Improving Outlook Boosts Expectations for GlassBuild

Atlanta event looks more promising as window and door makers gear up for better times

With the light the end of the tunnel coming into view, window and door manufacturers will make their way once again to GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo this fall. More than 400 exhibitors and 9,000 attendees are expected for this year’s show, scheduled for the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, September 30 through October 2.

“While residential window and door sales haven't rebounded yet, most manufacturers think the worst is over and are beginning to prepare for the market to recover," says Phil James, president and CEO of the National Glass Association, organizer of the event (and publisher of Window & Door). “Many have been in the planning stage for some time, looking at how to position themselves going forward.  We expect many will be coming to GlassBuild America, ready to make decisions about product line changes and necessariy capital expenditures, to make sure they're geared up for next year.”

"We also expect window and door manufacturers coming to Atlanta with an eye on energy efficient upgrades," adds Denise Sheehan, NGA’s VP of industry events. "New Energy Star criteria go in effect in 2010, and most foresee those standards, as well as energy codes, becoming more stringent in the future. Everyone wants to know what their next steps will be." 


Equipment and components for the production of high-performance IG units will be featured 
by numerous exhibitors in Atlanta, as they were at last year's GlassBuild America in Las Vegas.

The improving outlook for the show is evident in the fact that some suppliers have reversed previous decisions to withdraw from the event due to the weak market conditions. Citing signs of economic improvement and a decision to re-focus on growth and customer support, Veka Inc., the extruder of vinyl window and door systems, says it will be exhibiting at GlassBuild America after taking a year off from the show. It joins several other vinyl lineal producers, including L.B. Plastics, Mikron Industries, Royal Group Technologies and P.H. Tech, which already had signed up to be in Atlanta.

“We will be launching a new look and a new message for 2009-2010 and are extremely excited about re-introducing Veka to the industry,” says Steve Dillon, corporate director of marketing. “We have a rich history worldwide of unparalleled service and products and it’s time to re-energize our business and do everything we can to support our customer base.”

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On the equipment side, Intermac America has also elected to come back.  "Intermac's GlassBuild America 2008 booth was well visited and helped close orders,” says Federico Broccoli, president/CEO of Biesse and Intermac America. “Even considering the current economy, Intermac sees signs of resurgence in our industry. GlassBuild America 2009 affords us an excellent opportunity to connect with the customers who wish to remain competitive as the markets progress towards recovery.”

The list of GlassBuild America exhibitors will feature numerous suppliers ready to talk about enhancing the efficiency of products and production. That was certainly the case last year, when GlassBuild American was held in Las Vegas.  That event, which drew over 8,000 attendees despite the fact that it coincided with the meltdown of the stock market, saw much discussion between exhibitors and window and door manufacturer attendees related to coming  Energy Star critieria changes.

As at past events, leading suppliers of insulating glass processing equipment and components will be among the largest exhibitors on the floor in Atlanta. Billco Manufacturing, Edgetech I.G., Glasslam, IGE Solutions, Peter Lisec, Technoform and Truseal Technologies will all be highlighting new products and machines designed for making higher-performance IG packages. Of particular note, Bystronic plans to unveil its new automated line for high-volume production of Sashlite windows. Glassmakers, including AGC North America and PPG Industries, will be on hand to highlight their latest coated glasses.

Not all the emphasis will be on glass, however.  Suppliers of vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass manufacturing equipment will also make their way to Atlanta once again.  Last year's show reflected continued strength in the commercial market, with numerous suppliers of aluminum fabricating equipment, such as Elumatec, Emmegi, Fom, JRM and Tekna bringing new machines to Las Vegas. 


Vinyl equipment suppliers will once again bring a variety of saws and fabrication machinery,
as well as welders and cleaners.

With new signs of life in the residetnial market, makers of vinyl welding, corner cleaning and cutting equipment will also be back in Atlanta. Among those scheduled to be on hand include Ameri-Can, Josepth, and Urban.  Another manufacturer of vinyl equipment, Stürtz Machinery, reports it's approaching the show with "guarded optimism." 

"Window and door manufacturers are becoming a little more active in pursuing quotations for new equipment," says Ellis Dillen. "We are still very busy with retooling some of the used equipment that was auctioned off in recent months but new quoting activity is increasing. Several of our customers have indicated that they are seeing an uptick in business, slow but steady. If this increase in orders continues, equipment purchases will start to increase as well. Based on what we’re seeing and hearing, the show at the beginning of October should provide excellent timing as a precursor to what should be a relatively good fall for vinyl equipment suppliers."

They will be joined by other equipment suppliers, including Erdman Automation and Nordson, which will be among the companies showing the latest in glazing and sealant application machinery, and Hegla and Wakefield, which will each feature a variety of handling equipment.

Amesbury, Caldwell, Deco Products, Fapim, G-U, Truth, Ultra and Vision are among the companies that will showcase the latest in hardware. Producers of weatherseal products and sealants will also be well represented by suppliers such as H.B. Fuller, Frank Lowe, Lamatek, Lauren, Momentive (GE Silicones) and Sika. A full list of exhibitors at this year's show can be found on the GlassBuild America Web site.  A special section of the Window & Door Web site provides an in-depth look at some of the products exhibitors will be featuring in Atlanta

INNOVATION AND EDUCATION
A new introduction at this year's GlassBuild America is a special Innovations Pavilion, designed to showcase cutting-edge technologies and other groundbreaking advances from across the glass industry, ranging from solar energy to design innovations and the latest green technologies.

“The Innovations Pavilion will be a ‘must-see’ destination for every attendee, as well as the national and trade media that cover the show,” says Sheehan. “It’s just the latest example of our commitment to continuous improvement."

Reflecting this same emphasis on innovation, this year's event will also feature a CEO-level panel discussion focusing on the fast-evolving technologies, uses and markets for solar panels in the years ahead. Presented by the Global Fair Alliance, the session features panelists from companies active throughout the world, offering their insights on the current state of the solar panel industry and, more importantly, where they see it headed over the next several years. To be moderated by Russell Ebeid, president of Guardian Industries Corp.'s Glass Group, the discussion will feature Steve Coonen, vice president of Applied Solar; Gerald Fine, president & CEO of Schott North America; Daniel Lau, managing director of XYG Glass, a division of Xinyi Glass Holdings Ltd; and Scott Thomsen, Guardian's chief technology officer and group vice president.

Also on the educational front, Edgetech IG is sponsoring an energy efficiency seminar, bringing together experts to address the challenges and opportunities presented to the window and door industry by emerging technologies and changing policies.  Rich Walker, American Architectural Manufacturers Association president and CEO, will moderate the panel, which also includes Marg Webb, executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, Richard Karney of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star Program, and Brandon Tinianov, chief technology officer, Serious Materials. “The energy efficiency seminar will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of this year’s show,” says Erin Johnson, Edgetech’s director of marketing. “We anticipate a lively discussion that will help us all gain insight, take advantage of available opportunities, and poise ourselves, as an industry, for future growth.”

Offering another look at what lies ahead for the window and door industry, another session will feature  Jeff Dietrich, an economist with EcoTrends who will offer an up-to-date forecast for the national economy, and examine how that could impact construction activity. He will be joined by John Swanson, editor/associate publisher of Window & Door, who will highlight a number of significant trends he sees in the industry and the market.   


Vinyl extruders, hardware producers and numerous other suppliers targeting residential
window and door manufacturers will exhibit in Atlanta.

GlassBuild America will take place September 30 to October 3 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The trade show will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Designed to provide a single venue for the glass fabrication, architectural glass, and window and door industries, the “all-encompassing” event is organized by the National Glass Association and sponsored by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association, Glass Association of North America and Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association. More information on attending the event is available at www.glassbuildamerica.com.