Machine fashionista

Vitrum 2007: Elegant venue, larger booths, new sectors highlight Milan show
Sahely Mukerji
December 1, 2007

Cutting-edge, gleaming machines in various shapes and sizes flaunted their superior capabilities at the 15th Vitrum International trade fair for machinery, equipment and systems for the processing of flat and hollow glass; glass and finished products for the industry, Oct. 3-6. Olive-skinned, raven-haired hostesses offered free wine and hors d’ oeuvre at bars that were part of most of the booths. The new venue, Fiera Milano, at Rho Pero, Italy, stood proud and classy like the equipment on the tradeshow floor.

The blue carpeted catwalk covered 31,560 square meters of net space occupied by 581 companies. The largest contingency, 308, was from Italy, followed by 72 German companies and 43 Chinese companies.

“The number of foreign exhibitors is up 61.54 percent,” said Dino Fenzi, honorary president, Gimav, and president, Vitrum, in a Vitrum release. “Among the EU [European Union] countries, Germany, the U.K., France and Holland evidenced positive growth trends.”

Among non-EU countries, the United States, Taiwan and China all increased their numbers.

The show featured four product areas: Flat glass processing machinery; VHG or Vitrum Hollow Glass: hollow glass processing machinery; VTE or Vacuum Coating Technology; and Glassware.

Exhibitors at Hollow Glass and Vacuum Tech & Coating Expo sections occupied more than 2,000 square meters. The hollow glass section featured 75 companies from nine countries: Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, U.S., Switzerland, and Taiwan. Experts spoke on vacuum tech and coating. A Solar Glass Conference took place Oct. 5.

“We wanted to give [hollow glass] a personality this year and decided to give it a section and call it VHG,” said Renata Gaffo, general manager, Vitrum and Gimav, the Italian glass processing machinery and accessories suppliers’ association. “It’s a very small technical sector with few manufacturers and few customers.” The jump in foreign attendance at the show is because of the hollow glass sector, she said.

The vacuum coating technology, used in plastic and wood industries, has recently been introduced to the glass industry in manufacturing solar cells, Gaffo said.

As customary, the show saw the launch of many state-of-the-art glass processing machinery and equipment. However, not many exhibitors showed glass as an end product. OmniDecor, of Erba, Italy, a manufacturer of satin-finished glass, chose not to exhibit at Vitrum for this reason.

“The big players, such as Asahi, Saint-Gobain, Pilkington and PPG don’t need to come to shows to sell their products; they sell without advertising,” Gaffo said. “That’s why Vitrum doesn’t have glass as end product. For 2009, my dream will be to give the visitors glass as a product and not just the machinery.”

The models, the designers
More attendees showed this year than any other to watch the marvelous machines strut their stuff. The dark and sultry models grabbed as much attention as their hot, fiery counterparts.

Exhibitors offered mixed reviews of the machines and the show. Sassi Monia, representative of RBB of Italy, said this year’s show is much like the past show as far as sales were concerned. RBB sells cutting, lifting and drilling machines; 5 percent of its exports are to the United States.

Federica Bovone, saleswoman, Bovone, Italy, said the company sold quite a few machines, mostly edgers. It introduced the ELB 102, a slick straight line edging machine for flat edges, at the show.

Brian Martineau, sales agent, Besana Lovati, Italy, showed the Giant 42, a show-stopper on the fair runway. It is “the largest CNC machine in the world with five axes that grind, and polish the bevel and the edge on shaped glasses with internal and external curves, straight-line edges and mitered corners.” He also showed the Double Edger SQ 10T fitted with a new automatic adjustment of diamond wheels, improving setup time; and the new Trapano Verticale VD 21H/220 NC drill of CMB S.p.A. of Italy. The new Strato Advance SX cutter from Macotec of Italy cuts laminated glass and was introduced worldwide Oct. 5, Martineau said.

Alessandro Fenzi, managing director, Fenzi S.p.A., (see Looking Glass) said he made a lot of contacts at the show and was satisfied with the attendance. The company introduced an extension of its Tempver decorative paint range, increasing color variants from 10 to 16. It also launched its Web-based service to access recipes for mixing basic colors allowing customers an immediate response to the requests for RAL, Pantone and NCS colors.

“This is the best show in the world for glass processing machinery,” Fenzi said. “glasstec is at the same level, it’s larger, and under certain terms it’s less focused. Vitrum is more user-friendly.”

Pia Salonen, marketing communication manager, Glaston Tamglass, Finland, said the company was presenting the best of its machines at the show, and Albat + Wirsam desks near each machine displayed the software solution for that specific model. “The new venue is beautiful; it’s made for Vitrum,” said Maddalena De Tomasi, marketing communication manager, Glaston Italy S.p.A. The company hosted a news conference on the opening day.

Vitrododi S.p.A.’s machines were selling like designer dresses flying off of a sales rack. The company had sold eight machines in three days, said Luigi Dodi, export manager. He showed the new SFX vertical arrising machine and the new horizontal washing machine.

Merja Gronlund, executive assistant, Glass-robots Oy, Finland, which displayed the new RoboTemp flat tempering machine, said the show hadn’t been too busy. “The new location is nice, but the commute from the hotel to the venue is not,” she said. “They should have had the infrastructure in place before starting the show here.”

Silvia Villa, PR person, Sciatti Angelo S.r.l., Italy, showed the new MS1532 arrising seaming machine. The prototype’s on the floor, she said, and has gotten a lot of enquiries. A petite model’s on its way.

“This show is different from two years ago,” said Dan De Gorter, manufactures agent, De Gorter Inc., Monroe, N.C. “There are less people, but more are interested in the machines. I’ve seen only six American customers in three days.”

Bottero Glass Technologies, with U.S. headquarters in Florence, Ky., is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and had a 2,000-square-meter booth, the largest on the floor. “This is the best show we’ve had in a long time,” said Gary L. Bricker, vice president. “We’ve sold at least eight to 10 machines.” Bottero introduced three machines at the show: the 780 DMW double drilling machine, the Titan double edgers, and the Pratica GLP three-axis CNC processings. In all, the company had 15 powerful and curvy attention-grabbers on the floor.

Lisec, Austria, officials echoed Bricker. “For a long time we haven’t had such a good show,” said Manfred Lesiak, marketing event manager. Lisec introduced a laminated glass line, Lisec C.M.I., which can laminate two small sized panels side by side for increased output; and a vertical water jet cutting and edge working line, WSL/D, specifically designed for glass doors. “It can finish a typical glass door, 2 meters by 1 meter, in 90 seconds,” he said. “It has two towers for quicker production.” At the new venue, “the traffic situation is bad, the layout is confusing and registration was complicated, but the architecture [of Fiera Milano] is good.”

Baroni Elisa, sales manager of Nuovo Oxidal S.r.l. of Italy said, “We got a lot of leads and had about 400 visitors in three days. But the new venue is too spread out and not well connected.” The company exports primarily to North Africa, Central America, the Middle East and Russia.

Intermac of Italy, part of Biesse S.p.A., had “an interesting show,” said Carlo Strappa, marketing representative. The company had a 1,100-square-meter stall exhibiting two lines, one cutting table, four CNC work centers, a single machine for pencil edge and a drill. The shiny cutting table with new laser device for coating removal was the new babe on the stage. “We have had less visitors than at glasstec [last year], but signed 10 to 15 contracts,” Strappa said. Ten percent of the company’s total glass exports is to America.

Nancy Mammaro, representative of Mappi International S.r.l., Italy, reported a busy show. The company introduced its Touch System software for tempering lines that allows for better control and checking of the production line. “It’s unusual for us to get orders at a show, but we already have two orders in three days,” she said.

The fair was busy for Peter Nischwitz, corporate communications manager, Bystronic Glass, Germany. “Vitrum’s more for the east European market, but we’ve seen customers from South America this year, uncommon for this show,” he said. Ninety percent of Bystronic products are exported, and 20 percent of the export goes to the U.S., he said. The company introduced a fast, compact sealer for IG units. “It’s a value added program for our customers,” he said. “It can be installed in one-to-two days; it’s fast due to its compact design; it’s reliable and guaranteed for 24 months with a replacement package and one-day training.” The company sold two of those babies in three days and made many contacts, he said.

Forvet of Italy had a good show, said Sebastiano Bisotto, project and automation manager. The company introduced an increased capability Chiara 2500 MTP, an automatic, numerically controlled grinding machine that grinds and polishes all four sides of the glass, simultaneously, and showed four machines in all. “We’ve had about 400 visitors in three days,” he said.

Benteler Maschinenbau, Germany, introduced the Multi CNC Processing Center and sold five grinding-drilling lines in the first few days, said Thomas Oberndorfer, head of sales, Glass Processing Machinery.

“We’ve also had visitors for automotive glass and photovoltaic products and seen visitors from S. America, Canada, the U.S. and all of Europe.” 

Uniglass Engineering Oy of Finland did not introduce any models but showed development of existing lines, said Kaj Vallikari, area sales manager. “We’ve had mostly European customers, few American prospects,” he said. “We’re not trying to get into the Chinese market; we’re busy as is.”

Christoph Rubel, operations manager, Edgetech Europe GmBH, Germany, said, “We sold a couple of vertical line washing machines, a platen press, and got about 150 leads. We saw visitors from South America, Eastern. Europe, Northern Europe and the Middle East.”

CMS of Italy sold six machines in three days and made many contacts, said Steve Paul, area sales manager, Eastern U.S. The company showed an arising, grinding and drilling line, the Compact Drill drilling/ milling machine and a washing machine. Ten to 15 percent of the company’s export goes to the United States.

Ricardo Davila Montero, sales manager, Prodim International BV, The Netherlands, reported “a lot of traffic.” The company introduced the Unfold software that can measure curved glass figures in two dimensions for CNC machines. It sold 10 machines at the show.

Roberto Benecchi, export and intragroup sales manager brand MAB, Assa-Abloy, Italy, reported a “slower show than the previous time.”

The company introduced the Stremler sliding gear system in which the hardware and the clamps are integrated in the system itself, and the stainless-steel Cilindric Swing Doors.

Harald Kappele, marketing communications, Albat + Wirsam, Germany, said his company had “a quiet show.”

Randy W. Croson, director of sales, Glasstech Inc., Perrysburg, Ohio, echoed Kappele. Glasstech introduced AutoGlassInspector that quantifies the optical quality of backlites and windshields by numerically evaluating the transmitted optical distortion in a just-formed glass part.

Giardina of Italy had a better show this year than the previous Vitrum, said Nicoletta Campaci, area sales manager. The company introduced its Edge-Line Roller and Dekoroller printing machine that churns out pretty lines, and the Dekoroller got a lot of attention, she said. “We saw a lot of French and Mexican customers,” she said. “The French were not coming in the last four years.”

Csm Tecno S.r.l. of Italy had “an OK show,” said Davalli Francesco, sales representative. “We haven’t seen anyone from North America or Asia,” he said. “China Glass has become so big and so international that the Asians don’t need to come to Europe. The big market is now in Eastern Europe, but North America used to be the best market and will be back. It’s hard to sell now in North America because of the rating change.” Csm introduced Combinat, a cutting table that cuts laminated and float glass together.

The Chinese models were not much of a hit on the tradeshow catwalk. “The show was no good” for Suntech Machinery Co., China, said Rimmon Chen, vice manager of sales. “We have had about 20 visitors, and our stand is only 18 square meters,” he said. “At glasstec, our stand was 108 square meters.”

Mingte Glass Technology Co. of China had a similar experience. “We haven’t sold anything and haven’t had many visitors,” said Julia Zhu, international sales manager. “We have handed out only about 300 catalogues in four days.”

Landglass of China came to Vitrum to introduce itself, said Zhou Hui, company representative. “We are 6 years old; we have made no sale and had only about a 100 visitors in four days.”

The next crop of chic machines will parade back to Vitrum Oct. 28-31, 2009.



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