Volume 45, Issue 4 - April 2010

feature

Sights and Sounds

Attendees Found New Product Displays and Learning Opportunities
at Glass Expo Midwest™ 2010
by Ellen Rogers

The economy may be in a recession, but that did not stop the glass industry from taking part in Glass Expo Midwest 2010. In fact, some said they recession made it more important than ever to be a part of the show.
“Despite the economic conditions it’s still important to be here and let customers know that we are still a viable supplier,” said Rob Styka of Engineered Glazing Systems in Merrillville, Ill. “Despite the concerns in the marketplace, we are expanding and hiring and getting ready for the recovery.”

The two-day event brought industry news, education, new products and networking opportunities, all designed specifically for the glass and glazing industry. Exhibitors showcased some of their latest developments, while a seminar program kept attendees aware and informed about some of the changes and developments that have been taking shape in the industry. The event, co-sponsored by USGlass magazine, took place March 16-17 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

 

Glass Products
Styka was not the only exhibitor to feel that taking part in the event was important. Many others were on-hand with an assortment of products and services.

Pilkington, for example, showcased its Solar E products, now available on different tints, such as gold. Sharon Urban, marketing and communications specialist for the company’s building products division, said that this summer the company also plans to add evergreen to the color mix.

PPG also exhibited and featured its Pacifica and Solarblue products, which the company’s Chris Holmes said were available in a wide range of tints.

Dlubak of Blairsville, Pa., featured its forced-entry and detention lines, including glass-clad polycarbonate and all polycarbonate products. Both feature a urethane interlayer that is designed to create a high-strength bond.

Elmont Glass, based in Garden City, N.Y., displayed a number of glass products, including switchable privacy glass, radiant heat glass and fidelity sound glass, which company president Glen Greenberg explained, “makes the glass become the speaker.”

Other products from Elmont included variable tint glass and switchable mirror.

“We customize the product to fit customers’ doors and windows,” Greenberg said.

 

Green and Other Colors
New patterns and colors were featured by Glass Craft & Mirror of Wixom, Mich. Jessica Tokman, a designer with the company, explained that decorative glass products are popular among their product lines, which also includes carved, slumped and painted glass.

Decorative glass products also were featured by GlasSource of Grand Haven, Mich. In addition to offering 35 decorative patterns, the company recently began offering backpainted glass as well.

“It is a water-based paint, so this is a totally green product,” said Josh Leonard, a regional sales manager.

Energy efficiency and sustainability were themes for Austell, Ga.-based YKK AP, which offered information on a number of its new products at the show. Tom Minnon said the YOW 350 XT—an extra thermal window—has seen a lot of interest.

“This is the direction the industry is going,” he said. The architectural-grade window is designed to ensure high performance and operation with thermal resistant properties.

In addition YKK also featured its unitized curtainwall system.

“This is becoming very popular in major metropolitan areas and it helps minimize field labor,” Minnon said.

 

Hardware and Software
A number of exhibitors also featured new hardware products, including JLM of Oxford, Mich. Mary Hester said the company’s newest product was the Trine electric strike.

“The glaziers love it because they don’t have to cut the frame to install it,” Hester said.

First-time exhibitor Seaside Frameworks of Dunedin, Fla., introduced its storefront and curtainwall design software, a completely automated solution that the company’s Rick Miner said has bidding, drawing and fabrication capabilities. He said the software has been well received because it eliminates the need to drill by hand.

 

Learning Opportunities
When not walking the show floor, attendees had a chance to stay up-to-date on the industry by participating in a number of different seminars.

Lou Cerney of MTH Industries talked about innovative glazing projects, including The Ledge, located on the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago.

“The owners wanted to do something unique to attract visitors to the tower,” Cerney explained.

The Ledge features 6,500 pounds of glass, 8,700 pounds of framing system and was designed for 125-mile-per-hour wind speeds. (See the October 2009 USGlass, page 40, to read more about this project.)

Providing a review of economic trends, Michael Collins of Jordan, Knauff and Co. also spoke during the event.

“Everything you hear on the news [about the economy] works it’s way into your business, so it’s important that you understand what’s going on,” he said, and provided five reasons why slow growth is likely in 2010:

1. Jobless recovery: based not on employee growth, but the hiring productivity of the people a company has; this is the same jobless recovery track of 1991-2001;

2. Rising saving rates: this is not necessarily great for the economy, because it means people are not spending as much;

3. Continued excess supply in the housing market;

4. Small businesses are suffering as there are tighter bank lending standards for them; and


5. “Moral suasion” as governments are starting to twist arms on why banks are not lending.

But some good news, Collins noted, is that the impact of the Stimulus plan will last through 2011.

“Also, strong growth abroad will lift U.S. exports and earnings,” Collins said.

The first-time homebuyers tax credit also has been a positive point. Collins reported that according to the National Association of Realtors about 35,000 of the 1.8 to 2 million buyers claimed the tax credit last year.

Minnon also gave a presentation during the event, which focused on energy codes and LEED.

The presentation covered the different LEED rating system categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design and regional priority.

There are a number of ways, Minnon explained, that glass and glazing systems can help a project earn LEED points. Sunshades, for example, might help a project earn points in the on-site renewable energy category. Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) also fall within this category. Minnon used his own home as an example, having just added BIPV panels last year (see the June 2009 USGlass, page 20, to read more about this project).

“The meter on my house is running backwards, right now,” said Minnon of the installation.

Russ Huffer, chief executive officer of Apogee Enterprises, also spoke about BIPV and achieving zero energy systems. He pointed out that Apogee, in fact, “spent millions of dollars trying to develop solar panels, but [we found] it wasn’t right and that project has been abandoned,” he said. Looking toward zero energy, Huffer stressed the importance of understanding the values delivered by these systems.

“Why zero energy? Because commercial buildings generate half of all electricity used. Not only that, they are extremely inefficient,” Huffer said. “Let’s simplify the problem. Glass and metal systems transcend, absorb and reflect energy, so a low-E coating is a mirror to long-wave energy efficiency. For most systems this can be calculated and measured very accurately. We know how much energy is coming in on a hot day and leaving on a cold day,” said Huffer. “Solar energy accounts for most heat gain through our systems to the inside of the building; air conditioning is the primary cost for most buildings.”

He also noted, “We want the glass to compete for use in zero energy buildings … our designs have to compete aesthetically and designs have to compete economically. And the real measure of energy performance is how much is needed to mitigate the heat gain and loss caused by our systems.”

Huffer continued, “All things considered, what we’re already doing—dual-glazed systems, low-E coatings, etc.—is better than BIPV. We’re headed in that [BIPV] direction, but we can’t get there with today’s technology because the payback is so long,” he said, adding, “PV panels lose 1 percent of their output every year.”

Specialty Programs
In addition to the glass-industry-focused programs, Glass Expo Midwest also included sessions designed specifically for fenestration manufacturers and architects. Fenestration Day™, organized by DWM, a sister publication of USGlass, took place March 16 and covered a variety of topics. Some of the sessions included a panel discussion titled “Specific Steps to Take Toward Being Green,” and an update from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Marc LaFrance. LaFrance focused on the DOE’s activities including the much talked-about R5 windows volume purchase program.

In addition to Fenestration Day, the Architects’ Educational Forum, organized by the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal, also a USGlass sister magazine, took place March 17. Presentations, included discussions of coated glass by the Glass Association of North America; Sustainable Glazing and the LEED® Green Building Rating System from YKK AP; and How Structural Silicone Spacers Contribute to Sustainable Window Design from Edgetech I.G.

 

Good Experience
Attendees who took part in this year’s event agreed that the experience was worthwhile and beneficial.

John Kachnik, manager of Fox Valley Glass in St. Charles, Ill., said he chose to attend to learn about what’s new in the industry.

“Walking the floor, I visited every booth to see what [the companies] were offering and also did a lot of networking,” said Kachnik. “I got a lot of good feedback and I’m in discussions now with some of the vendors there.”

Mark Pritikin, president of Creative Mirror and Shower in Addison, Ill., said six people from his company attended the event.

“We like attending the regional shows and this was a great opportunity to inteact with the vendors,” Pritikin said. “I think some vendors make the mistake of not going to [these shows] because of the economy, but this is not the time to be cutting back [on marketing].”

And in addition to the trade show and seminar learning opportunities, attendees also found time to relax and network during the opening night cocktail party on March 16. Taking place the day before St. Patrick’s Day, attendees enjoyed Irish fare and drinks, while also taking in the sounds of the Wright Street band, whose members even include some familiar faces from the glass industry.

 

Ready for Next Year?
Plans are currently in the works for Glass Expo Midwest 2011. Look to USGlass magazine for news and announcements about the event as they are made available.

Ellen Rogers is a contributing editor for USGlass magazine.


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