Glasstec wraps up successfully, unscathed by economic crisis

Sahely Mukerji
November 26, 2008

Despite the abysmal economy in the U.S. and abroad, glasstec ended on a successful note with more than 1,300 exhibitors and more than 55,000 visitors from across the world. The attendance was a slight improvement over last glasstec, according to a Messe Dusseldorf release, Oct. 25. About 58 percent of the visitors were from outside of Germany. France, Italy and the U.S. posted increases in their attendance figures, and more than half the visitors were in the top management.

The show took place Oct. 21-25 at the fairgrounds in Dusseldorf, Germany, and occupied more than 73,000 square meters of net exhibition space.

“The show has been very good from an international perspective,” said Larry Johnson, executive vice president, Edgetech I.G., Cambridge Ohio. He’s seen more Americans than he thought he would, he said. The company has sold automated super spacer lines, got a full container load of orders for spacers and finalized quite a few deals. “The economy hasn’t slowed the attendance down as much as we thought.” This is the time to lean the manufacturing process and get better machines, he said. “There are a lot less IGs and windows being made, and there is a 300-million-feet shrinkage in the IG spacer market, according to research,” he said. “So the share of your pie will shrink with that. People can’t be just looking at reducing prices by using inferior, non-tested equipment. They have to buy machines from well-known companies.”

And what better place to buy name brand products than the world’s largest glass equipment show?

“People from all over the world buy here because it’d be more expensive to buy in their own country or the product would not be available at all,” said Ralf B. Ackermann, sales director, Bohle AG, Germany. The company had an 1100-square-meter booth with 12 machines for glass processing, and varied manual and industrial glass cutting tools. “It’s been an excellent show,” he said. “It’s been overwhelming. We sold Euro 200,000-Euro 250,000 worth of just small tools. And we’ve gotten a lot of inquires on big machines, which if they come through, we’ll be busy supplying far into the new year.” Bohle recently opened their 14th international location in the U.S., in Charlotte, N.C.

The show was busy for General Glass International, Secaucus, N.J., said Richard Balik, vice president and general manager, Specialty Glass Division. "I was hard pressed to see all the people I needed to see and to work at meeting new sources. The show was a successful one for GGI."

Mauro R. DiFazio, vice president float glass sales, Zeledyne, Tulsa, reported a busy show. “It doesn’t seem like the economy’s affecting,” he said. “I’ve seen quite a few Americans, similar number as the last glasstec. We got new leads and have had a better show than the last glasstec.”

Said Mike Boyle, president, GlasWeld, Bend, Ore.: “This is one of our more successful shows, better than last glasstec.” The company reduces glass scrap by 90 percent in the U.S. and is the largest glass repairer franchise in the U.K. “Europeans have more value-added glass and are more environmentally friendly. We’re pioneering a sustainability message in flat glass.”

C.R. Laurence Co., Los Angeles, which will expand its location in Germany and open an office in the U.K., also had positive reports. "We had a very good show, at least as good as the last glasstec, and made hundreds of good contacts," said Paul M. Daniels, vice president of sales. The company introduced its Taper Loc and locking ladder pull at the show.

Allmetal, Itasca, Ill., saw “about as many visitors as last glasstec and got real good leads, especially from Middle Eastern and Eastern countries, such as the Russian states,” said Jon DeVoogd, Midwest regional sales representative. “They asked smart questions. The Americans were looking and talking about where the market is going, somewhat of a wait-and-see approach.”

Lisec, Germany, had a very successful show. “I expect this glasstec to be the best for us in history,” said Manfred Lesiak, Marketing, event manager, who has been with the company for 30 years. “It’s just amazing and unexpected. We’re not experiencing the economic crisis in the U.S. GBA was a surprise too. I’ve never had such a good American show.”

Domenico Tanera, export area manager, OmniDecor, Italy, said they had a better show than last glasstec. “The economic trouble hasn’t touched us because we’re a niche company,” he said. “People who buy Porsche and Ferrari will continue to Porsche and Ferrari. We’re specialized, so we’re OK.”

Sevasa, Spain, reported a good show, “better than last glasstec,” said Mercedes Cifuentes, sales manager. “We made about 200 contacts, 150 of which are new. There were many Americans this time; last time there weren’t so many.”

Anne Pesonen, marketing coordinator, Uniglass, Finland, reported a good first day. “We had current customers and prospective customers visiting, especially from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Arab Emirates,” she said.

Glaston, Finland, parent company of Uniglass, had a good show, said Mika Seitovirta, president and CEO. “It’s good to know that investment needs are still here. We got quite a few serious good contacts.” The company had a 2000-square-meter booth with about 10 machines, mostly pre-processing machines, also bending machines and furnace parts. Glaston introduced six of those 10 at the show. It also has a virtual factory at the booth.

“The show’s so far so good, busy” said Debbie Lang, marketing assistant, Vesuvius, with U.S. offices in Champaign, Ill. “It’s a lot busier than last time with a lot more customers and potential customers.” The company got about 30 leads as of Oct. 23 morning.

Bystronic, Germany, had a 1,500-square-meter booth with six machines on the floor, a lami line and handling devices. “It’s a quite good show,” said Iris Minten, PR/Online Communication. The company introduced the Film Trimmer and the Champ Speed Grind for automotive glass at the show.

Bottero, Germany, had a similar report. “The show’s very well; better than 2006” said Bud Hudgins, regional sales manager, based in Kernersville, N.C. “I’ve seen double the number of Americans than last time. The Americans are skeptical about the economy, but the Europeans are not fazed, they’re spending.” The company had 18 machines on the floor, three of which it introduced at the show.

“The show was very good for our group, better than expected,” said Alessandro Fenzi, CEO, Fenzi Group, Italy. “We had more customers compared to last glasstec. The general economic situation, of course, was a continuous topic of discussion, but our customer base is made of very sound and performing companies who will be able to be successful also in this difficult moment.” The group launched a number of new products and technologies at the show and had a lot of "first orders" on those, he said.

Renata Gaffo, president, Gimav, Italy, agreed. “It’s a good show, similar to last time,” she said. “There might be a little less people, but they are better quality. They are serious about buying. The tickets to the show are more expensive this year, so there are only serious buyers.”

Glasstec returns to Düsseldorf Sept. 28-Oct. 2 Oct., 2010.

E-mail Sahely Mukerji, senior editor, at