Industry Gears Up for GlassBuild Next Week

September 23, 2009
Meetings & Events

Suppliers of window and door equipment and components are starting to make their way to Atlanta to prepare their exhibits at GlassBuild America, which opens next week. The event, scheduled for September 30 through October 1 at the Georgia World Congress Center, will feature more than 400 exhibitors in more than 1,200 booths, reports Denise Sheehan, vice president of events for the National Glass Association.

The current flooding conditions in Atlanta are not expected to have an impact on the show next week, she also notes.

"Not only will this GlassBuild America show be a very strong event, but we believe this will be the place where our industry collectively prepares to turn the corner to economic renewal,” says Phil James, NGA president and CEO.

“In light of the economic realities all in our industry are facing, we have sought to provide as much value as possible with this year’s show,” NGA’s Sheehan adds. “We know the special programs, seminars, events and exhibits that are the hallmark of GlassBuild America 2009 will make participation more than worthwhile, and we are thrilled that the show is fast approaching."

As for the impact of the economy on the show, Sheehan reports that the number of booths is down from last year in Las Vegas, as are advance registrations. The totals are not too far off, she emphasizes, however. Sheehan also points out that many GlassBuild attendees traditionally make their decision to attend the show fairly late. The recent signs of economic improvement, she adds, should encourage more of those late-deciders to come to this year's event.

Exhibitor expectations
Exhibitors are coming to the event with realistic, but hopeful expectations that the window and door manufacturers in Atlanta will be ready to conduct business. “We are preparing for a ’normal’ show with apprehension," says Ron Crowl, president of Fenetech Inc. The software supplier reports some mixed signals from clients regarding attendance, but suggests many still want to get out to “see what’s new.” From a software perspective, Crowl anticipates a lot of interest in his company’s Web based quoting and order placement tools. “Manufacturers are eagerly trying to make themselves easier to do business with while at the same time reducing their internal costs,” he states.

Interlock USA’s Axel Husen predicts a “decent turnout,” although he expects the numbers to be down a little. “As most businesses continue to minimize their expenses, I assume that the window companies will send fewer people to attend the show. At the same time, builder confidence is starting to increase and we are anticipating a slow market recovery starting sometime in 2010, so I’m hoping that manufacturers will be coming to Atlanta in preparation for 2010," he says.

"I think the tough economy has forced manufacturers and suppliers to focus their efforts on coming up with new solutions and inventive ways to sell their products," Husen continues. "As far as hardware is concerned, manufacturers are looking for innovative, yet affordable, solutions that will help differentiate their products as a way to increase their market share, instead of just trying to compete by price point. Therefore, one of the hardware trends we’ll see prevailing at GlassBuild this year will be versatile styling options."

"Our thoughts on the show is that we think turn out will be light," says Rich Anton, marketing director at Mikron Industries, but, he adds, the attendees that come will be from companies that are financially solid and looking for something new. "We think most manufacturer attendees will be looking to stay in front of new technology products–those primarily driven by tightening energy codes," he adds. To meet these new demands, Mikron is introducing a new insulated vinyl window system called EnergyCore at the show.  The new system delivers "superior thermal efficiency to hollow vinyl and to manually-injected polyurethane foam-filled options," Anton notes.

GlassBuild America will feature a wide arrange of industry suppliers. A more detailed preview of the event, including an overview of the equipment expected to be on display, was featured in the August issue of Window & Door. Other highlights include an Energy Efficiency Town Hall Forum, sponsored by Edgetech Inc., and a panel presentation on the outlook for the solar industry.

Weather concerns
Regarding the last several days of heavy rains that have created flooding conditions in Atlanta, Sheehan notes that NGA has received a number of inquiries concerning the potential impact on next week’s show. " We’ve been in touch with our contacts in Atlanta to get a first-hand view of the situation," she states. "I’m pleased to report that downtown Atlanta is fine and the roads from the airport are not affected. And the weather is expected to improve."

NGA plans to monitor the situation, and report back on any changes, but  "all our plans for a successful GlassBuild America are on course," she continues. "We’re looking forward to a very good show."

More information on the event is available at www.glassbuildamerica.com. An online preview on WindowandDoor.com also offers a detailed look at new products to be featured by exhibitors in Atlanta.