a button. The system can even be activated by cell phone in an event when hurricane protection is needed.
The WISP receptor is compatible with all window types, according to the company, and the aforementioned shade is hidden within the window when not in use.
Deceuninck North America also launched a new product designed for impact-resistant applications. The company unveiled its Luxury Plus Performance product line at the show, which it describes as a super-premium product line that combines a luxurious, upscale aesthetic with superior performance and security features. The new products feature a DP-65 performance level, 1-inch insulating glass, triple weatherstripping at all sealing locations, a high-performance sill interlock, integrated locking and latching hardware, SDL capability, “blinds between the glass” options and rounded corners for ease of lamination and painting. The new product line also includes an exclusive high-performance slider option.
“We took our most popular design platform and made an impact window that meets DP-50, Zone 4—yet is inexpensive,” said Mark Davis, vice president of sales.
“People look at it and say, ‘That’s an impact window?’ People can’t believe that skinny, inexpensive window passed DP-50, zone 4.”Davis explained that the company performed extensive market research during the past 18 months with different fabricators and that’s how the product was designed.
“We are very excited about the new Air-Tight line of spacer products,” said president Steve Howes. “This is a natural addition to our growing product offering and is an obvious response to a competitive entry into the resin supply business.”
In the door hardware arena, one of the new products available is a brand-new motorized closer for sliding patio doors from G-U Hardware. The company said the closer is easy to operate and is designed primarily for lift and slide patio doors. The 110-volt system is easy to install, locks and unlocks the door, in addition to opening it, and features a “smart” operation—the door closes and opens with just the touch of a hand.
Craig Heinberg at Ashland Hardware reported a “wonderful show” and great response to its products. The company just launched a new line of premium casement hardware for vinyl windows. The program includes a dual-arm casement operator, multi-point casement lock, concealed casement hinges, awning operator and concealed awning hinge.
The system can achieve water resistance beyond any known requirement or competitive offering. Additionally, the stainless steel construction incorporates an advanced composite assembly that thermally insulates the operator and reduces transfer of heat and cold into the home significantly. The multi-point lock offers a new lock-up mechanism that delivers 30 percent more vertical motion for maximum sash pull-in to close the window. The company said the hardware is designed for easy integration into current window systems.
Truth Hardware introduced a variety of items. The company’s Matt Kottke reported that it has expanded into the French casement market and is offering a wide array of finishes including faux bronze that Kottke describes as a painted version of oil-rubbed bronze. “This is a less expensive alternative available on all products,” he said. “Many people are interested in oil-rubbed bronze but the cost is prohibitive. They are very excited about this new option.”
Ultra Hardware had an array of new offerings, including its new Eclipse hardware for casement and awning windows with a scissor design, its new auto-locking sash lock, and its friction 2-bar hinge. Rob Munin, the company’s vice president, said the new patent-pending, auto-locking sash lock works like a sash lock, but with tilt. Ultra Hardware carries it in a variety of colors. Likewise, the friction 2-bar hinge is available for wood and aluminum windows and has the strength and friction of a 4-bar hinge with only two hinges, according to Munin.
He notes that its variety of products and the fact that it imports many of its products give Ultra Hardware’s customers an advantage. “With our values, it gives customers an opportunity to save,” he said.
Roto Hardware had a booth full of new options, including its Titan sliding door program, which includes a Malibu handle option with four painted colors and seven architectural styles. The systems are available in 2- and 4-point loading systems. Roto also has a new sash lock, the i-lock, which locks itself automatically, and a new casement line, the X-drive, with an expanded variety of plastic covers that can be painted or zinc-plated.
“We stress flexibility,” said Dan Gray, director of sales and marketing.
Carlson Systems Engineering reported that all of its machines at the show were either new or updated. This included the brand new DM-500-P Automated 45/90 Miter Saw. The machine is described as an efficient solution for high-volume 45- or 90-degree cutting of vinyl, PVC, aluminum or wood via computer control. It also helps reduce scrap as two independently controlled saw motor assemblies are incorporated into one stationary cutting area. It has a cutting capacity of two typical frame profiles up to four typical sash profiles per cycle depending upon extrusion shape and fixturing requirements.
Urban introduced three new machines, including the SV-722 Twin Head CNC Sash Cleaner/Processor. The company said the machine includes an extensive range of cleaning and processing options, an industrial PLC control system, a fully programmable high-speed two-axis CNC on each head and a user-friendly interface with menu-driven maintenance and self-diagnostic functions.
GED Integrated Solutions displayed the new SmartClean i-3, part of the company’s i-3 technology. The machine allows users to clean vinyl corners fast, accurately and with less labor than with other systems. It features laser profile recognition for fast throughput and virtually no remakes, according to the company. The machine also offers cycle times that the company said are 33 percent faster than competitive systems. It also offers a high-efficiency clean-out system that minimizes vinyl dust.
“This machine will save a manufacturer 500,000 manual steps per year,” said GED’s Pete Chojnacki.
Joseph Machine showcased its fabrication centers in which every cycle produces a full frame, which, according to the company’s Abe Diehl, is unique. The center can produce 500 frames per shift.
“Other companies have machine centers but nothing like this,” he said. “It is very high-end.” Diehl added that the company is focused on “creating manufacturing solutions for its customers.”
Sturtz Machinery offered a new linear pro 35, a dedicated sash saw for cutting and fabrication. The company’s Mike Biffl said it’s extremely accurate, operates at a high-speed and can fabricate 500 sashes per eight-hour shift.
Also on display was the company’s compact sash line that uses two double-stacked four-point welders, that feeds the sash into a cleaner, and can clean all four corners of the sash at once. The system can handle 850 to 900 sashes per eight-hour shift and only requires one operator.
“According to what we’ve researched and what people are telling us there is nothing like this,” said HAECO’s Brandon Rediger. The product allows the wet-glazing of any profile shape, and the company said waste is nearly eliminated. “For people who don’t want to spend $30,000-50,000 on a product, this is a great machine for them,” said Rediger. “It’s for manufacturers who want to enter the wet-glazing market without a lot of cost.”
The machine is easy to use and maintain, and allows for the consistent and uniform application of sealant.
Another unique piece of equipment at the show was EDTM’s new window energy meter. “It’s the first product ever to give a solar heat gain coefficient value,” said the company’s Mark Imbrock. It also offers visible light and Energy Star® info, and is offered in tabletop and hand-held versions.
“That is garnering the most attention,” he added. “People are really migrating to it … The first five people at the booth had their program open to our company and said, ‘We came specifically to see you.’”
Edgetech IG has added the E-Z RAD vertical workstation to the list of products it represents. The product simplifies cutting, assembly and installation of muntin starburst patterns in a shaped glass IG unit. It reduces times and material waste, decreases application time and allows for precision placement. “This will cut the time by one third,” said Edgetech’s Larry Johnson. “A lot of people’s attention is to time-saving so there is definite interest in this product.”
Coming Out Party
During the show, the Glaston company presented a united “seeing-it-through” theme. Adjacent to the glass-processing booth, represented by the Bavelloni and Tamglass brands, ALBAT +WIRSAM was identified as an independent Glaston member, and presented its latest releases in software technology.
The company also announced that it is expanding beyond the flat glass market. “With business expanding and companies looking for new and unique ways to grow, we have a wonderful opportunity with our A&W partnership,” said Jack Van Meerbeeck, executive vice president of Glaston North America. “Together with leading equipment manufacturers, A&W has successfully introduced into the market place advanced, up-to-date cutting optimization solutions including automatic sorting and other advanced solutions in IG manufacturing. We can also look to our technology partners for products to enhance our individual manufacturing applications.”
“With ALBAT+WIRSAM we will be in a position to realize our One-Stop Partner (OSP) philosophy even more consequently as before,” said Mika Seitovirta, CEO and president of the Glaston Corp. “OSP means: One partner for complete machinery and software solutions—one sole responsible partner for your project—and numerous synergies transpire of this synthesis of multiple technologies under one single roof.”
While Glaston used the show as a forum to inform readers of new partnerships, Lauren Manufacturing, a first-time exhibitor, used it as a way to promote its strengthened commitment to door and window manufacturers.
“We know that speed to market is what gives customers a competitive edge,” said Lauren’s Sheryl Ashleman. “We’ve always made window sealants [for 42 years] but now we have a dedicated team. We can take a request and create a sample in 24 hours.”
This specialized team is comprised of engineering, polymer and manufacturing technical experts, as well as sales and marketing personnel, who will dedicate support ad service to customers through all levels of product design and engineering. “We are not a typical sealant supplier,” added Ashleman. “We work with customers to see what their needs are. We don’t deliver extra material. We give them what they need when they need it.”
According to John Ferreira, Opticut’s president, the program captures all of the measurements required to construct grilles, saving window manufacturers time and money. “Using drop-down selections, the program allows users to choose from pre-defined window styles, arrange them in the desired configuration, choose the style and shape of grills and then align windows and grills with adjacent sections,” said Ferreira. “When the design is complete, a full scale image is projected onto a work surface, allowing the user to trace the image.”
Manufacturers Go Window Shopping
Daniel Dingman, co-plant manager for BFRich, attended GBA for the first time to search for products for the company’s Wilmington, Del., plant, among those being an optimizer.
“We narrowed it to five companies while here. We will then have them all come out to our plant,” he said, and notes that at BFRich, the company chooses new products using a committee process.
But sometimes manufacturers learn helpful tips by talking to others casually on the show floor.
“We’re also looking for a copy router. Someone said to me, ‘You don’t need that, you can punch it,’” said Dingman. “He just saved me ten grand.”
Dingman added that doing so will allow the company to downsize technology and boost production.
Other manufacturers like Wayne Gorell of Gorell Windows & Doors said exhibitors offered a great selection of products.
“I could easily have taken another full day for more in-depth discussions,” he said.
Another manufacturer, Bob Pecorella of Northern Building Products, said the ability to have in-person discussions is what makes the show so valuable.
Northern Building Products finalized a deal at the show to purchase a vertical insulating glass production line from Lisec. The window manufacturer uses TruSeal’s spacers and said representatives from all three companies met several times during the show to talk about exactly what needed to be done to ensure a smooth transition when this product is implemented.
“This isn’t a piece of equipment you pick out in a catalog—we had done our research,” said Pecorella. “With this kind of big-ticket item, if this line goes down we are out of business. This show was the perfect opportunity to get everyone together for several meetings. Technology is great but it’s not the same as getting everyone together. If it wasn’t for the show we’d still be just talking about this purchase.”
While Gorell didn’t purchase a big-ticket item such as this, he said a great deal of products were of interest.
“We saw some great automation equipment at Joseph Machine’s booth, and a really neat new glass washer at Billco’s booth (the Titan—for more on these products, see above). We also saw a lot of things we may add to our options list in hardware and accessories.” Though the show was extremely productive for Gorell, he was surprised by one exhibitor category present.
“I was a little surprised at the number of window manufacturers showing, especially residential ones, as I thought the show was designed more to sell to them than to be sold by them,” he said.
A note to manufacturers who may be thinking of attending future trades show looking for equipment: “Sometimes too much technology is too much. Some companies can overbuy,” said Dingman.
Spacer Manufacturers Help Their Customers Become More Efficient
TruSeal Technologies launched its “Envirosealed Windows” campaign, which is designed to help window manufacturers and dealers sell the environmental benefits of TruSeal Dura Platform spacers. The company recognizes that an increasing number of homeowners are looking for ways to make their living spaces more environmentally friendly.
The program, which is aimed mainly at the remodeling market, has received good reviews thus far, said TruSeal’s Ric Jackson.
“The response to the concept has been overwhelming. Obviously consumers are concerned about saving energy,” he said. TruSeal president Gus Coppola said manufacturers who promote energy efficiency have a lot of opportunities.
“A lot of people are singing the blues in the housing market, but this campaign gives manufacturers a lot more opportunity,” he said. “People are more attentive to taking cost out of the plant. This is a great way for them to take advantage of the down market … This puts them in an excellent position to grow in a down market.”
Edgetech also promoted the theme of energy efficiency through the use of its spacer products such as SuperSpacer and TriSeal.
“Manufacturers can take the market by storm by pushing energy efficiency,” said Edgetech’s Erin Johnson.
With the new Energy Star® requirements coming in 2008, some window manufacturers are concerned that their products won’t meet these requirements (for related story, see page 20).In fact, Johnson said Edgetech has received numerous calls in the last month from companies who are asking Edgetech to help them build an efficient window that will meet the new requirements.Technoform’s Greg Decker echoes these sentiments.
“One customer stopped by today and said ‘this is what I want to do [in terms of energy efficiency], but how do I get there?’” said Decker.
“We provide full-service support in incorporating energy efficiency into a window,” said Technoform president Mark Silverberg. “That is what sets us apart.”
“Energy efficiency is at the core of what we do,” said Decker, who warns manufacturers that the energy regulations in the United States will get tighter and tighter.
Missed the Show?