New Equipment, Fiberglass and Hardware Options Debut at GlassBuild America
September 17, 2013
Meetings & Events
Atlanta–Buoyed by an uptick in the housing market, increased sales volumes and positive predictions for the year ahead, the mood was upbeat among the more than 6,200 attendees and 360 exhibitors here at GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, September 10-12. And while very few companies were willing to say that a recovery is in full swing, most were optimistic that sales would continue to trend upward into 2014.
Equipment suppliers, many of which made new introductions at the Georgia World Congress Center, reported sales are up, as companies begin to unleash the tight reins they’ve held the past five years over capital expenditures.
“Business has shaped up nicely,” said Jay Campbell, sales manager for Billco Manufacturing. “There is a remarkable difference between this year and the several years previous. The market is in an upswing, and companies are again investing in needed machinery. Things started booming in the first quarter and have been improving steadily since,” he said on the show floor. “It was as if someone just turned the spigot on.”
Joseph Sigmund, vice president of Rotox USA Inc., Stow, Ohio, which introduced a new multi-head welding machine in Atlanta, agreed.
“We are up 15 percent over last year, and have got quite a bit [of jobs] quoted for next year,” Sigmund said. “We are starting to see more projects quoted that are already funded”—unlike many of the previous years when the funding often failed to materialize. “People are looking for equipment that they are actually going to buy.”
Stürtz Machinery was among the equipment suppliers closing sales on the show floor and also reported an upturn in purchasing activity.
“Business is way up the last three months,” said Mike Biffl, national sales manager. “We have had an increase in bid activity and in orders, and have closed a lot of deals since July. The number of quotes is where we would expect it to be before a show like this. That wasn’t the case the last five years.”
As for the type of machinery in demand, “companies are looking for equipment that will allow them to do more processes and keep up with the volume without increasing their workforce,” according to Biffl.
Efficiency―both in terms of manufacturing and end-use product― is also of utmost importance, suppliers reported.
On the show floor, GED Integrated Solutions introduced the brand-new RC-100 RoboClean robotic corner cleaner. The first beta machine is expected to go out the first of the year, with production machines available in late Q1 or early Q2 of 2014. "The unit features a robotic arm with a 'star' hub at the end of it," explained Joe Shaheen, director of sales and marketing. "That hub enables the robot to reach all sides and angles of the profile. It can access every aspect, every angle of the profile without changing tools, so one tool can do a variety of things. From the point of quality, we have the opportunity to engage the tool at the optimum angle on the surface to clean the profile. From a maintenance standpoint, there are no exposed cables or wear items. All of the wear items, the sensors, the devices are self-contained within the robot. There is nowhere vinyl dust or chips can get to it and destroy or degrade the quality of the components. From a maintenance standpoint, the only thing you will have to do is change the tools when you’ve worn them out," he said.
Bystronic Glass Inc. unveiled for the first time globally its Rapidline linear motor high-speed glass cutting machine, designed by Hegla. “The benefit is the linear drive,” said Scott Knisely, president. “You have decreased maintenance and increase performance speed 30 percent” compared to a typical rack-and-pinion cutter, he said.
Rotox’s SMH510 multi-head welding machine also debuted on the floor. It can simultaneously weld four frame profiles at an angle of 90° with parallel feed controlled by servo-drives. “It makes sure every corner is welded properly at the exact time. You have less remakes, less bad parts, more production with fewer people and can weld twice as fast,” Sigmund said.
To save space and reduce the number of equipment operators needed on the production floor, Pro-Line Automation USA introduced its Zipper by Pro-Line equipment that combines three processes into one for inserting a polyamide strut into aluminum profiles.
Also new on the floor was the ExactaBlend AGP advanced glazing proportioner from Graco Inc. The machine sets the ratio for the use of sealant and adhesive electronically rather than using linkages and rocker arms. “You get better repeatability, faster set-up and more uptime,” said Todd Louden, worldwide product manager for the applied fluid technologies division of Graco. “The machine will not dispense unless it is on ratio. For typical medium-volume applications, you can save up to $6,000 per year in material waste.”
Billco also reported it is working on several improvements to its existing machines. For example, the exhibitor has developed and patented an adaptive loading option for use with its crane loading system. “It provides a more consistent flow of glass to the cutting table and reduces mechanical wear on the crane,” said Campbell. “Crane systems currently on order will have this feature implemented.”
Windows and Doors
With markets and business rebounding, numerous new window and door products—from lineals to profiles to complete systems—filled exhibitor booths at the show. The biggest trends: doors and windows designed to differentiate dealers, builders and manufacturers in the marketplace, and a burst of fiberglass fenestration products.
“What the market is saying is: ‘It’s about me, my market, my region and how do I differentiate that white rectangle, because the pie is no bigger—and is actually shrinking. So whether you are on the extrusion side, the window side, the fabricator side, or the builder and dealer side, you have to take share to grow,” said Gary Hartman, director of marketing and new business development for Chelsea Building Products Inc.
“More than anything else, our customers are looking for value-added products to fill holes and gaps in their product lines, expand their market segments and gain a competitive advantage,” added Dave Byers, manager of the window and door division of L.B. Plastics Inc.
At the show, L.B. showcased its new folding and sliding door that has fewer parts, making it easier to fabricate. The door also has a thermally-broken aluminum frame around the perimeter, a multi-wheeled rolling system, and a compression seal throughout for water and air tightness.
Veka unveiled its PD5 three-track, three-panel sliding door with an-all vinyl frame, designed for greater energy efficiency.
Quanex Building Products introduced five new vinyl window systems to its Mikron Series. “Product differentiation is dependent upon having a variety of options to meet your unique goals,” said Chris Stan, product marketing specialist, Quanex Building Products. “Our new Mikron series window and door systems are designed to help OEMs create unique products that stand out in the marketplace.”
And Deceuninck North America caught the eye of many with its prototype sliding door that has a PVC frame and a polyurethane sash. ”With a PU sash you don’t have to reinforce it; the strength is already there,” said Filip Geeraert, president and CEO. “We are ready to begin production if we see positive feedback.”
On the fiberglass side, Inline Fiberglass Ltd. debuted its pop-and-slide door system that can accommodate anywhere from 7/8-inch double to 1 3/8-inch triple-glazed insulated glass units. “There is a trend shift toward more energy-efficient products,” said company president Bernard Rokicki. “The low air infiltration and strong thermal values are the key to this product. It is especially strong when it comes to structural and thermal performance.”
Fiberglass window and door frame component manufacturer Omniglass SCT—which partnered with Structural Composites Technologies and reentered the market about a year ago after a fire destroyed its manufacturing facility—unveiled its new fiberglass patio door system that utilizes the company’s OmniCor technology developed to make the assembly of fiberglass sash and frame members easier and less costly.
“Our OmniCor technology saves time and money, increases performance, reduces the potential for failure and delivers a uniform one-piece construction,” said Laurie Davies, sales and business development manager. “There is a mold-in corner, and production can be highly optimized and automated for fast production.”
Diversified Structural Lineals, which entered the fiberglass window and door market in February, launched its sliding patio door that has no exposed weatherstripping.
“Strength and color are two of its selling points,” said Mark Back, vice president of operations for parent company, Diversified Structural Composites. “We also have a flexible, economic design that hasn’t been available before in the marketplace.”
“Fiberglass has been limited in the past because the few available systems have been proprietary,” Back said. “Companies have been looking for a superior material and the right solution to offer better performance. We believe this will be the technology of choice for the next 30 years.”
Hardware and Coatings
Supporting the array of new window and door introductions were a number of hardware and decorative coating products.
Truth Hardware displayed its High Performance Hardware package for casement windows that features a casement hinge and operator capable of handling up to a 140-pound sash. The GlassBuild America exhibitor introduced the package in response to demand for hardware capable of handling bigger, heavier products such as triple-glaze IG units and coastal windows.
Also on the hardware side, Hoppe North America Inc. unveiled its new retract-and-slide patio door system aimed at the upper end of the market. The design permits weathersealing all around instead of just on the edge the door slides on. The three-position handle allows secure ventilation without the top of the door tilting inward.
Savio Window & Door Hardware, which makes hardware and handles for the aluminum fenestration industry, debuted a turn handle for top-hung awning windows. “It is an aesthetic design feature,” said Jeff Raimonde, vice president of marketing. “Our customers asked us to do away with the crank.”
In addition, Savio introduced rollers, locking mechanisms, locking points and ball bearings for lift-and-slide doors—driven by customer requests. “2013 has been one of our better years,” Raimonde said. “We are up almost 20 percent and projecting probably another 15 percent growth for next year.”
Vision Industries also debuted several new products at the show, including a lock-and-tilt combination system for vinyl windows and a wood window lock-and-tilt system that incorporates full-length aluminum reinforcement to enable wood windows to achieve a DP50 rating, according to Glen Paesano, national sales manager.
New coatings and finishes, many of them in textures or earth-like coatings, were on display as well, including a metallic finish developed specifically for PVC surfaces by Evotech Industrial Coatings, and the new water-based TruStain spray-on stain system for fiberglass doors and PVC, wood and composite products from AquaSurTech OEM.
On the glass side, Guardian Industries introduced two new ClimaGuard residential glass products in Atlanta: ClimaGuard 53/23, designed to provide solar protection while maintaining light transmission and crisp view-ability in the southern climate zone; and ClimaGuard 72/57, a product for northern climates that will allow many window systems to meet the new Energy Star V6 criteria without major redesign, according to the supplier.
“We are introducing two new products to the ClimaGuard line in response to the changes in Energy Star,” said Andy Russo, director, Residential Market Segment, North America Flat Glass. “ClimaGuard 72/57 is designed to allow window companies to hit the new Energy Star V6 requirements with minimal change to design, without having to go to triple glazing and without having to add fourth-surface coatings. So, [a window manufacturer] can essentially use a traditional low-E type solution with a double-glazed argon-filled unit to hit the northern energy requirements if it has a window that is generally a good performer,” Russo explained.
“The new Energy Star is also driving a new requirement for the northern-central zone,” the Guardian exec explained. “With this product [72/57], you can actually flip it. You can put it on surface three to meet the northern requirements and you can put it on surface two to meet the northern-central requirements. So, a window manufacturer could actually reduce the complexity, the number of SKUS it would need to have on the floor to hit the requirements.”
With business picking up, software maker Friedman Corp. also unveiled several new products: the A+W Business Production ERP software aimed at small and medium window fabricators, and a Spanish version of its Winsys ERP application.
“We are expecting a strong 2014,” said Friedman reps on the show floor. “Our pipeline of business has increased 50 percent in the last six months.”
More sights from this year's show can be found at Snapshots from GlassBuild America 2013. In addition, our coverage includes videos from the show floor and continuing coverage of new products introduced in Atlanta.
Next year, the event moves to Las Vegas where it is scheduled to run September 9-11.