What a year. That’s what comes to mind as I sit here and think about 2017. What a year. There has been so much negativity and disturbing news, particularly of late with account after account of sexual harassment cases. I mean, if you’ve ever had aspirations of making it big in Hollywood, now may be the time to go for it because there’s a ton of job openings. Good grief. Worldwide events aside, let’s take a look back and think about what 2017 brought for the glass industry. What were some of our industry’s defining moments? Here’s a quick list of five that I came up with.
Big Glass, Big Business. What else is there to say? Everyone wants it and more and more companies are offering it. It’s a subject we’ve covered often over the past year, not only in print, but also in our USGNN™ e-newsletter as well as in video coverage. As an example of what’s possible, just look at the sedak-supplied glass panels surrounding the new Apple campus, which measure 46 feet long and more than 10 feet tall. This project is just the start of what we can expect to see more of in the future.
Safety First. The increasing demand for jumbo-sized glass panels has also opened up a whole new market and audience for equipment and machinery designed to move and install it. As the sizes get bigger, it’s increasingly challenging to lift, move and handle the glass. The right equipment is a must to help ensure a safe, smooth and efficient installation.
Help Wanted. The lack of and need for qualified construction workers is something we’ve talked about and heard about and read about for years. I’m almost 18 years into my time here with USGlass, and I’m pretty sure I was writing about labor struggles back then. But it seems now more than ever this has become super serious. There was a time when high schools offered vocational training and courses and it’s not happening like it used to. Tie this in to the fact that as the construction workforce gets older and ultimately retires, we’re left with a lot of job openings and no skilled labor. It’s an issue that must be addressed.
Laminated Glass Works. Ok, yes, we know this. You’ve probably seen videos of impact testing or witnessed it for yourselves. But after Hurricane Irma we saw that the damage from glass breakage and open building envelopes was less than what would have been expected. In many Miami buildings, designed and built to the stringent codes, impact-resistant glazing did its job and the building envelopes remained closed. This was a reminder that the codes do matter and properly designed and installed building envelopes do work.
Driverless Cars? As I write this, GM has just announced its driverless cars; of course the subject has been discussed for years. There’s at least a handful of TED Talks on the subject here. Whether or not this is your thing or you just like the acceleration and feel of the steering wheel grasped in your hands, I think there’s a lot of opportunity, such as fewer traffic accidents and fatalities. And as Michael Robinson, CEO and design director of ED Design srl, said during Glass Performance Days (GPD) this past summer, a move to driverless cars opens up more opportunities to increase the amount of glass used in automobiles. Could you imagine the inside of your car being made of digital glass? Might make that 11-hour card trip seem a little less cumbersome.
2017 has given us in the glass industry a lot to think about. Let’s head into 2018 with positive thoughts, ideas and aspirations to help make next year the best yet.