The 2014 edition of glasstec is in the books and quite simply, it was amazing. Having never been to this event I did not know what to expect, and despite studying like crazy I was still caught off guard by the pure size of everything. Mostly every booth (or stand as they call them at this show) was monstrous. The equipment on display was breathtaking, and as a glass geek, I just was in awe at so much of it. If there was a disappointment (other than horrendous Internet at my hotel), it was the weakness in glass technology. I did not see the innovation that I expected, and honestly I think we had more innovation with glass products at GlassBuild. But that was minor, because the equipment, the software, and the ability to see how people do things from all over the world was more than enough to make this an incredibly memorable week.
Overall, the show was packed, and people were very positive about the future. The only scary part was the scuttlebutt about tightening glass supply in North America, and the very obvious and frustrating lack of trucking that is causing delivery delays. The themes of 2015 will be logistics and planning, because our industry is not the same as it was five years ago. We have fewer float plants, fewer available trucks and drivers, and now major improving economic conditions. If you are a fabricator, you need to plan and inventory differently than you have in the past, and if you are a glazier, make sure you and your fabricator are communicating lead times effectively, because they may be disrupted due to transport issues. I will have much more on this in the coming weeks.
As I always do after a show, here is the seen and heard:
- Hardware was everywhere, and great usages and advancements continue. That all-glass look with classy hardware is just awesome, and it’s only going to get better. What was the “in” product that seemed to be everywhere? Blinds in-between glass. Stunning, since that is not exactly a new technology. Also, quite a bit of decorative, though I heard from many that the styles on display were not eye-catching, and I must agree.
- The busiest booth? Guardian. Especially on day three of the show. The place was like a Vegas nightclub, with people jam-packed in there. Somewhere in that mass of humanity I did get to chat with the super Amy Hennes, who now has helped point me the right direction at yet another show. Thankfully, I got in on day one of the show before the masses descended on their spot. Also, great to visit with Chris Dolan, Jay Phillips, and Matt Hill. I feel horrible I never could spend time with my favorite Chinese connection, Dan Plotnick. He was just too busy. But not seeing me is best for his street cred in China.
- Coolest machinery? Everything I saw was awesome, but two stood out for me. First, the loading/unloading robot that the tremendous guys from Salem showed me at the Bovone booth. That will help efficiency in plants for sure. Second, the cutter from Turomas Tecnocat was incredible. Fast, quiet, and seriously effective. I watched in awe for a while, including a part where it cut 1-inch thick glass like a hot knife through butter. Thank you to Juan Pablo Herrera of IGE for getting me my own private demo there.
- Seen out and about:
I visited with Doug Marren at Eastman and even saw Aimee Davis as well. She no longer works on our side of the industry, so I never get to see her. So, that was a treat. I met, for the first time, Ruby Singh of Glassfab, who is a seriously good guy. And it was nice to see Mike Goldfarb, also of Glassfab. I had not seen Doug Studt from Torstenson Glass in quite a while, so it was super to run into him. And, it’s always a pleasure and honor to see Bernard Lax of Pulp Studios.
Pat Kenny of PPG was stationed right across from the NGA\WDDA booth, so catching up with him was excellent. It was his first glasstec in many years. Meanwhile Max Hals was making yet another triumphant appearance at the show. He has been at the show every year since 1982. Such a good man, and glad we have the same name, as people confuse us sometimes. I benefit from that deal that’s for sure! Getting to chat with Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius is the best. He interrupted a conversation with others to say hi to me, and I appreciate that. I was able to spend time with Manny Borda of IGE, which was fantastic—pure class, that man is. And speaking of class as well as “cool,” Michael Schmidt of Forel fits that description. Meeting with him in the massive Forel exhibition was a neat experience. And while in that booth I visited with Steve Bouchard of Glass Distributors Inc., which was totally enjoyable.
No Diego Cuevas of Onyx, as he had to work Greenbuild, but their booth was busy, and I got to meet the very sharp and intelligent Mila Plaza who was covering the stand for them. I love that solar is gaining traction. Getting a few minutes with Steve Weidner of NSG/Pilkington was awesome. He treats me better than I deserve. Always good to see Scott Hoover of Tecglass/Arrow as well as spending a little time with Carey and Chris Mobius of Garibaldi.
As for the not seen... I saw Devin Bowman of TGP at the airport in Atlanta, but never saw him at the show. Rob Botman and Jordan Richards of Glassopolis were at the show, but never saw them, and rumor has it they owned the town at night with legendary outings. Nice.
- Last, on my final day there, I went for a nice (but icy cold) run along the Rhein. Portions of my lungs I think are still behind in Germany floating along that river. Somewhere my running idol, Jeff Ziesche of CRL/US Aluminum, has to be smiling about that one.
I’m sure I missed more than one thing and we’ll catch that next week as we return once again to normal.
The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.