Volume 13, Issue 8 - October 2012
AGC The Next 100 Years
DWM: What are your specific goals for AGC
in the North American market?
DWM:What do you see as the biggest problems facing
In terms of creativity and approach to the market, there is an opportunity for the industry to reinvent itself and part of that can be quality. There is still room to open the eyes of the final customer to the quality of the glass product and to differentiate more on quality …
DWM: There are a number of companies that
have closed or filed for bankruptcy in recent months and years. How do
you deal with that when those are your customers that unfortunately are
closing their doors?
The other piece is that we have customers with whom we’ve worked for years and, within the framework of what we can do within our credit policy, we’ve tried to help them and support them as much as we can. We understand that market situations are temporary as well. We try everything we can, and not just in terms of credit—it can be in terms of marketing support, it can be in terms of new products …
DWM: What are your thoughts on the economic recovery
in terms of the residential market? What do you think is ahead for 2013?
We think residential is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we think commercial is seeing the bottom of the market
DWM: On the residential side we have heard a
lot of discussion concerning the use of a coating on surface four of the
glass. There seems to be some disagreement as some window companies says
they won’t use a coating on surface four as it could cause condensation
resistance. Do you have any thoughts on this and are you doing any education
to your customers regarding this option and why it may or may not be a
We see a misconception from people who do not use it, but customers who are using that solution are very happy with it. I think what we are seeing is [some] people not willing to change the way they approach things versus others who will embrace the change and see positive results. I think that it’s more resistance to change, rather than technical problems.
Basically, the type of product and coating we use for surface four at AGC is extremely durable. In fact, the type of coating ismore durable and tougher than the uncoated glass surface. Companies are not as much concerned with the durability–but more with the risk of condensation, but practical experience in the field shows us that it is a non-issue. (Center of glass temperature is approximately 4 degrees fahrenheit warmer than clear on clear… which has been installed in the industry for more than 25 years without any problems.)
DWM: Do you have any growth plans related to the
residential side of the business?
The industry, because they’re resistant to change or reluctant to change, try to push that, but we really believe it when we say that programs and codes have to be based on good science. This is a trend that people won’t be able to push back on forever so we’re going to see less standardization and more customization.
There are two major aspects of potential in the North American residential market which may be related. These are sound insulation and acoustics and security and prevention. Those are two aspects on which windows in the residential market are too weak today.
It starts with a good airtight window, of course, but then after that the glass can do a lot to improve those two aspects, especially in terms of acoustics. If we were to look at the acoustic performance of a window made of two pieces of single-strength glass, it’s really not a good performer in terms of sound insulation. It’s not that bad and it’s not a problem in rural areas, but real progress could be made in condominiums or urban environments where those technical solutions exist. I think it’s one of the features people have not insisted on enough.
But there’s a first step, which is let’s address the energy and environment piece. Once we’ve made significant breakthroughs there, addressing those additional needs that matter to people in terms of comfort and/or security will come to the forefront as well. This could be a second wave of improvement in the residential segment from a product standpoint. It probably will have as much appeal, if not more, to the remodeling market as opposed to new housing. Typically in the remodeling the owner or end user is buying his own windows and he’s more sensitive to the product he’s getting instead as opposed to buying a turnkey house from a builder. So that’s probably the segment where we will see that starting to happen first.