Trendspotting at BAU

bausign

A show like BAU just serves to highlight what we already knew: that the Europeans are “lite years” ahead of North America in design, energy efficiency and quality. And the difference is readily apparent. As one colleague said to me, “this show really highlights the differences between American and European building styles. Europeans begin a project thinking, ‘how can we build the highest quality building that does what we want?’ Americans start a project by wondering, ‘how can we build the cheapest building that does what we want?’” I was fortunate to spend two days at BAU2015 in Munich, Germany last week. The biennial six-day (yes, six) show attracts visits from… Read More »

BAU’s a Wow

BAU opened yesterday at the Munich Messe in Germany. The five-day show features 16 halls of building products and applications.

Today was my first time ever attending the BAU (which means “Build” in German) show, which is being held at the Munich Fairgrounds this week. I’d been told for years, and by a number of people, that “you really should visit BAU.” Well, after just one day here, I understand why. Why? Because while glasstec—held every other year in Dusseldorf—focuses on all types of glass manufacturing and processes, BAU is where you see the glass in action in all sorts of products. And because it also showcases a variety of glass-related products, including steel and facades, BAU is where you get to see everything, from building facades to high-end residential… Read More »

A Race Well-Run

USGlass editor Ellen Rogers gets a victory hug from son Rylan after finishing the Chicago Marathon in October.

I wanted to wait until the holidays were well behind us for this blog. Because I really, really wanted you to pay attention to it, and because the person it’s about is not only a good person—she is good at what she does. Let me explain. Each year, Key Communications, Inc., the parent company of USGlass magazine, presents an award to the employee who has, in the opinion of our management team, excelled beyond all measure. The award is called the Holly X. Biller Award for Extraordinary Company Service, and it’s named after our vice president Holly Biller, who sets the standard for company service. We always present the award… Read More »

Sign of the Times? Not So Much

gaslow

It sure was a strange sight, but a welcome one… and one that impacts almost every aspect of our lives. But is it a real harbinger of things to come, or one just designed to lull us into complacency? You decide. You see the sign in question here, photographed late afternoon yesterday on Route 3 in Stafford, Va. Not only was the price per gallon below $2—it was substantially below, having fallen from $1.99 a week before. But falling gas prices, I fear, raise more questions than answers. Will the cost to transport glass come down? Will “fuel surcharges” disappear, or at least abate? Will the costs related to glass… Read More »

New Year’s Predictions

Welcome to 2015! It didn’t seem that long ago that we were all hoarding water and paying software consultants to get ready for Y2K. And now, here we are, a very quick 15 years later. It’s hard to predict what the future will bring, but I am going to try. Predictions are based on perspective. What is even more amazing than how fast the last 15 years went is that a full 20 percent of the current U.S. population wasn’t even born by the year 2000—and that there are many parts of the world where that number is much higher. Nearly half (a full 46 percent) of Afghanistan’s population is… Read More »

It’s a Wonderful Strife

Holiday Flyer

Maybe it’s because of the lack of children, but my household has never had very many Christmas traditions. Oh, there are plenty of them once I head back home to my mother’s house each year, but no traditions in my own home—except for one, that is. But what I lack on the home front is more than over-compensated for by our office traditions. We Keycommers (our parent company’s name is Key Communications Inc.) go all-out and beyond for Christmas. If there’s another company that does it up like we do, I don’t know it—but if you do, please let me know about it and what company traditions you have. It would… Read More »

Jerry Wright

AAA Glass and Texas Glass Association President Jerry Wright passed away last week.

The glass industry is full of men of character and men who are characters. Jerry Wright of AAA Glass in Fort Worth, Texas, was both. Even now, a full week after his untimely passing, it’s hard to talk about Jerry in the past tense. That’s because he was so unique, and such a life force, that imagining our daily world without him is not yet possible. No one who ever met Jerry, even for a passing moment, would forget him. You just couldn’t. He was that unique. I’ve known and worked with Jerry on various different projects and things for more than 33 years. During that time, I never saw… Read More »

Top Take-Aways

This impressive handler was about three stories high in the air.

Glasstec was a great show—and now that it’s over, I’ve had a little time to reflect. So if you’ll forgive me for my jetlagged pontifications, I’d like to share my top five take-aways from this year’s event. Here goes: 1. Thin Is In—and Out. I wrote a full story on this one on Friday, as it was the top story to emerge from this year’s event. 2.  You’ve Got to Move It, Move It—the second most pronounced theme was the advancements being made in glass handling equipment and machinery. The robotics we glimpsed at at glasstec in 2010 and 2012 have now gone mainstream, and just about every handling equipment… Read More »

Thin is In–and Out

Who

There’s a uniquely American ritual at glasstec. Whenever you run into someone from the U.S.—and there is a very healthy contingent here by the way despite the concerns about airline strikes and Ebola—they will ask you what you have seen that is new or different. I used to think this was because I was covering the show, but it is an equal-opportunity question asked by and to all. “What did you see?” and “What’s new?” are the common questions and they usually result in as many different answers as there are answerers. Not this year. There is only one answer and it is consistent and single response from all: the… Read More »

Glassy Eyes at glasstec

The stands of manufacturers such as Saint Gobain and Guardian were packed as tightly as a Tokyo subway.

There is so much business being done in these halls that it’s hard to keep up with it. A buoyed economy coupled with pent-up demand has resulted in a deal a minute here in the halls of glasstec. “We sold our machine,” said one machinery maker five minutes after the show opened. It’s been like that ever since. Even through a Lufthansa-planned strike on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, organizers report that opening day foot traffic was the same as the last show. This is a sizable victory given that nearly 1,500 Lufthansa flights were cancelled during the job action, which has now been suspended. And by Wednesday morning the floodgates… Read More »