Volume 40, Issue 12 December 2005
Saying it Like It Was
by Ellen Giard
In 1999 the interGLASSmetal/Fenestration World (iGm/FW) show in Atlanta was the event’s best-attended year. There were 5,000 in attendance, 280 exhibitors and 25 seminars. Having shifted its focus to better target the door and window industry, iGm/FW exhibitors and attendees alike that year were all pleased. The shows in the years that followed received similar reactions—even in 2001, which took place just weeks after 9/11.
This year, however, things were different. The event took place November 1-3 at the brand new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Fewer than 100 companies exhibited. As far as attendees, the presence was scarce. There were no long registration lines and no swarms of people in the aisles. Some said if the show continued on that same path they planned to not ride out the three full show days.
The second morning saw a small buzz of attendees, but by lunchtime, that, too, had faded. Toward the end of the second day a few exhibitors entertained themselves by tossing a small football around in the aisles; others packed up, tore down and headed home.
The last morning of the show saw a solemn start. Scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., many of those who stayed for the duration began tearing down before the show’s end time. At 12 p.m. precisely, show workers began pulling carpet and booths came down. The show was over—two hours sooner than its originally promoted end time.
What Went Wrong?
For an event that was once considered the North American glass equipment trade show to dwindle down to a mere shell of a show, you have to stop and wonder why. Many felt the move of NGA’s 40-year old show from the spring to just weeks before iGm/FW meant exhibitors could no longer participate in both, but had to choose one.
Industry veteran Marcel Bally of Bystronic Inc. shared his perspective on the situation.
“Years ago iGm/FW was the proud and premier North American exhibition for machinery companies, such as Bystronic, and had the advantage of being held every other year in the fall, opposite the glasstec show in Düsseldorf, Germany, rather than the less convenient NGA show in the spring. Bystronic, as well as most other machinery companies, exhibit generally only at one event; economics and available resources would not permit to dance at every wedding. So, until 1999, Bystronic was a loyal iGm/FW exhibitor.”
Bally continues, “The [show] dynamics somehow made more and more companies gravitate toward NGA. Bystronic was not immune to this trend and in 2001 we exhibited only at the NGA show. But in 2003 we went back to iGm because the timing of our new product introduction dictated participation at an event held in the fall. Though that was a good show for Bystronic, it was, to a large extent, due to the absence of all of our competitors. Now that the NGA show [GlassBuild America] has moved from the spring to the fall, the decision was unavoidable to go with GlassBuild, rather than with iGm.”
While the number of attendees may have been minimal, some exhibitors still found the show worthwhile.
“Despite the dismal attendance figures, Sika focused on the quality and not the quantity of leads generated,” said Greg Moran, market field manager for Sika Industry, Industrial Business Unit. “We had also scheduled meetings with some key accounts so the purpose of visiting Boston was multiple. The attendees we spoke to were local [to the region], i.e., from the East Coast and some from Canada.” Moran added that since the volume of traffic was light they could get to know those who came by the booth better.
Sika exhibited in a new booth design that featured customer applications and specific products for the fenestration market. Targeted applications included Sikaflex adhesives for use in high-performance impact applications, SikaSil 100-percent silicone products, SikaFast acrylic adhesives, and a new installation product lineup that included the SikaPlan SAF100 self-adhered flashing, Sikaflex polyurethane installation sealants, SikaBoom expanding foam, Sika backer rod and Sika glass and surface cleaner.
IGE Solutions Inc. also exhibited, occupying the largest booth space at the show. According to Michael Spellman, president, while the show was not well attended, they still managed to meet new contacts.
“Some of these meetings made us feel a bit better about the large investment that we made in this show,” he said.
A number of new product innovations were displayed and demonstrated in the company’s booth. Included was the new Forvet Francesca 16M with milling that can produce 10- and 12-mm frameless shower doors in less than four minutes. “Three minutes, 57 seconds to be exact,” said Spellman. “This was a highlight for many. We also had a video of the Francesca 32 M with milling producing two separate frameless shower doors in a little over two minutes for two doors simultaneously fabricated. That fabrication cycle adds up to about 400 to 500 frameless shower doors per eight hours.
Also from IGE Solutions were machines from the Chinese company Fushan. Spellman said these, too, were well received.
“We had one of our horizontal washers, a straight line and shape beveller, a small 5-spindle edger and videos [showing] our new furnaces, including our new bent tempered line and our new patented convection, one to three bay tempering furnaces,” said Spellman.
Those taking part in iGm/FW also had the option of attending several seminars (The seminar program had been organized by USGlass magazine). There were a variety of discussion topics on the agenda. John Baker of the Sandler Sales Institute led a seminar titled “How to Get More Sales than you Ever Dreamed Possible.” The seminar offered tips and advice on utilizing available resources, already in place, to help increase profit.
Valerie Block of DuPont talked about how the glass industry can benefit from green building design. Her presentation covered changes in building and energy codes and the “green” opportunities available to glass companies.
Providing the “Laminated Glass 101” lesson was Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia, who covered the properties, benefits and applications for which laminated glass can be used.
The most controversial seminar was the point-counterpoint debate between Jim Benney, executive director for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum and Glass over the NFRC’s proposed non-residential certification and rating program.
The debate began with Benney, who provided an overview of what the NFRC is and why he feels it is an important organization. He stressed that the NFRC is not a trade association, but is a 501c(3) organization that is “dedicated to serving the public and satisfying the needs of private sector partners …”
Benney explained that NFRC’s standards and its product certification program have addressed commercial applications since 1991 and in 1999 the group developed its current site-built program. Now, NFRC is working on developing a new method for rating and certifying products used in commercial applications, which it is calling a Component Modeling Procedure.
The procedure requires that a responsible party, “sign off” on the project that it meets the requirements.
Perilstein’s presentation followed Benney’s opening remarks.
“I agree with a lot of what Jim said,” began Perilstein. He said he believed, that as an industry, development of a whole system product calculation for fenestration performance is vital. “What we’re against is the money. What we disagree with is NFRC’s apparent attempt to profit from third-party verification on the calculation for a whole system fenestration performance.”
The obstacle Perilstein cited in this regard involves the action of the NFRC board of directors. Perilstein said the structure of the NFRC’s board and its bylaws give board members ultimate authority over the efforts and recommendations of task groups and subcommittees (see related article on page 58).
Perilstein also said that the NFRC’s board of directors “continues to grossly oversimplify and manipulate the facts,” including how it “protects” itself by its 501c(3) status.
Benney responded, “The 501c(3) status is often misunderstood. We are not a trade association; we are here to benefit the public, not the industry. Members of these groups don’t get much say. The board is responsible for making sure NFRC meets its mission: the public needs. They [the public] need to know they are getting what they are buying.”
Perilstein again commented that he opposes the fact that [the program] will be costly for the “responsible party,” which will likely be the glazing contractor. While he agrees that the whole system calculation can be a valuable design tool for all stakeholders, he feels that the validation and certification portions of the program are not necessary and only add cost to the program.
Benney responded that a “paper trail,” which comes from the validation, certification and inspection, is necessary to confirm the performance of the system used on a building’s design and construction.
“The line in the sand is the third-party certification,” he said. “I just don’t see where we need the last two steps.”
What’s next for the competing shows? As iGm/FW 2005 came to its conclusion, there was talk and wonder among exhibitors if there would be another show. No dates or location have been announced in regard to iGm/FW 2007. NGA, meanwhile, has also raised its booth prices for GlassBuild America by 23 percent for next year (see box at left).
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