Volume 10, Issue 9 - November/December 2009

Industry Expresses Optimism at Recent Show
Manufacturers Looking to Differentiate Themselves
by Tara Taffera


"People are ready to buy.
We’ve sold more machines at this show than in the past ten years.
People are looking for new product ideas and innovation."


The above are all comments from industry suppliers made at the recent GlassBuild America Show held in Atlanta September 30-October 2. They were made by those representing various sides of the supply chain: an extruder; Royal Groups’ Brent Schott; a machinery supplier; Urban president Volker Lamprecht; and a spacer supplier, Glasslam president Steve Howes. Others at the show also expressed similar sentiments, perhaps providing hope that the industry is on its way out of the downturn.

Machinery
Machinery suppliers have suffered greatly in this economy. Many manufacturers have been hesitant to make big purchases in tough economic times and some fenestration companies have gone out of business so there has been a great amount of equipment on the auction block in which many companies were interested. But according to Chris Cooper from Joseph Machine Co., this glut of used equipment is finally starting to dwindle and manufacturers are looking to purchase some new equipment.

“We’re kind of getting back to old buying cycles,” says Cooper. “The old equipment out there is getting down to the bare minimum now.”

Cooper adds that he expects some manufacturers to make some purchases in the fourth quarter.

“With the down economy we’ve taken the time to improve and develop new products,” he says.

This includes a new line of custom and standard fabrication machines. According to the company, the products are available in custom or standard options and can be used for aluminum or PVC manufacturing.

Erdman Automation showcased its new hand-assist glazing table, which features a servo-control system utilizing the company’s fluid metering technologies. This provides a consistent diameter bead of sealant to products at speeds up to 30 inches per second. This machine control allows any operator to apply a properly proportioned bead of sealant, according to the company.

While some companies offered new products, other companies reported renewed interest in existing products now that the industry is picking up. This is the case with American Renolit’s FAST system, which offers the capability to add wood grains on the interior of vinyl and solid cherry on the exterior.

“We’ve been seeing expanded sales even in the downturn,” says David Harris.

Harris explains that the system can be used by various parts of the supply chain including extruders and manufacturers. In fact, a large window manufacturer recently signed on to use the system in all of its plants.

In other cases there were new takes on an existing product that garnered a lot of interest. This was the case with Wakefield Equipment’s newly designed shipping rack for IG, low-E or tempered glass, according to the company’s Owen Cleary. He says each rack is custom designed and has a unique patented clip system that secures the units in place. For the larger pieces of glass, the customer can request another set of fasteners to add an extra level of security.

“Customers’ needs are changing and we can change and give them what they need,” says Cleary.

Hardware Offerings
Hardware suppliers also had some new products to show. Truth Hardware unveiled skylight offerings that included the Sentry II power window and skylight system and the Marvel operating system. Truth’s Matt Kottke says the Marvel is simple to operate and that one remote can operate four banks of skylights.

He adds that the company’s new patio door handle design is so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet, and that the product received some great reviews from manufacturers in attendance.

Hardware supplier Interlock also unveiled several new products including a screen to be used with folding door systems.

“These systems are very popular but there are a few challenges such as finding a solid, reasonably priced screen,” says company president Axel Husen.

The Hemisphere Folding Door Solution is a new locking system and screen solution to complete the company’s folding door systems, he says.

The pleated screen spans openings of up to 15 feet wide with a single unit and no support bars are required. Additionally, the screen offers a smooth operation and installation is simple.

“We can double the opening by simply using two screens that would meet in the middle of a 30-foot opening,” he says.
“When not in use, it sits neatly tucked away in the corner.”

If manufacturers were looking for multi-point locks, Paddock had a variety of offerings to show attendees. Paddock’s Jon Walker says the company is the largest manufacturer of multi-point locks in the United Kingdom and has expanded into the United States.

“We have taken an existing product and modified it for North America,” says Walker. He adds that the locks have an anti-slam mechanism and can be used with any handle set from a variety of suppliers.

Jeld-Wen’s Ray Garries was at GlassBuild America and says he was pleased to see that many suppliers had new hardware options designed around the codes, including window opening control devices (WOCD) (For more on WOCD, see October DWM, page 6), One such supplier includes Vision Hardware. In fact, its sales literature states, “Operation: Safety, Mission: Accomplished. ASTM F 2090 Window Opening Control Devices.”

The company’s 1761 device provides an ASTM F 2090 solution for vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum manufacturers. For the wood and composite manufacturer Vision offers the zinc die cast 1764 and 1765 device to meet the standard.

Spacer Suppliers Step Up
With an increased emphasis on energy efficiency, manufacturers are looking more than ever for energy-efficient solutions, and the spacer suppliers were there to support them whether through materials or new products.

“People here are definitely making decisions,” says Edgetech IG’s director of marketing Erin Johnson.

Many of those decisions are centered around energy efficiency. One of things the company offers that can be helpful to manufacturers is its updated IG certification manual which now includes certification procedures and Energy Star® requirements for both the United States and Canada.

“The IG Certification Manual has been a popular download on our website because of its unbiased and useful information regarding the many changes in our industry,” says Johnson.

In the United States manufacturers must certify their products before the July 1, 2010 deadline established by the National Fenestration Rating Council and the U.S. Department of Energy. There is much concern that the limited number of test labs will become overcrowded, making it difficult for manufacturers to certify in time, according to Edgetech.

The company’s other big announcement is that its enhancements to its Super Spacer® products that provide lowered U-values and improved condensation resistance. These enhancements are incorporated into Super Spacer Standard, Premium, Premium Plus, nXt™ and TriSeal™.

“The enhanced products are already being shipped, and customers can expect to receive the immediate benefits without having to recertify their IG,” says Larry Johnson, executive vice president, Edgetech I.G.

According to Edgetech, third-party testing showed that the entire Super Spacer product line now offers up to 36 percent lower thermal conductivity numbers, providing the warmest edge of glass available.

Glasslam showed a variety of products but the company’s Matt Hale says the big focus was on its SmartEdge system which “allows manufacturers to never waste any hot-melt butyl.” The company describes it as a one-step product that offers an innovative and practical warm-edge offering.

Truseal unveiled its new Envirosealed Windows Advantage program (for more on that see below box *), which allows manufacturers to produce an economical R5 window.


*Watch New Products in Action
For video coverage of the show, visit www.dwmmag.com and click on the Studio; then click on the October DWM newscast. The following companies are featured and viewers can watch the products in action:

• GED Integrated Solutions: ColorTRU decorative foil bonding system;

• Bystronic/Sashlite: Sashline;

• Interlock: new Impulse magnetic sash lock;

• Truseal: Envirosealed Windows Advantage program; and

• Mikron: EnergyCore Window System.



“We can get you there today,” says Truseal president Gus Coppola, who adds that the new package is a triples program.

Additionally, Besten’s new Tape 1500 machine has a program written in that allows manufacturers to make a high volume of R5 windows.

Besten has added a triples option to its automated TAPE MT1500 IG production line, enabling IG fabricators to produce between 650 and 750 triple IG units per shift on a single line. It enables high-capacity dual-glazed or triple-pane IG unit production via a parallel glass processing and spacer application on a horizontal bed.

Truseal’s new Envirosealed program was designed to be used with a new product by Mikron—its new EnergyCore window system (for more on this, see above box *).

“Response to this product has been excellent,” says Mikron’s Rich Anton. “People see it as the next-generation window system.”

And Mikron wasn’t the only extruder rolling out new products. Chelsea Building Products showcased windows it designed for the Sashlite program (for more on Sashlite and its partnership with Bystronic glass, see above box *).

Chelsea’s Terry Abels says the company also introduced four to five new platform products for new construction or replacement applications.

“These can all be produced using one processing line which is different than what others offer,” he says.

The company also offers composite stiffeners which offers increased strength in PVC and is weldable.

The Royal Group unveiled its NuGrain Advanced Woodgraining Technology which creates a 3-D look on the interior of vinyl and looks like real wood.

“We’ve had a phenomenal response to the product,” says Schott.

Software
Several software suppliers were at the show as well and many made big news.

NetApps ID has rebranded the company as 360 innovations and says it now offers an integrated solution for all sides of the supply chain. Its new product, 360, is available module to module or as one complete package and targets manufacturers of all sizes.

SureFire introduced a new web-based product earlier this year.

“We have about 280 customers now and it’s really catching on,” says Richard Schilke, president.

Finally, there are now two fewer software suppliers in the industry as Friedman Corp. has purchased Windflite, provider of the WinSys system, at the end of July. And the day before GBA began, on September 28, Friedman acquired PMC Software.

Stay tuned to future issues of DWM for more products from GlassBuild.



DWM

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