Attendance at China Glass 2015 last week in Beijing was lighter than in recent years, but exhibitors in the glass and glazing industry were once again pleased with the opportunity the event provides to connect with a broad international audience.

At China Glass 2015, Quanex, Sparklike and Inagas showcased their products together to demonstrate the link between materials, gas fill and measurement in insulating glass units. (Photo courtesy of Quanex)
At China Glass 2015, Quanex, Sparklike and Inagas showcased their products together to demonstrate the link between materials, gas fill and measurement in insulating glass units. (Photo courtesy of Quanex)

Ren Bartoe, director of glass and industrial technologies at Vesuvius, says he went to the event with some reservations, given a slowdown in Chinese construction and excess capacity in the industry.

“That said, the spirit at China Glass was upbeat with plenty of activity,” he says. “While attendance was lower and traffic was primarily Chinese, Southeast Asia, India and Iran had strong representation. Attendance from the United States and Canada was noticeably light, but Mexico and South America presented respectable traffic.”

Quanex director of international marketing Ramsey Bader considers China Glass second only to glasstec from an international standpoint. “And the reason is that it attracts such a big crowd from all over the world,” he says, noting that the event fields attendees everywhere from Australia to Latin America, in addition to all of the more obvious regions. “… It truly is an international show, and that’s why it’s so important to us.”

As far as the Chinese market is concerned, Bader says it encompasses “some exciting capabilities in multiple areas of industry,” notably massive bent glass projects. “Their capabilities with tempered and laminated large-size glass is something you hardly find anywhere else.”

He says a big focus for Quanex is the flexibility of its spacer, and that it’s important to learn about ways the company can provide solutions for big glass applications in the Chinese industry.

Stefano Pozzi, general manager of Fenzi Group’s Chinese branch, says Fenzi received very positive feedback from attendees of the show.

Fenzi, in fact, has maintained a presence in the region for quite some time, having exported mirror-backing paints, particularly to China, back in 1980. Today, the group’s local operations and production hub “is a fully active plant that continues to grow with the introduction of new products and the expansion of existing ones,” according to a release from the company.

“In China, it is crucial to be increasingly competitive in all areas,” says Pozzi. “Consistency is prime, along with offering products of very high quality. It is a challenge we committed to 10 years ago and that today ensures us a key niche and a leadership position. We plan to continue along this path and trust that, to a large extent, 2015 will reflect last year’s results, which were very favorable for the Group.”

Sparklike, showing its new Glassgas Laser, which is capable of measuring insulating glass through triple glazing and coatings, joined Quanex and Inagas in a joint exhibit. The event provided Sparklike and the other companies an opportunity to demonstrate how each product works together. Sparklike has collaborated with Quanex in China for the past five years.

“Showcasing our products together allows us to address a broader topic of quality insulating glass,” says Miikkael Niemi, Sparklike CEO. “When the manufacturer is already interested in producing high quality insulating glass, it’s natural then to discuss how to measure the produced glass products. For customer point of view, it’s easier to understand the link between materials, gas fill, and measurement when we all come together like this.”

Niemi says that while the overall pace at China Glass was somewhat slow, “we were really pleased to have met so many interesting new contacts. The discussions we had were concrete and actionable.”

Bartoe says something that surprised him about the Chinese industry is a renewed interest in solar glass. “In spite of recent news relating to the hardships of the Chinese solar industry, much of the talk revolved around demand for equipment to handle high volume continuous production of solar panels and the glass products associated with them,” he says.

Bartoe adds that new equipment and innovation on display at the event included “furnace technology with capabilities to temper two-millimeter-thick glass suitable for laminating or use in vacuum insulated window systems, both of which were on display. There was also a plethora of decorating systems on display and a much larger representation of digital printing suppliers this year.”

He says it was also refreshing to see newcomers from NAFTA visiting the event to promote their products. “As the Asia Pacific markets become more sensitive to glass quality,” he says, “opportunities for premium products, precision equipment, and advanced technology are strengthening.”