Many companies pull out all the stops at the world’s larget and most anticipated glass trad show, glasstec in Düsseldorf, Germany. The industry’s biggest and most impactful trends were represented through products around every corner.
As glass manufacturers make larger glass sizes available, the entire supply chain must make adjustments to accommodate bigger and heavier lites of glass. Several companies addressed this trend with their products at the show, including SmartLift, a Danish lifting and handling equipment manufacturer.
SmartLift marketing manager Kristian Kjærgaard said the company makes different suction cups for different weights and materials that can be swapped out on its equipment. The company helps educate its customers in the process. It’s also creating lifting equipment able to handle up to 2,204 pounds (1,000 kilograms). The SL1008 is controlled by a panel and provides a precise feeling of movement that is safe. Kjærgaard said that this equipment prevents heavy lifting during installation, which is important considering the weight of oversized glass.
Núria Galbe, Sevasa marketing manager, spoke about the impact of oversized glass on the industry. The Spanish company introduced its ability to fabricate its LuxFine anti-scratch and LuxMat finishes in sizes up to 354 inches (9 meters) at the show. Galbe said that while the company can fabricate glass up to that size, the 236-inch (6-meter) size will remain more popular because there’s a smaller market for sizes larger than 6 meters.
She pointed out the 708-inch (18-meter) glass lite displayed at the Eastman booth (manufactured by Saint-Gobain) and said that the logistics become difficult when glass reaches such large sizes. She doesn’t anticipate there being much growth past that size. Galbe explained that it’s more likely companies show the 708-inch (18-meter) size but sell more in the 472-inch (12-meter) range.
The push for aesthetic excellence was another trend throughout all nine halls at glasstec. Companies such as Phoenicia focused on glass clarity, and showcased its Low Iron True Color glass. According to vice president of marketing and business development Rina Chakour, the glass has a light transmission with almost no color, allowing “the true colors of life” to show through. The company is based in Israel, where it is well known, and hoped to bring more global awareness to the brand at glasstec.
Cerion Laser showcased a mix of aesthetic and performance with its machines’ application capabilities. One application restructures low-E coatings to let electromagnetic waves through for better signal without losing the low-E properties. This is a major trend in Europe, especially on public trains where signal can be blocked by the glass. Other applications of its machines include edge stripping for facades, drilling, milling and structuring, and surface engraving. Surface engraving can create anti-slip glass, which doesn’t ware like other anti-slip surfaces and is easy to clean, according to Michael Russo, research and development at Cerion Laser.
It was evident throughout glasstec that glass is a flexible and durable material, strong enough to hold the weight of a car at the glass technology live section or to be used as a rock climbing wall at the Bystronic booth. The industry will continue to push the limits of its capabilities.
Stay tuned to USGNN™ next week for an in-depth look at some of the projects featured in the glass technology live section of the show.