Exhibitors Gearing Up for GlassBuild

September 26, 2008
Meetings & Events

Window and door industry suppliers are making final preparations for the opening of GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo next Monday. Despite the weak market, numerous suppliers of equipment, components and other products still foresee window and door manufacturers making their way to the annual event, set for the Las Vegas Convention Center October 6-8.

"The economy is definitely not making things easy for us this year, but we've been hearing from our exhibitors that they are coming into the show with realistic expectations,” says Denise Sheehan, VP of Industry events for the National Glass Association, which organizes the show. “We may not see the huge attendance we had in Las Vegas in 2006, but they will still have a great show and see the decision-makers they want to see."

Sheehan notes that advance registration figures for the show are “literally neck in neck” with those from last year. Exhibitor booth personnel registration is down, because there are fewer exhibitors this year, but pre-registration among residential window and door industry attendees is actually up a notch, she reports.

Edgetech, one of the largest exhibitor’s at this year’s show, will emphasize education and knowledge at its display. The supplier plans to bring in a variety of experts to answer manufacturer questions on IG certification and other issues.

Many exhibitors remain optimistic. “From what we know, our customers will be as numerous and as excited with the show (as) last year,” reports Isabelle Lessard, marketing coordinator with P.H. Tech Inc. The window system supplier is moving forward with two production introductions. First, it is showcasing a new push-out casement. P.H. Tech will also be showing its Smart real-wood PVC system. The product, which uses real wood mouldings on the interior, provides an upgraded look for homeowners. “PVC manufacturers are excited about it as it allows them to enter the wood window market,” Lessard adds.

Chelsea Building Products is emphasizing higher performance and more upscale products this year. Although he’s expecting fewer window manufacturers to make their way to the event than previous years, the vinyl extruder's Les Lundeen says those that do come will be looking for new products that will help them gain market share or target new niches. “We are emphasizing the variability of our product line that enables manufacturers to go after those different markets, with products coming down the same production line.” The supplier’s standard window products--which are R-35—are now upgradable to R-50 and impact on the same product platform, he notes. Chelsea will also emphasize new color coating and woodgrain stocking programs.

Despite the sluggish economy, Truth Hardware is expecting a very solid GlassBuild show, reports Matt Kottke, marketing support manager. “Truth looks forward to visiting with customers as we work together with them in creating innovative solutions to help them sell more windows and patio doors. We are excited about the possibility of helping our customers be in a position to launch new and exciting products when this economy rebounds,” he states. “We have a number of new products to showcase including our new TwinLatch tilt latches and new handle/cover designs for our Encore and Maxim Operators.”

Pat Junker, president of G-U Hardware reports that he's heard from some window and door manufacturers that they aren't coming this year, and that others are planning to send fewer people. "I am hoping that the companies that are attending are there to see new products and begin the phase of re-working product offerings to get their line of windows and doors ahead of their fellow competitors," he notes optimistically, however.  His company is promoting its e-Bolt electronic lock for multipoint hardware systems, as well as a new high end G-U Bronze trim line. 

“We are excited about this year’s show and have been working hard to introduce new and cost effective products to help our customers grow market share,” says Steve Gledhill, business development engineer for Interlock USA Inc. “We all know how tough the current market conditions are, but we are hopeful for a good turnout and would encourage window and door manufacturers to make the effort to come see us as we will have a lot of new product innovations on the booth this year.”

New introductions at Interlock will include its new Cam-Bolt magnetic lock, which can be fitted to any vinyl, aluminum and wood sliding or hung windows. The magnetic lock “offers many new features that should create quite a buzz for our customers,” Gledhill notes. The company also plans to show a new casement system with a removable cover and handle design which, he reports, is an industry first.

“While many companies in our industry are drastically cutting expenses, Roto will unveil a new show booth that is a dramatic departure from the past,” reports Dan Gray, director of sales & marketing for Roto Frank of America Inc. “In a doom and gloom environment, Roto is moving forward with new products and creating a marketing campaign to generate improved interest and recognition throughout the industry.”

Once again one of the largest exhibits on the floor, Edgetech’s booth at GlassBuild will be a “Mecca of education and higher learning” with IG certification experts in attendance, including representatives from ATI, IGMA and NFRC. The supplier of SuperSpacer will also unveil its new, enhanced Web site at the show, designed to provide customers with easy access to sought-after information in two clicks or less. “GlassBuild is the perfect forum to introduce our redesigned Web site to the industry,” says Erin Johnson, director of marketing, Edgetech I.G. “Our entire focus at this year’s show is on education and knowledge sharing. Our new Web site is a continuation of this theme as we continue our commitment to arming customers with easy access to information that will help them take their businesses to the next level.” Edgetech’s is also gathering all its information about IG Certification on the site at a convenient, direct link: www.certifyyourig.com.

As usual, the Las Vegas show will see fewer equipment suppliers than Atlanta, but there will still be some new machines on the floor. Although it isn’t revealing information in advance, Joseph Machinery Co. plans to unveil a new production system at the show. Winpro is promoting a new “super-sized” version of its Screen Express targeted at medium-sized and larger manufacturers making patio doors or large window screens. The company’s Rick Wilson reports the first new machine has been built and sold to an Ohio manufacturer who plans to use it for patio door, window and gazebo screens. In addition to featuring its Titan glass washer, Billco Manufacturing plans to highlight its new Self-Sanitizing Washer Technology, which the company says will “revolutionize the way companies maintain glass washers, as well as save time and reduce costs.”

Although she expects fewer visitors than last year, Jessica Don Erdman of Erdman Automation notes, “we have a good amount of customers coming for specific reasons.” The company is featuring its IG Secondary Sealer, which she says has already sparked a lot of interest, as well as a new vacuum unit and crane. The equipment supplier is also promoting a number of show discounts.

Special Events
In addition to the trade show itself, GlassBuild will feature a number of special events. Monday night, Oct. 6, there is an opening cocktail reception sponsored by Edgetech I.G., NGA, GlassMagazine.com and WindowandDoor.com. Two panel presentations targeted specifically at residential window and door attendees are planned for Tuesday morning, Oct. 7. The first, entitled “A Clear View of the Future: The State of the Window and Door Industry” features a panel consisting of an economist, an investment banker, a window manufacturer and a window dealer each offering their unique perspective on trends, challenges and opportunities in the current market. Speakers include Jeff Dietrich, an economist with Institute for Trend Research; Andrew Bohutinsky of Lincoln International, a Chicago-based investment bank; Joe Hayden, senior project engineer for certification with Pella Corp. and chairman of the National Fenestration Rating Council; and Dan Glover, owner of River Valley Window Co., a Southern California dealer serving the builder market. The event is sponsored by Lincoln International.

The second session, which follows, is entitled “What Do Homeowners Want in Environmentally Responsible Windows?” The presentation will begin with the showing of a pre-taped homeowner focus group, exploring consumer perceptions regarding environmentally friendly products and energy efficiency as they pertain to residential window purchases. This will be followed by a live, on-site panel discussion moderated by Ira Blumenthal, president of Co-Opportunities Inc. Panelists include Nathan Good, owner of Nathan Good Architect PC; Corinne Asturias, vice president and consumer strategist for Iconoculture and Bill Shireman, CEO of Global Futures, who will further examine the green movement and how green values translate into actual buying decisions. The presentation is being sponsored by TruSeal Technologies. It will also include lunch, sponsored by Mikron Industries.

Overall, organizers report more than 400 exhibitors are expected for this year’s show. Information and schedule details are available at www.glassbuildamerica.com.