On the Road with USGlass

glasstec 2010

Well, we are open for business. The glasstec 2010 opening ceremonies began Tuesday with an exquisite computer-generated film called “Spirit of Glass 1” that showcased different types of glass morphing into each other. I always enjoy creative efforts that remind me of the art and beauty of glass as a material. I spend so much time in the business of glass that I can sometimes forget the art and the craft of it.

Dr. Gunther Horzetzky, the State Secretary of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, alluded to this in his opening remarks at the ceremony. “Nothing else is like glass,” he said. “It gives an experience no other material can provide.”

And glasstec gives an experience nothing else can provide as well. The first show day was busy, though not bustling. Wednesday was much stronger. Some attendees commented that the amount of space devoted to glass containers and bottle manufacturing had increased and this may be, but I also thought that such perception might be because of a slight reduction in the number of architectural glass-related stands.

Among machinery manufacturers there was a mood of optimism drawn from a phenomenon known as pent-up demand. Except for companies in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), purchases of large equipment during the past two years has been slim. “After awhile you have to buy new machinery just as a maintenance issue,” said one manufacturer. “You have to upgrade and replace the obsolete. This is the type of buyer we are seeing here.” And all such buyers must compete with those in the BRIC countries, who are purchasing the most efficient machinery around, making for a very interesting time to buy.