Visitors have traveled from around the world to Milan, Italy, where the 19th staging of Vitrum is underway. According to show organizers 3,252 specialists and professionals were in attendance on day 1, including more than 2,000 from abroad. While the number is slightly down compared to Vitrum 2013, organizers say the show remains an ideal venue to find out about the most advanced and sophisticated glass processing techniques.

Vitrum 2015 is taking place this week in Milan, Italy.
Vitrum 2015 is taking place this week in Milan, Italy.

Doug Mangus, machinery sales director with Winston Salem, N.C.-based Salem Distributing, said Vitrum has featured the latest offerings for new technology in machinery and processing.

“The emphasis remains on bringing more and more automation into the glass fabrication environment,” he said. “Adding this new technology will greatly enhance productivity, promote safety in the work place, and allow human assets to be repurposed in a more advanced position on the shop floor.” He added that the show was attended by several U.S. fabricators looking to take advantage of these latest advancements in technology. Michael Spellman, president of IGE Solutions in Jupiter, Fla., is at the show this year and says it’s always a great event for his team to attend.

“It is an opportunity for us to meet with all our appreciated manufacturers with a few valued customers thrown in,” he says.

As far as some of the equipment, Spellman says the Spanish water filtration system Vitro-Sep has been popular. “Also in the same booth the back paint machine known as Picasso created amazing interest.” Both are Spanish companies and distributed exclusively through IGE.

He added that Forvet unveiled the multiplex and its new super spindle. “There are more than 250 Forvet machines running in North America and all will benefit from the innovation,” said Spellman.

Michael Schmidt with Forel North America said that traffic has been light from a North American perspective, “but still a definite focus and accentuation of decorative processes products which is much like the Italian fashion expertise.”

He adds, “The Italian equipment base still continues to impress with their glass equipment fabrication (polishing/edging/drill/mill/CNC features) design and development exhibited by many companies.”

Dan DeGorter with U.S. distributor DeGorter, agreed that attendance has been light, particularly the first two days, but did pick up on the third.

“I have seen only four American companies and British attendance is also down,” he said.

Glaston is also exhibiting at the show, where the company says its stand invites visitors to dive into virtual reality. The technology allows visitors to literally experience the future of glass tempering, with just a firm gaze and a pair of glasses. The company is also focusing on 3D printing. To showcase these capabilities, it features a 3D printed miniature model of the latest tempering line model.

“3D printing is a burning issue and was also discussed during the Glass Performance Days conference, held in June this year. 3D printing is a real possibility for the industry and will eventually change the total glass production chain. 3D printing will affect manufacturing of glass processing machines and Glaston wants to be in the forefront of this development,” says Arto Metsänen, CEO and president of Glaston Corp.  According to Metsänen, the transition into the digital era is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. “It may not be so easy for all industries to capitalize on the opportunity of digital services, as intelligence has to be integrated into products and services and new business models must be created. On the other hand this gives us unexpected opportunities that we should make the most of.”

Fenzi also has a number of innovations on display. One area of focus for the company is the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) market, a primary component of which is parabolic mirrors. One of the crucial elements is the protective coating used to ensure extremely high levels of performance.

The Fenzi group is involved in the production chain for CSP systems as a primary supplier of Duralux Solar Coatings, a line of solar mirror coatings engineered to ensure extremely high levels of chemical resistance to corrosion and UV radiation and very high resistance to abrasion. These coatings are included in the “Research and experiments” section of the “Glass. The Great Unexpected” exhibition this week at the show.

According to show organizers, research and innovation are the main highlights and are reflected not only in the products on display but also in the partnerships of the special events. These include the 30th ATIV conference, as well as the exhibition of product concepts developed by the students of the Milan Polytechnic University during a workshop promoted by Vitrum.

The show concludes tomorrow.