Volume 44, Issue 4 - April 2009

Feature

Time Again for Tampere 
Glass Performance Days are Set for June 2009 

Glass Performance Days (GPD) are here again. The biannual conference, sponsored by Glaston Corp., will be held this year June 12-15 in Tampere, Finland. The world’s largest glass technical conference will feature some 250 presentations on major industry topics and cutting-edge trends for approximately 1,000 attending glass industry specialists. 

As in the past, the contents of this year’s program are molded to reflect the most current issues affecting the industry. As such, the 2009 conference turns its focus on the interaction between builders and processors of advanced glass products and today’s rapidly expanding photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP) and thermal technologies. 

“The GPD was founded on the idea to involve the entire glass processing value chain in the envisioning of future applications for better efficiency, quality and performance of the end products,” says Jorma Vitkala, chairperson of the organizing committee. “Today we witness a demand explosion in excess of 40 percent annual growth in solar industry technologies. At the same time we know that glass is the most valuable key component in, for instance, PV panels, so the time is exactly right to intensify information exchange between glass makers, processors and the solar industry.”

As organizers are quick to point out, GPD is a hub for the international glass industry’s decision makers on every side of the industry, from machine manufacturers and glass processors to material suppliers to even architects, facade builders and those solar glass experts. For the 2007 event, participants came from 60 different countries, and more than 70 percent of them were senior managers. 

What’s in Store
The conference will open on June 12 with top political executives, as well as big names from the solar and glass industries, presenting for the opening ceremony. As before, the modular agenda offers the latest information and visions of the glass world in a condensed executive format. Two new elements have been added to this year’s program. For starters, show organizers are allowing attendees a chance to plan their networking now. Attendees can visit www.gpd.fi to link ahead of time to key professionals—whether speakers, exhibitors or other participants—who otherwise may be difficult to reach onsite. After all, GPD is known for its networking; why not start organizing your meetings for Tampere from the comfort of your home office?

In addition, this year show organizers are offering an Architect’s Forum. The forum is designed as a meeting point for specialists who design buildings and suppliers of the glass components used to build them. So if you’re looking for an opportunity to guide architects in what glass can do (see article on page 38) or be among the first to learn what’s expected out of glass from Europe’s cutting edge designers, then you’ll want to look into this year’s special forum. Topics will range from “Thinking Big with Structural Glass” to “Light in the Public Realm” to case studies on cold bent glass curtainwall or free form design.

In addition to the Architect’s Forum, specific tracks will be offered covering energy performance in buildings, technical information on a range of processing techniques, differences between local versus global markets, new products and applications, solar technology markets and applications, case studies and quality management.

To add to the available resources, the program committee also is presenting a great deal of additional technical information via the highly visual format of a poster exhibition in the expo tent. For the full schedule, visit www.gpd.fi

Hands-On Opportunities 
For attendees interested in a more hands-on experience, 20 pre-event workshops, each lasting four to eight hours, will be held June 11-12. The workshops are designed to provide participants with an opportunity to acquire more in-depth knowledge of various topics. So if an overview in a lecture hall isn’t your style, come prepared to sink your teeth into a variety of topics in a small class setting. Plus, the small size of the workshops allows for greater interaction among attendees and instructors than would be possible in those popular general sessions. 

Workshops will include topics such as the structural properties of laminated glass; coated glass applications and markets; profitability of a glass processing plant; the basics of several glass coating processes; fundamental steps in float glass processing; solar power opportunities; and much more. 

For a full list of workshops, visit www.gpd.fi/finland/workshops. The deadline for registration for the workshops is May 31.

Old-Fashioned Social Networking
While its technical program is renowned as being first-rate, GPD also is popular for organizing stellar social events that make networking and making new contacts easy. Participants always are given the opportunity to experience outstanding Finnish cuisine and traditions—under the Nordic midnight sun, no less—and GPD 2009 will be no exception. From the “get together party” on June 12, to the farewell party on June 15, conference organizers are providing every opportunity for networking. 

During the conference dinner on June 13, attendees can expect to be regaled with Finnish dishes, drinks and entertainment in a unique setting. There are additional charges for this dinner; transportation to and from the venue will be provided. In addition, show organizers cite the farewell party on June 15 as a must-attend event. When the hours are listed as 8 p.m. until sunrise, one can’t help but have high expectations—even knowing that from May to August there is daylight around-the-clock in Finland. This outdoor event will allow conference delegates to enjoy the Finnish nature as well as the sunlit summer nights. 

Visiting Tampere
The conference will take place in the glass-clad Tampere Hall, the largest congress and concert center in the region. It is located within a walking distance from the city center and all major hotels. You may want to do a bit of walking around Tampere beyond the route from the hotel to the conference, as the city sits near the Tammerkoski rapids, cited as one of the official national scenic areas in Finland; the rapids join the two great lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. Finland is, after all, the land of 200,000 lakes. The weather is mostly warm and pleasant in the middle of June, with temperatures ranging from 59–86 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings and nights may be cooler—but they’ll be bright.

During your “downtime” you may want to visit the Tampere tourist office. The staff, which provides assistance in English as well as other languages, will be able to tell you what’s going on in Tampere and the notable local sites. They also can help organize a sightseeing tour. Bike rental is available for bicycle tours in and around the city. You can learn more about their services by visiting www.tampere.fi/english/tourism

 


More Information
For more information on this event, or to register, visit www.gpd.fi. 

USG

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