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
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
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
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,”
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.”
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
“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
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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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.