On the Road with USGlass

A Show in Two Parts, Part Two

Now that the Glassbuild America (GBA) show has been in the rear view mirror for nearly two weeks, it’s even clearer that the first half, thanks to Hurricane Irma, was pretty much a proverbial wash-out. But the second half, Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, was quite respectable.

Not to overdo the two-show analogy, but I have always contended it’s actually two shows anyway. The odd years in Atlanta attract more serious buyers and more machinery manufacturers; the even years in Vegas still get buyers, but also attract people who don’t mind combining a bit of business with all that Las Vegas has to offer.

So it makes sense that the serious buyers who could get there would. They did and turned out for the second half of the show. And they came to buy. Machinery and truck manufacturers, for the most part were happy with the attendance because that is what serious buyers come to do—buy. But those introducing new products, or hoping for a massive untapped audience, will need to wait another year.

Our assistant marketing manager Jenna Reed ready for business Tuesday morning at Glassbuild. Jenna volunteered to go to Atlanta early and beat Irma in.

And even though a bit condensed in time and missing some notable companies, there was still trend-spotting to be done. Here are some I made note of:

  1. AI Appears: predicative and compound reasoning is in the beginning stages of being utilized by some machinery manufacturers. The use is very exploratory and introductory, but will grow as it has in other industries. By the way, 60 Minutes had a fascinating report on Artificial Intelligence a few months back. If you haven’t seen it, I think you will want to.
  2. New Curves: Xinbao Glass showed its tempered glass with multiple and custom curves. Some wondered if it signaled more changing technologies.
  3. Just a Little Lift: Glass handling has come of age in the past 24 months with the increased offerings and acceptance of handles that move, raise and help set lites of glass that traditionally require sets or two or more men. Companies such as Wood’s Powr-Grip, SmartLift/Great Lakes Lifting and Bailey Specialty Cranes & Aerials, offered efficient products that garnered real interest as opposed to curiosity. On the other end of the spectrum was CarryMate from Dr. Gold & Goldanco, a neat little product from Europe that wants to be an alternative to vacuum lifts here in the states.
  4. Ode to the Environment: The desire to provide environmentally-friendly products has advanced to the point where such features are being included as a matter of course. Witness the new Palmer VOC-compliant Mirro-Mastic the company debuted.

    Chris Palmer-Ball (left) and his brother Lawrence (right) of Palmer Mirro-Mastic, explain their new VOC compliant mastic.
  5. No Shortage of Shortages: Glass shortages, whether real or just perceived, were atop most discussion stacks. Fueled by some regular maintenance, higher than anticipated demand as well as reduced capacity due to plant fires and unanticipated repairs, a tightening of available glass is a becoming real.