Volume 42, Issue 9 - September 2007

From the Fabricator
The Tradition Continues
A Few Musings Can a Column Make
by Max Perilstein 
 
It’s almost become a summer tradition for me, writing a column based on items that are important enough to be mentioned, but cannot be stretched into a full column. It’s like a virtual desk clearing and here goes …

China’s Zeal to Sell
A few years ago when I wrote my first column on the communist Chinese influence on our industry, there really was very little mainstream news on the import issue although it regarded not only our products but everything else out there. Obviously now that has changed dramatically as virtually everyday there’s another story on this issue.

If you have not read about the tires, toothpaste or pet food then I am not sure where you get your news. What is happening on these items can, and will, happen in other imported items from China just because of the zeal and desire to ship and sell in North America. If you really believe that “this won’t happen to me,” then maybe you can ask the people who bought unsafe tires or those who thought they were buying toothpaste but, sadly, got a poisonous blend. And the kicker is you have no recourse. So if your glass goes bad, who will stand behind that product? Well, good luck taking on a communist country that has little respect for our way of life. 

Product Improvement
Meanwhile sometimes lost in the other avenues we cover here is the fact that the primary glass manufacturers continue to develop new and better products all the time. We sometimes lose focus because of the regulation issues or the China scenarios, but from a glass standpoint, the products we have at our disposal today are improved tremendously from the products manufactured 15 years ago. The fact that you can now get a standard clear low-E glass with a solar heat gain in the 0.28 neighborhood is astounding to me. The other reason I bring this up is our industry gets a terrible rap from other trades and concerned parties. How much has brick improved in the last 15 years?

So while some energy consultants can take pot-shots at our industry, if they would do some research they would see the improvement on technology in the glass sector is off the charts. And, maybe instead of trying to create discombobulated ways to police us, they should work on ways to get more glass and more high-performing products into the market.

Economic Guess 
According to the veritable potpourri of industry studies now available, the commercial glass industry looks to be strong over the next few years. But I really question how they determine such numbers and the methodology they use. I mean, no one really has a good grasp on how the overall economy is going to do in the next couple of years and with a presidential election in the offing, so much can change. Believe me, I am all for the positive karma, but I really believe it has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Channeling the Blog 
Last, writing a weekly blog (see From the Fabricator via USGNN.com) has made writing this column extremely difficult. Pre-blog, I would be able to save up ideas and when my column was due, I could dig one out and go. But now, week in and week out, I use up any and all of my material online. If no one was reading my blog, then I would not waste my time, but traffic levels have been beyond pleasing and thus I feel a responsibility to keep up. The online world is really taking off. Presidents and chief executive officers are blogging and communication and information is at an all-time high. USGlass was ahead of the trend really when they built the USGlass News Network (USGNN). And when USGNN breaks big stories like the sale of Vistawall to Oldcastle, the worth to the industry is apparent. In the past, most of the industry would not hear about that until the magazine came out. So keep in touch, both in the pages of this fine magazine and online each and every day. 

the author: Max Perilstein serves as the vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. Mr. Perilstein’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. His column appears bi-monthly.


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