On the Road with USGlass

GlassBuild 2010

If there’s a fast lead emerging from the Glassbuild America show in Vegas it’s the new alternatives to low-E. By this I mean new products that mimic the performance of low-E but do so by using a technology different from the traditional hard or soft coatings. The technology displayed by Bridgestone under the Evasafe product name, for example, involves a molecular bond to glass as a substrate. “The resulting glass is non metallic,” said Koji Kuwano, assistant manager of performance films for Bridgestone. This means that wireless rays can get through easily. Every one is worried about their wireless reception. This product helps that too.”

Matt McManus of M&J Window and Door Displays the VIG "Take Out Box"

No one displays glass that’s “just glass” anymore. It was value-added all the way. PPG, for example, showcased its R100 and new Clearvista glasses, the later a glass designed for use in shower doors that doesn’t scum or fog up, even after almost a decade of use. “It’s an evolution,” said PPG’s director/construction Glenn Miner. “We make a product, then the next manufacturer comes out with something a little better, then we make something even better. Good products are a result of competition and this glass is tops for use in shower doors.”

Miner was optimistic about his company’s future as well. “We made some choices early on about the markets we wanted to pursue that have proved good choices. Condos?  No. Educational and institutional facilities? Yes, and that’s where most of the new business is.

While energy-efficiency was high on list of the desirable attributes, green products were … not so much. A sign by show organizers showed a list of approximately 12 companies displaying green products. Made me think of the interview GE’s CEO Jeff Imlett recently gave saying that “green” had peaked as a differentiator. Seems now being green will be necessary, just won’t be a big deal.

Exhibitor reviews of the show as day one ends are mixed and ranged from “great” to “so-so” to “pretty bad but don’t quote me.” Traffic built at an excrutiatingly slow pace in the first two hours but then picked up to the point of fairly strong activity in the middle of the day.

Of particular surprise was the wide variety of attendees walking the aisles.  One gentleman who visited our booth creates stucco-like facades (“just checking it out,” he said). Another was a  land/strip mall developer. “So,” I asked thinking of Megan Headley’s excellent article “Seismic Shift” in USGlass September. “Can you actually buy glass direct from the people here?” “Oh yes,” he responded. “I have been coming for a long time. Ten years ago, no one would sell me, no one. But today, it’s very easy. You have to buy a decent enough quantity but I have no problem buying glass.”


Elsewhere on the floor:
Nice to see Fred Gebauer of Insulgard who is threatening to retire … again … John Weise of Barkow and American Rack displaying a spiffy looking new rack truck, along with a KD rack kit for do-labor-yourselfers … Tom Harris making his debut in the U.S. Aluminum booth. The former Vistawall leader started at USA just a few weeks ago … Dick at Gardner Glass was counting his blessings. “We are just thankful we have a good product that every one wants and we thank the Lord every day,” he said of his company’s Dreamwalls’ products. The marbleized looking glass was my favorite.

And the winner is:
A few winners today in Deb’s informal awards. Best Giveaway goes to the guys from VIG who gave-away a cardboard non-wheelie carrier that people dragged behind them and put their papers in. They are proving very popular. …. Best Booth Attire is a tie between the pinstripe blue shirts sported by the guys in the SIKA booth and sleeveless Patagoniaesque vests modeled by PPG staffers in their company’s booth. Best Line of the day goes to our own Ally Curran who, upon seeing me all duded up with a new Vegas haircut said “Deb, you look great, you look great, why you don’t look like you at all.”

Thanks Ally, that’s exactly what I was going for.

More tomorrow. Stop by and see us in Aisle 1200. I’m the one who doesn’t look like me.