Sights and Sounds
Attendees Found New Product Displays and
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 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.
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
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
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
“We customize the product to fit customers’ doors and windows,” Greenberg
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
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.
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,”
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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