By Jordan Scott

Glass Expo Rocky Mountain™
’19 gave exhibitors an opportunity to meet face-to-face with glazing contractors and other customers in the region. Attendees networked, discussed exhibitors’ latest products and developments, and learned about challenges and trends impacting the glass and glazing industry. Major themes among exhibitors on the show floor at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center in Aurora, Colo. (suburban Denver), were growth, thermal performance and adapting to the labor shortage.

The event, held January 24-25, 2019, was co-sponsored by the Colorado Glazing Contractors Association, USGlass magazine, USGNN.com™ and Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal.

The Show Floor

Morse Industries regional account manager Tom Sulock said his company is rolling out a shower estimating software so that glass shops, estimators and project management teams can design their shower door enclosures. Sulock is also noticing an increase in laminated glass, especially for interior glass above the first floor. While matte black has been a major trend within the residential sector, Sulock said it’s just now spreading to the commercial
sector. One trend he’s seeing beyond Morse’s product line is the impact of
the labor shortage.

“It’s impacting people’s ability to expand as they would have otherwise,”
he said. “The shortage is spreading to project managers, estimators and in all
phases of the industry.”

Billco is also adapting its products to meet the needs of customers impacted by the labor shortage. They’re making changes to cutting machines to put money back into their customer’s pockets, according to Steve Rodgers, southwest glass solutions specialist.

“We’ll have more automation soon. We can also do completely automatic washing or customize it for different needs,” he said.

One of Billco’s latest products is its remnant storage solution, which stores
different types of glass and brings them back into the schedule when needed,
rather than wasting the glass. Rodgers said it’s ideal for high-volume customers.

Kevin Horton, central region sales director/owner of Salem Flat Glass & Mirror, said his company will soon offer new products for larger fabricators. The company is slowly rolling out the Click-Fit, a wheel configuration for edging machines with a quick-change
plate and snail lock. It’s being launched slowly as the company develops additional adapters for other machines it doesn’t sell itself.

As most companies in the glass and glazing industry have, Salem Flat Glass & Mirror is seeing the impacts of the labor shortage. Horton said that robotics and automation can help fill that lack of skilled workers.

GLG Canada Ltd. U.S. sales manager Ric Schmidt said his company is working to increase its capacity. He said that glass is getting bigger and heavier, requiring more workers to lift it.

“There’s a lack of people, and that’s where our equipment comes in handy. For companies that can’t find good help, our machines provide that,” said Schmidt.

The Insulbar LEF was on display at Ensinger’s booth. The profile has an added low-E film to reduce heat loss and improve overall U-values.

“We are behind Europe, it’s almost standard there,” said Michael Gainey,
product manager for Ensinger.

Technoform was also focusing on thermal performance. The company has a new polyamide pressure plate, which replaces aluminum and increases the thermal performance of the edge. It is part of Technoform’s Spec the Edge movement to decrease U-values by focusing on edge of glass performance. Also on the show floor, John McClatchy Jr., vice president and national sales manager for Southern Aluminum Finishing Co. (SAF), said his company is rolling out pre-engineered sunshades.

“It fits perfectly with our product line. We had the metal on hand, can put it together and do our own painting and anodizing. People had been asking about it for years,” he said.

While the market has been good, McClatchy said he’s noticed a shortage in aluminum.

“The domestic mills are at capacity. They’re being pickier about who to sell
to. Thy told us they make more money on aerospace and the automotive industry …” he said.

While McClatchy doesn’t expect the tariffs to last, the company is applying for an exemption.

Bohle has a new mobile marketing showroom to display its products nationwide, and national sales manager Connor Leahy said his company is also hiring architectural specification writers.

Ergo Robotic Solutions account manager Alan Nudi said the company is expanding its marketing efforts and products.

Ergo currently sells only glass manipulators, but Nudi said the company plans to expand into other facets such as wall panels, metal and stone. It also plans to develop a self-driving machine dedicated to outdoor work.

Kuraray was at the show and is launching two new products this year. One is a new PVB that is not as yellow in color as normal PVBs, but not as clear as SentryGlas. Ron Hull, marketing manager for the Americas and EMEA, said the company is also launching its new SentryGlas Extra.

“It has benefits in terms of processing. It will process similar to PVB instead of being required to cool at a fast rate,” said Hull.

He said it will enable bigger glass to be installed where there are high windloads.

Armor-Guard, a temporary protective coatings company, recently opened a new manufacturing facility in New Bern, N.C. The move will allow the company to expand its capacity. National director/partner Matthew Price said there’s been a lot of growth in the Denver area.

Cline Doors is testing more of its products to the strict Miami-Dade Florida Building Codes, according to vice president Scott Rubin. More states are adopting the Florida building codes, especially the Gulf States such as Louisiana and Texas that have experienced strong storms.

Software was on display, as well. Mainstreet’s V10 will debut this year. It’s a true web-based program, according to sales representative Stan Liddell. This allows the company to make changes easily. Its mobile tech apps are its best-selling feature because of its device-friendliness, according to Liddell. The app can run on any device with access to the internet, meaning it can be used on the jobsite or in the office.

The Education Program

Attendees filled the seminar room at Glass Expo Rocky Mountain as they were eager to attend the various seminars focusing on insightful information for the glass and glazing industry from experts in the field.

YKK AP America Inc. ProTek brand manager Greg Galloway presented the first seminar titled, “Blast Mitigation – How to Turn a No into a Yes.” He explained challenges and trade-offs when designing for blast mitigation.

Glass Expos account executive Casey Flores followed with an economic outlook both nationwide and for the region. The real gross domestic product growth of the West, which includes Colorado, has outpaced the national average for a half decade.

Next at the event was “Designing Safer Glass Railings with Laminated Glass,” led by Hull. He explained how new standards and code requirements are addressing the post-breakage performance of glass.

Janine Driver, body language expert and New York Times best-selling author of You Say More Than You Think, began her dynamic keynote by analyzing attendee’s seated poses. She said that taking up space represents confidence and power.

Anderson Glass owner and Fixer Upper glass consultant Dustin Anderson’s session focused on finding skilled workers during the labor shortage. He emphasized the importance of creating a company culture that enriches workers’ lives.

Richard Voreis, CEO of Consulting Collaborative, spoke about trends in the glass and glazing industry and emphasized that change is important for a company’s success. Flores and Glass. com® manager Daniel Snow followed with their seminar, “Millennials: Hiring Them and Selling to Them.” According to Snow, social media is a vital tool for selling to millennials, while Flores said that flexibility and company culture
play a large part in employee retention.

Schüco USA president Attila Arian finished the education program with the seminar, “C-Suite Changes Coming in the Contract Glazing Industry.” He spoke about the disruption that could be coming to the industry, such as developers cutting out the middle man and storefront being sold at the big home improvement companies’ stores nationwide.

The next stop for Glass Expos is the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, N.Y., for Glass Expo Northeast™ ’19 on March 27-28, 2019. For more information or to register for the show visit usglassmag.com/gene

Jordan Scott is an assistant editor for USGlass magazine. She can be reached at jscott@glass.com

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.