glasstec’s Top Five

We are half way through glasstec, that amalgamation of everything and anything glass. After all, where else can you find bottle molds next to point-supported glass systems and around the corner from crystal jewelry? In two short days, a number of trends have emerged from the massive booths that stretch across nine halls. Here are my top five picks for trends thus far:

  1. Thin is In — Pushing the limits of manufacturing new records in glass thicknesses are being set. Cooltemper was promoting the manufacture of a fully-tempered (that’s fully tempered) 2 mm thick glass. But the big news was the expansion of Gorilla Glass by its manufacturer Corning into the architectural glass category. Commonly found on such everyday items as IPADs and Iphones, Gorilla Glass is extremely thin and, given its conductive capabilities, should make for very some very interesting architectural applications.
  2. Shade in the Made –– Made product that is. This year’s show sports a number of double-glazed windows and commercial systems that include blinds, shades, fabric, you name it, as the meat in the center of the glass sandwich.
  3. It Ain’t the Machine, It’s the Motion –– In a year that will not be known for a tremendous amount in terms of real new product innovation, machines designed to move  and/or help glass on job sites have been the star. Bigger and better automatic lifting machines, some that look like they are related to Dr. Octopus from Spider Man movie, dotted the floor. Some displayed  a level of sophistication that made you wonder if glaziers would some day be replaced on jobs three stories or less.
  4. VIG = Very Interesting Glass — It wasn’t just the actual insulating units themselves but the development of new machinery used to fabricate it. Fully automated and high yield fabrication machinery abounds, suggesting an expectation of high production of these units in the future.
  5. When is Glass Not Glass? Whether it’s a rocker, an adirondack chair, a trampoline or bathtub (yup, bathtub), glass is displayed here in applications I could never have dreamed — but at least one person did.

Innovations are not limited to display products however. This year’s show sports a number of organizational changes, not the least of which was the debut of a handy-dandy sheet with all the exhibitor names and booth numbers … a show catalogue light if you will, for which many tired editors and publishers were grateful. The Messe itself has undergone some minor renovations with some additional enclosures between building and added space for an employee cafeteria on the second floor of Hall 17 — with large glass windows thankfully. The floor to ceiling wired glass in the exit doors still exist however … also new this year some attendees are actually sporting badges. There is no requirement that you wear it but people are starting to do so. Each badge has a QR code as well, allowing exhibitors to capture their guest’s information electronically.