On the Road with USGlass, USGlass

Glassy Eyes at glasstec

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.

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

And by Wednesday morning the floodgates opened and attendees poured in, clogging and jamming the aisles for most of the day. All of the major manufacturers were pleased. Gone are the days when Guardian had its “little stand in the corner.” Today, it, along with Saint Gobain, have among the largest manufacturer presences, and there was a literal crush of humanity in both stands most of Wednesday.

Reviews were mixed on the presence of U.S. attendees. “I think it’s down,” said Leon Silverstein of Aldora who was walking the show floor. “It seems to me that less Americans came this year.” Others felt there was greater U.S. participation than had been seen in years, and show organizers confirmed this as fact.

The quality of decorative glass technology seemed the top concern for attendees.
The quality of decorative glass technology seemed the top concern for attendees.

Decorative remains king this year with an increase in the number of companies providing paint, ceramic inks and another materials used. The quality of products being offered continues to advance as well.

A number of products and projects garnered a great deal of interest. In particular the display of ultra thin glass (basically the same glass as the new iPhone) super-sized, super thin and curved in an eye-popping display.

The star of the show was this ultra thin, heavily curved piece in Hall 11.
The star of the show was this ultra thin, heavily curved piece in Hall 11.
Here's close up of it, half as thin as a penny.
Here’s close-up of it, half as thin as a penny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schott’s Mirona Glass is a semi-transparent mirror that seems to change to mirror to glass “magically” as the company said.

Another product garnering a fair amount of attention was Schott’s Mirona Glass, a semi-transparent mirror that seems to change to mirror to glass “magically” as the company said, and the amount of interest it garnered did indeed seem magical.

The day ended with a fun celebration of a 35th anniversary—that of Edgetech’s warm edge super spacer technology. Edgetech (now part of Quanex) started its trajectory just two years before I entered the industry and it has been heartwarming to watch its growth. I felt a good deal of pride for the people of Edgetech, as they are still known in Europe, and all they have accomplished.

Then it was onto the evening … and a warm and poignant one it was as our friends at GIMAV, the Italian association of machinery manufacturers, held a lovely reception to update the press about the next Vitrum, coming next October in Milan. The evening, and all of the glasstec for that matter, was poignant because it was the first such gathering without the monumental presence of Dr. Dino Fenzi, who passed away just weeks ago.

If you haven’t had a chance to, you may want to take a look at our daily newscasts on usgnn.com. They give you an incredible flavor of what it is like to be at this show. Our crew ended the day with a glasstec tradition—we hit our favorite restaurant-with-bowling alley (single lane) Restaurant Maria for a fun dinner.

I jumped, I yelled, I stomped but nothing could pull Ian Paitan's eyes from his phone.....oh well.
I jumped, I yelled, I stomped but nothing could pull the eyes of Ian Patlin of Paragon Architectural Products from his smart phone. Hi Ian.

More later.