glasstec 2012 reflects attendees' positive outlook in the face of economic uncertainty
The mood among many of the 43,000 attendees at glasstec 2012 was positive, despite uncertainties surrounding the global economy and glass market. While the European and Chinese segments show signs of softening, many exhibitors reported increasing confidence and strength in the long-stagnant North American market.
Paul Witherby, business development manager for Klein USA Inc., said several North American markets are showing particular promise. "Toronto is hot. I heard that there are currently 150 cranes in the sky there. Comparatively, during the peak of the economy in Miami, there were 60 cranes," Witherby said. "We're also seeing a lot of activity on the East Coast: New York, D.C., Philadelphia." Witherby said he expects the U.S. market to ramp up further after the election, as "I still see some reluctance due to the election. Projects, people are waiting for that decision."
Don Friese, CEO of C.R. Laurence Co., agreed that many people are "waiting for the election. However, there are people that invest in any economy, and this downturn has been no different," he said.
On the show floor
The 2012 glasstec exhibition, held Oct. 23-26 in Düsseldorf, Germany, drew about 43,000 visitors to view product and service offerings from 1,162 exhibitors representing all segments of the glass industry.
"glasstec 2012 sent out a clear positive signal for the sector in economic times that are difficult to predict," said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Ungeheuer, president of glasstec 2012 and chairman of the management board of SCHOTT AG, in a glasstec release.
"Exhibitors reported good order activity among their customers. This shows that glasstec came exactly at the right time," said Hans Werner Reinhard, deputy managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, the event organizer, in the release. "This news does the sector good and underlines the international importance of the trade fair."
Stefan Hafenscher, marketing for LiSEC, said the show proved successful for the glass machinery supplier. The company sold the machines it had on the floor and met with numerous potential customers from all over the world, he said. LiSEC showed several complete production lines at the show, demonstrating more than 25 individual machines.
"We have the largest stand at the show, and our booth has been consistently busy," Hafenscher said. "We saw between 700 and 800 visitors on the first day alone, and expect that number was even higher on the second and third days."
GED Integrated Solutions was a first-time exhibitor at glasstec. "We're absolutely astounded by the number of people, the quality of leads and the level of interest," said Joe Shaheen, director of sales and marketing. "In the [United States], people are familiar with our products. But, it is a different world here, and people are very excited to be introduced to our machines." By the fourth day of the show, GED had received strong leads from representatives of 70 countries, according to officials.
In addition to introducing new products, companies announced new investments. Quanex hosted a press conference, October 24, where Mike Hovan, senior vice president, discussed new developments at the company, with a focus on its insulating glass systems business. The IG segment of the company will be adding production lines and increasing capacity during the remainder of 2012 and throughout 2013. "We are set to produce 1 billion feet of product in 2013," Hovan said.
The economic recession has not stalled innovation in the industry, as evidenced by the glass technology live area of the show. With the topic "Innovative Glass Functions", Prof. Stefan Behling and his team from the Stuttgart University's Institute of Construction Design showcased practical products for the near and distant future. These included a window incorporated into glazing without any visible frame construction; bent but still stable glass; organic, building-integrated photovoltaics; as well as large-format façade elements.
Of the exhibitors, 67 percent were non-German companies, including 57 U.S. companies. A special feature at glasstec 2012 was the North American Pavilion, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America and co-sponsored by the National Glass Association. A total of 20 companies presented their latest technologies within the pavilion.
Full coverage of glasstec 2012 will appear in the December issue of Glass Magazine. View photos from the show floor and read about the new products introduced here.
glasstec 2014 will take place in October in Düsseldorf. For more information, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America, www.mdna.com.