Volume 45, Issue 11 - November 2010

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New Solutions for Familiar Challenges
A Review of Product Introductions at GlassBuild America
by Megan Headley and Tara Taffera

Though the themes may have been familiar—a challenging economy; a focus on energy-efficiency; and new products for retrofit and government projects—this year’s GlassBuild America, held September 14-16 in Las Vegas, did, in fact, offer a number of new solutions to attendees. A wide range of new product introductions and enhancements were presented to attendees looking for new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Glass and Metal
A handful of glass, metal and commercial window companies were on the show floor this year. Among them, Vitro America showcased its Classic Line™ architectural aluminum at the show.

“We received some very good sales leads and valuable feedback from customers on our products,” commented Alice Dickerson, director of sales and marketing. Those products included architectural aluminum entrances and framing systems designed to improve fabrication time and ease of installation. Standard finishes include clear and bronze anodized, with others available upon request or custom order.

Boyd Aluminum Manufacturing offered an array of window products in its booth geared toward the historic restoration market, as well as blast- and impact-resistant products.

“What we’re really touting in blast and impact [products] is quick delivery,” said Brad Squires.

“Blast is fueling the market,” added Boyd’s Michael Castleberry. According to Castleberry, “Blast is where impact was 12 years ago—it’s still in its infancy.”

Castleberry says that Boyd has stayed on top of this market in part because of involvement in the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), for which he is assisting in putting together an advanced blast course geared toward helping educate architects on how to spec blast products. He says being involved in the association has helped them see what’s coming in the industry.

U.S. Aluminum also was promoting the blast mitigation properties of its new product; the company had expanded its Defender Series with the addition of the BW8000 single-hung window. The high-performance window system was engineered to work with the company’s Defender Series blast mitigation storefront and curtainwall systems, with corresponding sight lines and glazing specifications.

The window features a 4 ½-inch-deep frame designed to match typical building conditions, and a pour and debridge thermally insulating frame that accepts glazing infills from 1 to 1 5/16 inches, with convenient extruded pulls at the interlock and bottom rail.

EFCO Corp. focused on energy efficiency, with four new product launches in its XTherm™ line.

“We got a lot of attention over our new hung window, which we call HX45,” said Dave Hewitt, director of sales and marketing for EFCO. “That has a 0.27 U-factor. It’s two-finish capable inside and out.” Hewitt noted, “We’re bidding a lot of that throughout the country right now and we just launched it a few weeks ago; because of that U-factor it’s getting a lot of traction, which we hoped it would because of the scenario with retrofit right now.” That scenario being the continued strength of the retrofit market, according to the bidding being seen by EFCO.

Also generating interest in the EFCO booth was the new Duracast® curtainwall pressure plate for its 5600 series. “In most of the pressure wall systems you’ve got to snap in a thermal isolator and then you put your glass in and bolt your pressure plate to hold the glass into the opening. This doesn’t do that—the pressure plate itself is the thermal break. It’s one less step to do, so all the customers seem to gravitate towards that that,” Hewitt said.

Manufacturers wanting to save on glass costs due to damage in the plant or in the field were interested in Glas-Weld’s improved version of its scratch removal system—Gforce2™. The updated version includes a center water feed, which offers more control when performing scratch removal. The company introduced two polishing compounds and a new cleaning compound, “to get out more difficult damage.” Users may add on modules, such as one for abrading and graffiti.

“Customers have been very interested in the product,” said the company’s Lori Patch. “It’s still a very simple process.”

Alternative Strategies
According to Hewitt, advances in energy performance remains among the top innovations being introduced to the industry currently.

“For fenestration companies like ours, the new things [we see] are taking aluminum to where it’s never been before by using exotic struts, T shapes, forms that are in foam … things where you’re still getting the benefit of the aluminum for the look of the grid and the historical [projects], but you’ve got all the internal components that are there to get you the numbers that are down there with wood and vinyl,” Hewitt said.

In some cases, commercial projects are achieving those numbers through alternate products such as PVC.

In its booth, REHAU provided attendees with information on its “hybrid” curtainwall, Polytec 50, which combines uPVC, steel and aluminum for strength and energy efficiency. Company representatives explain that the system takes advantage of the strength of a steel substructure, but minimizes thermal conductivity by using polymer components to isolate heat and cool elements, and provide a warm interior surface. Aluminum capping profiles in the exterior allow for a choice of architectural finishes.

Companies are looking to expand into light commercial and other applications.
—Rich Anton, Mikron

Another PVC option for the commercial came from Deceuninck. The Zendow window, which is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2011, marks the company’s entry into the commercial market. Company representatives say the system is manufactured from high-performance thermoplastic elastomers, and features a multi-functional weatherseal that is welded at the corners to provide a continuous seal. The multi-chamber frame meets and exceeds AAMA standards for performance.

Deceuninck was not the only company better known to residential door and window distributors to use the show as an opportunity to launch products for commercial applications.

“Companies are looking to expand into light commercial and other applications,” said Mikron’s Rich Anton. “We’re offering a door system that is commercially rated and that can accommodate impact glazing. It looks like aluminum but is more thermally-efficient.”

VEKA also was among those companies expanding into commercial products, with an introduction that generated a lot of interest. The new Elements™ system was designed for use in residential or commercial applications. Its 3 1/4-inch depth of frame system features a maximum 1 3/8-inch glazing pocket and allows for common shapes to be used for different operator types in both residential and commercial building applications. With the proper glazing, the system can be used in the coldest climates, in coastal and impact regions, in high traffic areas and commercial centers where sound control products are specified.

“It is also the answer to R5 and beyond,” said VEKA’s Steve Dillon.

Dillon added that the company designed the frame and sash to accommodate triple-glazed glass.

“It’s so versatile,” he said. “Yeah, it’s bigger but you can do anything with it. We already have one major customer using it and the feedback has been fantastic.”

Royal showed its EcoWindow, a complete R5 window system that combines sustainability with high energy performance, high condensation resistance and other factors. The company’s John Vucanovich reported that the system recently was tested to commercial standards so it too can be used in those applications.

“Cool” New Products
Other out-of-the-ordinary solutions were present on the show floor in response to continued interest in energy-efficiency.

Brent Slaton, national sales coordinator for Keymark Corp., was pointing fellow attendees toward Akzo Nobel’s Cool Chemistry products. These extrusion coatings contain infrared reflective pigments that increase solar reflectivity. Slaton pointed out that it was an interesting idea for making a window frame reflect heat, same as the glass, and provide an efficient whole product.

Bridgestone had something cool on display, as well: its new COOLSAFE solar control interlayer film for laminated glass. The new adhesive interlayer is made up of two layers of an EVA-based adhesive layer around a PET-based sunlight control layer with a special coating. Company representatives were quick to note that the product offers safety properties typical of laminated glass, as well as solar control, without limiting daylighting or the use of cell phones. The product can be used to laminate glass without an autoclave.

Bridgestone also showcased its EVASAFE line; representatives say the clear adhesive film features extremely high transparency; heat, humidity and UV durability; and has excellent sound insulating properties in the high frequency range.

For attendees looking for something a little “hotter,” Radiant Glass Industries had on display its new Power*e® Glass. The product on display demonstrated how the IGU conducts an electrical current across the low-E coating on the interior lite in order to produce radiant heat—with no visible wires. According to the company, the window can be washed and treated like any ordinary window, while the heat can be controlled by conventional thermostats. Company representatives reported that they received a great reception as they promoted the new product at the show.

On a related note, Saf-Glass was promoting its brand new Energy Glass for fenestration. The small PV display was using the convention center lights to power a strip of LEDs. “PV can’t work with indirect light like this does,” said Art Marino.

Although the first-generation technology at GlassBuild had a slight haze to it, Marino noted that the second generation product, being introduced at a subsequent solar show, would be fully transparent.

Shower Doors and Door Hardware Introductions
A number of new shower door products on the show floor provided new options for fabricators.

Glen Miner was pleased to show off PPG’s new Clarvista shower glass product. On display in the booth were test samples of Clarvista compared to uncoated glass products after being exposed to long-term humidity. Miner said that although it’s early yet, the product has been getting a good reception from shower door fabricators.

In addition, he said the company’s SOLARBAN® R100 glass low-E glass “met with exceptional success.” The transparent-reflective, solar control, low-E glass features a proprietary hybrid coating technology and achieves a visible light transmittance of 42 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23.

When asked “What’s new?” the representatives at Alumax were quick to respond “What isn’t?” Among the showerdoor displays at the show was the Pipeline sliders. Attendees could test for themselves the “effortlessly smooth closing” provided by the dual roller system. The unique slider system is made up of exposed rollers on a solid bar, all in stainless steel, for ½-inch glass.

Arne Klöfkorn commented that Bohle America also had received “a lot of interest, especially in the hardware section.”

That’s no surprise, as the company brought to the show its greatly expanded range of bathroom fittings. The Atlantica, Quadrato and Wellness Premium series feature the company’s patented bypass system, a continuous sealing strip that provides nearly leak-proof showering. In addition, Bohle has expanded its Barcelona and Bilbao series hinges to feature adjustable zero positioning.

Also among Bohle’s introductions was the attractive series from KL-megla, which the company has distributed in Europe for some time now. It includes the Chalet PT system, designed for swinging doors, opening in both directions, in living areas and less frequented office spaces. It features a self-closing function and is available in three options: without stops in the open position, stop in the open position at 90 degrees and stop in the open position at 85 degrees. The inconspicuous Icetec® is a sliding door system made of stainless steel for indoor use, and designed for easy installation.

For attendees who looked closely, Doralco Architectural Metal Solutions had on display what it is calling the world’s smallest glass door lock. The Slimline center lock and strike housing is 75 percent smaller than standard glass door center lock. No holes are needed in the glass for installation, and company representatives report that it is easy to install with or without sidelite rails.

Tools of the Trade
A number of machinery manufacturers brought new products to the show. Among them, Lisec America displayed a new flexible spacer applicator for processing asymmetrical triple units. The automated VSA-D1 is able to change spacer widths for triple-glazed units on the fly. Because the applicator features dual material supply, it’s able to change between two spacer widths within seconds, a feature that will allow fabricators to produce asymmetrical triple units in the shortest possible cycle time. According to Lisec president Bob Quast, the focus for the new machine was on made-to-order products.

Dan Thompson of Glaston said that the company had been “pleasantly surprised” by traffic at the show. The company was quietly introducing its new products on the heat treatment side of its business in video form, with plans for a louder launch at glasstec, the biannual German trade show that took place on the heels of GlassBuild (look for the December 2010 USGlass for more on glasstec).

Other machinery manufacturers followed that same lead; Jeff Giles, sales director, glass processing machinery, for Benteler, noted that the company would be launching a new PV sealer at the later trade show, but was content to simply maintain a presence at the Las Vegas event.

Although the machinery section of the floor was largely quiet, a number of companies offering handling tools found interest from attendees.

Edgetech IG’s Mike Burk was busy at the company’s booth showing a variety of tools for manufacturers. The company announced a new partnership with United Kingdom-based Inagas, a supplier of gas-fill machinery. Under the agreement, Edgetech will be the exclusive distributor of Inagas products in North America and Central America, and also will distribute the company’s products in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.

Edgetech also serves as the exclusive distributor of Sparklike’s Gasglass argon and krypton gas detector and Spyglass glass analyzer in the Americas, Europe and Australia.

All of these were featured in the company’s booth, as well as portable measurement tools offered by EDTM, such as low-E coating detectors and various light measurement tools.

EDTM also exhibited at the show, featuring its Glass-Chek Pro for the first time. Mark Imbrock reported that the company has added six languages to the tool, which he said is helping with worldwide sales.

“The number-one call we get is people not being able to tell the difference between double silvers—Glass Chek Pro helps with that. It’s bailing people out,” Imbrock said. “It’s been the number-one thing people have come to our booth to see.”


Show Reaction Varies Widely
Attendees’ reactions at GlassBuild were mixed. Visitors looking to be surprised by new developments from smaller companies seemed fairly pleased, while those planning to network with their large suppliers, in some cases, were disappointed.

“It’s a pretty good show,” found Greg Stowell of Clinton Glass Co. as he walked the floor. “It’s worth it if you own a glass business; there’s always something to find and you’re surprised every year by something, so it was worth it.”

However, Dave Schneider of Fusion Ceramics, pointed out that only a few of the larger national suppliers exhibited. “Occasionally there’s some type of a big buyer, and there are a few [here], but that’s been a bit of a disappointment,” he said.

“There’s always something new, you’ve just got to find it out. Usually it’s the smaller booths where you find the new stuff,” commented Curtis Smith of Royal-Tech Windows.

“And,” Smith added, “it’s a good chance to see everyone else in the industry that you only see once a year.”

More Products and More GlassBuild Coverage
The year’s big show had a number of additional highlights, too big for one review. For more information, look for the following features.
• Solar Watch: visit the Only Online section of www.usglassmag.com for a report on the solar seminar, focusing on building integrated photovoltaics, presented during the event.
• Decorative Delights: Look for the special Decorative Glass section in next month’s USGlass for a rundown of the unique and eye-catching decorative glass displays on the GlassBuild floor.
• See for Yourself: See show highlights for yourself by visiting www.usglassmag.com/studio. There you can view videos on material handling and transportation products, energy-efficiency highlights, new software products and attendee observations straight from the trade show floor.
• Showcase Spotlight: Check out the Showcase department in this (page 18) and future issues of USGlass for lots more new product information.
You can also mark your calendars for the next GlassBuild America, scheduled for September 7-9, 2011, in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Megan Headley is the editor of and Tara Taffera is a contributing editor for USGlass.

 

 

 

 


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