Volume 34, Number 5, May 1999

 

Changes Abound at the NGA Show

by Tara Taffera

The word new seemed to accurately describe the events surrounding the National Glass Association’s (NGA) annual convention held April 6 to 9 in Atlanta, GA. New show days, new exhibit hours, a deluge of new products, and the new lack of a strong auto glass presence were all part of the show.

According to the NGA, approximately 350 exhibiting companies and 5,500 attendees were at the event, in which the exhibits and seminars were held Wednesday through Friday, as opposed to the previous Thursday through Saturday show days. Additionally, exhibit times were extended an extra hour each day.

Kicking it Off

While some of the events surrounding the NGA show were new occurrences, two awards presented at the opening ceremony have been around for a few years. The Maury Award was given to Richard Kirkhart of C.R. Laurence Inc. When accepting this honor, Kirkhart kept his acceptance speech brief but thanked those in the industry who helped him get his start.

Carl Jolliff, president of Jolliff Glass in Peoria, IL, and past president and founder of the Independent Glass Association (IGA) was awarded the Award for Community Service. The award was presented to Jolliff to honor his career and his tireless efforts in protecting the interest of independent glass companies against the onslaught of large chains and networks. Jolliff was recently instrumental in the creation of industry-wide auto glass replacement safety standards, a feat many said was impossible given the diverse interest such a standard needed to accommodate.

The award was presented to Jolliff by Frank Archinaco, president of the glass group of PPG Industries. "Carl is the perfect example of who we should aspire to," said Archinaco.

When accepting his speech Jolliff, like Kirkhart, turned the focus from himself to others. "I want to honor the industry we serve particularly those independent glass companies that continue to work hard against incredible odds, that continue to innovate and percolate ideas and strategies with intelligence and business acumen worthy of those running the largest chains, and who . . . will continue to survive and then thrive for years to come. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise," said Jolliff.

Following the award presentations, Joe Gibbs, former coach of the Washington Redskins and owner of a NASCAR Winston Cup Race Team, offered the keynote address. Gibbs began his speech with humorous stories from his days on the sidelines to his stint as a sports announcer. Following Gibbs’ football tales, he offered some valuable advice for attendees which included guidance for working as a team, pleasing the customer, defining goals and rewarding employees.

New Product Offerings

The perception from many exhibitors was that booth traffic at the show was slower than previous years. Some attributed this to the show days, which made it difficult for employees to leave their businesses.

While traffic was often slow at many of the booths, the exception to this rule was C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. of Los Angeles. No matter what the time of day, this was one site with a steady flow of visitors. Many people stopped to see the demonstration of the AMZ1 diamond glass drilling machine with variable speed control.

LCN® division of Ingersoll-Rand Company of Princeton, IL, introduced a new door closer. The Quest™, which has a streamlined look, featured a peel-and-stick installation process that the company says reduces installation time by 50 percent. The system works by a template that attaches to a bracket through an adhesive. "This product redefines the way closers are being used," said LCN’s Sean Artz.

Reveo Inc. of Hawthorne, NY, held a press conference to introduce LuxVu™, which the company says represents a breakthrough in privacy window glazing. According to the company, LuxVu can be instantly switched from clear to opaque when additional privacy is required. LuxVu allows perfect viewing when clear and complete privacy when opaque. Reveo researchers created a unique cholesteric liquid crystal material and a new process for applying the material onto glass sheets. The material is sandwiched between two sheets of conventional float glass and switches from clear to opaque when a voltage is applied. According to the company, projected costs for large quantities are below $10 per square foot. "We believe the market for switchable glazing is extremely underdeveloped," said Dr. Sadeg Faris, president and CEO of Reveo.

One of the many products promoted by Sommer & Maca of Cicero, IL, was its beveled mirror overlays. According to the company, these can be used to create exciting new mirror designs or to enhance the beauty of

existing mirrors. The overlays and frame kits come in 2-, 3- and 4-inch widths, with the choice of custom corner shapes and colors. According to David Nelson, regional vice president, small leftover mirror pieces, which often times ended up in the trash, can now go into the creation of a custom mirror. "This is very attractive for glass shop owners and remodelers," he said.

Machinery Offerings

A hefty portion of the show floor was occupied by machinery companies who displayed their wares. Many of these exhibitors offered machinery demonstrations or featured new products.

Peter Lisec G.M.B.H. of Austria, revealed its new automatic vertical glass edge arris grinding (seaming) machine, which until NGA, had never been seen in the United States. The machine, with a cycle time of 9 seconds for a 3- by 3-foot sheet of glass, removes sharp edges from all four sides of cut glass sheets. The machine was designed to handle glass thicknesses of 3- to 12-mm and is easily integrated into vertical production lines, according to the company.

Hegla Corp. of College Park, GA, introduced a variety of products including its new high-speed stacker, the VSG M-33 laminated glass cutter, a compact storage system for jumbo size glass and the Optimax cutting table.

First-Time Exhibitors

Some exhibitors, like New World Aluminum of Ridgewood, NY, were new to the NGA show.

After its initial beginnings in China in 1992, New World Aluminum opened an office in New York in 1998, and according to the company, it now services all aluminum distributors in the New York area. "The turnout at our booth was unbelievable," said Joshua Borden, managing director. "I realize now that we can do more than initially expected."

Another "first-timer," was Zippy Grid, based in Salt Lake City. The company touts its storefront grid system as "an economical alternative to boring storefront." "We are a newer company and the glass industry doesn’t know about us," said Sean Williams. "We want to get the word out."

Attendee Response

A few attendees said they visited the show simply to view the various product offerings. Shawn Perrault, owner of Personal Touch Glass in Galt, CA, recently opened his business and said he was mainly looking for machinery and sealant manufacturers. "I received some good leads for machinery and I’m looking at purchasing some equipment," said Perrault. "But, I was surprised there were no sealant companies there."

Stace Overley, president of Westshore Glass and Mirror Inc. in Holland, MI, said he attended the show to gain ideas for his business, which focuses primarily on custom mirrors and shower doors. "I did not get a whole lot of ideas from this show," said Overley. "I probably would not attend again. Instead, I would attend a regional show."

Foreign Delegation

While NGA is primarily a U.S. show, a few individuals noticed a growing international presence.

"We are seeing a lot of the international market, including Mexico and Puerto Rico," said Ken Holbrook of Columbia Commercial Building Products in Rockwall, TX. "I think many of those guys are having to branch out and find other suppliers." Randy Williams of Coral Industries in Tuscaloosa, AL, agrees. "There seems to be a lot of people from the Caribbean areas," he said. "That should be very good news in two years when the show goes to Miami."

Seminars

In addition to the exhibits, the show offered a variety of educational seminars covering topics such as OSHA guidelines, energy-efficient windows, trends in commercial glazing systems, advertising and website promotion, safety training and more.

Don Shelly of the The Construction Group LLP out of Denver, spoke about Preparing for the New Century: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges for the Architectural Industry. Although not very well attended, the seminar offered a wealth of valuable information.

A good part of the discussion revolved around understanding the new workforce—Generation X. Over the next 30 years the age of people over age 65 will increase to more than 40 percent of the population, said Shelly. Workforce recruitment and retention are concerns for the future.

According to Shelly, to be successful in the 21st century six items need to be addressed. One: Be Opportunistic! Second: Look at the world through your client’s eyes. Third: Consider the three critical factors in the future—relationships, relationships, relationships. Fourth: Embrace technology. Fifth: Develop the next generation workforce one person at a time. Sixth: Focus on profitability instead of sales.

Auto Glass–Mixed Message

Of the many seminars offered, the conference included a respectable number of auto glass seminars, covering both the repair and replacement sides of the industry. Yet, the number of auto glass exhibitors and attendees seemed to be decreased. This may be due in part to the National Auto Glass Conference held each year, which for the first time last year, offered exhibits in addition to the seminars.

Glas-Weld of Bend, OR, was just one of the companies that cited booth traffic as slow, as did Duncan Systems of Elkhart, IN. "There’s just not the auto glass people here," said Sue Kantauskas of Duncan Systems. "We won’t come back next year." Kantauskas said the company will exhibit at the auto glass show and "see how that goes . . ."

While the number of attendees was not as high as some may have hoped, some auto glass exhibitors were on hand to offer a variety of new products at the show. BTB Glass and Body Shop Tools, of Candia, NH, conducted a press conference to introduce its new powered cold knife blade. The knife cuts from the outside of the vehicle and operates exclusively in the BTB WK10HD air power tool. The company also offers interior cutting blades, preventing damage to the vertical wall of the pinchweld.

Equalizer Industries of Round Rock, TX, featured a number of new products including the Ninja and cold knife loop. According to the company, the Ninja has the look and feel of a cold knife but allows the user to cut with the power of 22,000 cutting strokes per minute. The Ninja also has the ability to cut under hoods, truck lids or anything that hangs over glass.

Next year’s event will take place March 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Tara Taffera is the editor of USGlass magazine.

 

As Good As It Gets

Annual BEMA Meeting Points to Good Health of Bath Enclosure Industry

by Leslie Shaver

The only thing that may have outshone the bright sun of Atlanta during the Nat-ional Glass Association Conference, was the bright outlook shared by bath enclosure manufacturers at the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association (BEMA) annual membership meeting held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

This sentiment was best summed up by Fred Walin of AFG Industries who asked the audience if anyone had seen the Jack Nicholson movie "As Good as it Gets." As many bath enclosure professionals were scratching their heads wondering why Walin was venturing into the world of cinema in his annual report on the health of the glass industry, he delivered the key line. "Right now it is as good as gets in the glass industry."

Walin then cited many signs of strength in the glass industry today, including the high amount of glass shipped during the first quarter, strong overall economy, boom in remodeling, as well as housing starts and a relatively mild winter. In spite of the healthy climate, Walin does expect the economy to flatten out a bit. He noted that glass manufacturers, such as his company, were feeling a bit of a squeeze as manufacturer’s profitability was decreasing.

BEMA also presented its design awards to the installers who designed and installed the top enclosures less than $1500 and more than $1500. Taking home the award for the top enclosure under $1500 were Dan, Scott and Bill Rotenwald of Rex Glass and Mirror of Pittsburgh. The design featured a frameless tub by-pass using panels etched with images of Greek serving girls.

The award for top enclosure costing more than $1500 went to Wholesale Mirror and Glass of Albuquerque, NM, which is owned by Irving Uffer. Uffer is assisted by his sons Alan and Robert and Alan’s wife Susan.

The organization’s future goals were emphasized in presentations by communications director Jay Fogg and incoming president Tim Hinckley of Basco company in Mason, OH. Fogg highlighted the association’s aim to improve the market share for bath enclosures and BEMA’s secondary goals of emphasizing the advantages of bath enclosures, marketing to consumers, homeowners, hotels, motels and other markets. Hinckley spoke about the association’s solid health and the need to find more challenges. He went on to designate the association’s two-day meeting in June in Atlanta as an important date for the future of the organization. "There we can brainstorm issues for our strategic plan over the next five years."

Leslie Shaver is an assistant editor of USGlass magazine.

 

An Industry Eye-Opener

BETEC Symposium Offers Valuable Information for the Glass Industry

by Melissa Thomson Light

Codes, standards, window and security film, window installation training and much more were covered in the Glass and Windows - Energy and Security: An Industry Government Update symposium sponsored by the Building Environment and Thermal Envelope Council. Eleven different topics were covered in the all-day event held at the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta, on the Tuesday before the NGA show.

DOE Update

Barbara Sisson, associate deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, EERE Building Technology, State and Community Programs, was the keynote speaker at the symposium. Sisson discussed the DOE’s road map for the 21st century. Although still in draft form, the document is a way for people in the industry to look ahead to the year 2000 and beyond. Sisson also reported the progress of the DOE’s new peer review process. A panel of scientists have been asked to look at the validity of research in regard to energy saving windows and doors and report their findings.

Current Code and Standards Activity

Paul Beers, president of Glazing Consultants Inc. reviewed the current code and standards activity. Beers said the International Building Code (ICC) could replace the Standard Building Code, the National Building Code and the Uniform Building Code. The initial version of the new code could be published as early as 2000. The International Residential Code (ICC) would replace CABO, according to Beers. Its first draft is also scheduled to be published in 2000.

Certification and Training Program for Window Installers in Development

Larry Livermore, installation program manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association outlined the new certification and training programs currently in development for window installers. The Installer Training Advisory Committee is responsible for establishing a mission statement, writing job descriptions, developing a job analysis, creating a training outline based on job analysis and developing the training and examination. The committee came up with 409 different statements of what they thought every window installer should know, according to Livermore. These statements were then categorized by level of importance and used to develop the training and test questions.

The Installer Certification Steering Committee (ICSC) makes policy. This committee is responsible for developing the installer handbook, overseeing the program and making changes accordingly, and establishing the needs and requirements of the window installers.

Currently 28 policies have been approved, and the 200-page training manual is in its second draft, according to Livermore. Livermore said the ICSC is working with the ASTM as changes are made to the manual.

Fifty installers, contractors and committee members attended the pre-pilot program held in Stockton, CA, in December. Livermore said the feedback received from attendees was favorable.

The committees are looking at holding training for two days and providing a training manual, field reference guides and a quality control checklist to take to each job site. The field reference guides would be much smaller versions of the training manual—cheat sheets, so to speak. The quality control checklist would be a one page reminder of things to check before, during and after installation. To be eligible for training, an individual must have been in the field for at least 12 months.

Window Film vs. Security Film

Darrell Smith, committee manager of the AIMCAL Window Film Committee, attempted to dispel some of the myths related to window film and security film.

Smith stressed that window film is different from security film, although many people assume they are one in the same. The general features of window film include: a 95 percent or greater UV block, single laminate to multiple layer, solar rejection from 5 to 80 percent, several types of adhesives systems and availability in no color to full color. Features of security film are: multiple layers, a security-friendly design, specific adhesive systems and a possibility of some solar control or color.

Melissa Thomson Light is an assistant editor of USGlass magazine.


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