Monday, March 30, 2015

Dedicated to automation within the glass industry, the three-day 2015 Glass Processing Automation Days, held March 18-20 in San Antonio, hosted 14 machinery and software companies presenting solutions for automated glass processes. The event focused on the catchphrase "Automation, Integration and Innovation," and GPAD’s sponsoring machinery manufacturers and attending glass fabricators discussed the latest solutions for everyday problems.

So, what are the major drivers of development in software and equipment for the glass industry?  Presenters, officials from event organizer FeneTech, and attendees boiled it down to four factors: efficiency, cost, safety, and quality and value. 

  1. Efficiency.
    Every automated machine discussed during GPAD addressed the need for increased efficiency and production while reducing labor, handling and waste in the glass fabrication factory. However, one of the biggest new product announcements also addressed building end-use efficiency, with a solution for increasing building energy savings using the latest glass technologies. Michael Spellman and Hermann Frey of IGE Glass Technologies announced the new vacuum insulated glass fabrication line from LandGlass. While the concept of VIG isn’t new, the concept of using tempered glass for VIG is new, according to company officials. LandGlass has developed a solution that marries the demand for increased aesthetics with energy-efficient benefits. A LandGlass VIG unit offers heat and sound insulation equal to a studded insulated wall, anti-dewing properties, wind load resistance, high-performance and longevity to building facades, compared to the traditional IGU, according to the presentation given by Spellman and Frey.
  2. Cost.
    Closely tied to increasing efficiency is cost. Glass fabricators are seeking ways to reduce cost by reducing labor, waste or production time. One solution discussed during GPAD was Vitrosep’s automatic water filtration system, which needs no manual involvement while it continuously cleans and reuses water and coolant. “The more competition we have, the more efficient we must be,” says Josep Sais, general manager for Vitrosep. “Legislation is also becoming more difficult. Water treatment is important for combatting both.”
  3. Safety.
    By carefully considering each step of storing, loading and cutting glass, Turomas-Tecnocat has developed machines that integrate automatic and manual functions to maximize efficiency, but most importantly, increase safety in the workplace. Machine flexibility creates safer environments, says Javier Rios, communications manager of Turomas.
  4. Quality and value.
    Because customers are demanding more from glass—jumbo sizes, irregular shapes, etc.—glass fabricators are offering value-added products. Roberto Nori, general manager of Denver S.p.A. asks, “How can we eliminate tooling costs, handling costs and waste across these different machines? How can we achieve superior quality while also dealing with out-of-square, shaped patterns?” He says integrated, automatic machinery deals with the modern issues glass fabricators now face.

Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, other Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, March 23, 2015

There was a mix of economic-related news that populated my Twitter feed last week. First the good news, where on a link from Conners Sales (@ConnersSales) any initial fears about the awful housing starts number from last month were calmed. Basically the analyst called it “winter” and said to wait another month. That’s good enough for me. Then the bad news came up via Ted Bleecker (@TedBleecker) with a story on the scary debt situation in China. Surely one to continue to monitor especially since it will have a massive effect on the world economy. Both items will be big drivers and warrant following along.


  • Quick family note: I'm absolutely thrilled about my nephew Josh joining the fine folks at Pleotint. As any reader of this blog knows, I am a huge proponent of dynamic glazing and its usage and potential. Great to see Josh signing on to that world, and I'm very excited to see what great things they do together.
  • Last week I posed two questions at the end of my blog: one on ultra thin glass and one on the upcoming Apple Watch. I really was blown away by some of the insights I received, and learned a lot as well. The great Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP educated me on a few things including ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which is being used in glazing areas on some really intense projects. Overall on the thin glass question, the issue of finding the sweet spot for usage was the theme. As for the watch, universally negative responses toward its success. Apple has not failed with a product launch in a very long time, so we’ll see if their winning streak is up or we’re all missing the boat here. Thanks again to all who responded!
  • Congrats and good luck to Margaret Brune who recently joined the tremendous team at Saand as a manufacturer's rep in the Michigan market. Once again a good match of company and salesperson. I’m glad I’m not involved in sales anymore, because back in the day I had to compete with Margaret and she crushed me on a daily basis…
  • Over in England there’s a very strong daily blog called Double Glazing Blogger, and the author had a post last week that was very interesting. The use of quadruple glazing in China, combined with a video of a 57-story building in China going up in just 19 days using the quad glazing system. Just crazy how things get done over there… I wonder, will the quadruple glazing run come this way? Given that triple glazing has not gained as much market share in North America as the experts predicted, I’d guess this one going mainstream is still far off.
  • And while on the subject of China (my gosh, three items related to China this week and none featuring me ranting…odd): a good look here at two all-glass skyscrapers designed by SOM. The key? Huge IGUs but oriented a little differently than we are all used to.
  • Programming note, no post coming from me next week, unless of course big news happens, which right now seems doubtful as it's pretty quiet out there. Next post coming first full week of April.

Read on for links and video of the week...

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

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.

Monday, March 16, 2015

“You never know the relationships that you're going to build over social media,” said Max Perilstein last week during a presentation at the BEC Conference. No matter the platform—Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.—social media can offer glass companies exciting opportunities to create relationships, reach customers, and keep up with industry news. However, to capitalize on those opportunities, business owners need to know the options, understand the benefits, and put forth the effort. 

Below are 10 tips and considerations from Perilstein for bringing your business to social media. 

  1. Know the ‘why’ of social media
    “Why do this? It’s free PR. It’s a way to get your message out, to tell people what you are doing. It’s building your brand and helps you control your message,” Perilstein said. 
  2. Know your options
    A new social media platform seems to launch every week. Do some research to find out which platform is right for your company. Platforms that are currently big in the industry include Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and emailing programs such as MailChimp. Keep an eye out for Instagram and Pinterest as well, Perilstein recommended. 
  3. Remember to be social
    While social media offers opportunities to talk about your company’s activities, it also serves as a venue to communicate. “It's networking. Reach out, follow people, and get in conversations,” he said. 
  4. Get to know Instagram
    The photo-sharing social platform lets glass companies show off what they do best, in images. “We make beautiful, beautiful materials. We should show it off. I have a feeling this is something that is going to take off,” he said. 
  5. YouTube is more than videos
    “YouTube has hidden value—it is the second most popular search engine, after Google,” Perilstein said. 
  6. People do check those LinkedIn business pages
    Many users know LinkedIn is a great way to interact and network. However, it also hosts business pages. “There are people that look for businesses on LinkedIn. It’s another outlet—and it’s free,” he said. 
  7. Claim your Google profile
    Google offers a business profile that appears when users search your company. It includes address, hours and a description. Claim this profile to ensure that all information remains up to date and correct. 
  8. Name your social media go-to
    Make social media upkeep part of the job description for someone at your company. “You can do it yourself, or you can assign it to a person at your company. You can hire someone. Just know who is going to do it,” Perilstein said. 
  9. Make a plan
    “I recommend companies figure out the first six months before they begin. Don’t share all your content in your first week,” Perilstein said. 
  10. Stick to the plan
    “This is not going to happen overnight. This is part of a bigger plan—part of a growing online empire. You’re getting the word out about what your company does,” Perilstein said. 
Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at
Monday, March 16, 2015

After spending several days out of the office, I’m scrambling to keep up. So for this week’s blog, no lead story, just a bunch of quick hits…

--The positive economic trends in our industry are still moving along, but then again so are the continued tightening of supply and lack of consistent transportation. Last week I spoke to several industry insiders who told me they are rolling with things the best they can, but it's getting tougher every day. The key? Planning and communication. The more you do of both, the better off you will be.

--You never know what and whom you will see in Las Vegas. And while I have been there at least 40 times (in my best estimation), I have never run into anyone as epic as Steve Cohen of PPG did last week: the “baddest man on the planet,” former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. Nice! I wonder if Iron Mike will now be calling on architects with Steve; could make a convincing case to get products in the spec! Plus, props to Steve for taking a selfie with him. Way to go, my friend.

--The Glass Magazine Awards are back with the 2015 edition. Nominations are being accepted now for the products and projects portion of the annual awards program. For more info, including the specific categories, please click here!

--Caught a very interesting documentary this past week: Pink Ribbons Inc. The focus was the massive “pinkwashing” surrounding fundraising for breast cancer awareness and more importantly the lack of progress in identifying what causes breast cancer and finding better treatments or a cure. Really intriguing to watch as I have never been a fan of certain organizations jumping on board to help their own image (the NFL every October is a big one). It's frustrating to see billions of dollars raised, yet no major advancements in place. Worth the watch if you are interested.

--Now that BEC is in the books, next up are a couple of excellent regional shows, including the always-popular Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo April 29th, and then AIA May 14-16 in Atlanta. Before you know it, GlassBuild America will be here, and from all indications this year’s event will be very strong. I’m excited to see how things progress there.

--Last this week, two questions I am curious to get your opinions on: one pop culture/social and one industry.

  1. Do you think the Apple Watch will make it? I am torn. I love Apple products but have not worn or needed a watch in years. I can’t see the need when my iPhone does everything. But I’m also old and staid. Curious for other insights.
  2. At BEC, guest speaker James O’Callaghan made mention of the use of ultra thin glass. There are a few manufacturers who make it (AGC had their Dragontrail on display at GlassBuild last year), but finding a home for use is still a question. So do you think that this product will find its way into prominent places in the exterior glass world?

As always feel free to e-mail me, as I don’t monitor the comment section very closely.

Read on for links and video of the week...

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

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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

When James O'Callaghan, director, Eckersley O'Callaghan, presented the first design ideas to Steve Jobs for the Apple flagship store in SoHo, New York City, it featured all-glass stair treads paired with a metal rail system. Jobs responded, “I think you should make it all out of glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. And thus began Apple’s iconic and increasingly innovative structural glass stairs and storefronts. 

Attendees at the BEC Conference yesterday in Las Vegas were treated to a tour of the evolving innovations in glass at Apple, where designers and engineers continued to push the envelope of what is possible in glass design. 

First structural glass circular stair, at the Apple store in Osaka.

Two-story circular stair, in New York City. 

Refurbished Apple glass cube, with just 15 glass panels. 

Istanbul Apple store, made of just four massive glass panels. 

Photos by Eckersley O'Callaghan.

From the beginning, the idea was “a very simple structure,” O’Callaghan described to the group of about 400. At each step, and in each new store, “we began to strip away the levels of connection. … Each time, there is a small incremental change.” 

That first location in SoHo featured the all-glass stair rail and treads, with minimal hardware. A location designed soon after in Los Angeles includes a stair that can meet significant seismic loads. “The stair is hung rather than supported at the base, and it can accommodate lateral sway,” O’Callaghan said. 

Next came longer staircases (a 5-meter stair in Beijing), and circular staircases, like that in Osaka. “This required chemically tempered glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. From single-story circular staircases came two-story staircases (14th St. in New York).

In 2006, the company moved beyond stairs to develop a glass cube entrance to the 5th Ave. underground store in Manhattan. However, the dimensions of the cube—30 feet on each side—required 106 panels and 250 primary fittings, and thus more interruptions in the clarity of the space. 

So, the design team began investigating ways to get larger glass lites, requiring fewer connections. “We were looking for large format glazing applications where we [could] maximize transparency and minimize fittings,” O’Callaghan said. 

Working first with seele, which bought a 15-meter autoclave, O'Callaghan's designs began to feature much larger lites of glass. “However, the logistics associated with such large lites were quite challenging. There were no machines to lift the glass, or to ship the glass,” O’Callaghan said. Beijing North Glass also made large investments in equipment to produce the large lites for Apple, including developing a tempering machine to handle 12- to 13-meter curved glass for the glass drum at Apple IFC Shanghai

With large format glass now available, the company began exploring glass railings made of one lite of glass, like that used at the Hamburg, Germany Apple Store. And, in 2011, it refurbished the 5th Ave. glass cube with the large glass, totaling just 15 panels and 40 fittings. “There is a certain elegance when we start to strip down the connections,” O’Callaghan said. 

The newest developments in glass for Apple include glass walls that act as structural support for the roof structure. The company completed a store in Palo Alto, California, where glass columns support a steel roof. And, the new Apple store in Istanbul consists of just four massive panels of glass that are joined at the corner with silicone joints and topped with a carbon fiber roof. “It’s drilled down to the minimum. It’s almost not there. This is a successful conclusion regarding where we are trying to drive design,” O’Callaghan said. 

And of course, there are the large-scale architectural feats on display at the now under construction Apple headquarters

Looking ahead, O’Callaghan says even larger lites are coming, with 4 meters by 20 meters now possible. And, he sees great architectural possibilities with Corning’s Gorilla Glass, an ultra-thin, ultra-strong glass. “This is different than float glass. We are able to use a cold bending method to create new forms. It’s something that can be a flexible material on the skin and used to create more lightweight structures,” he said. 

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, March 9, 2015

This year for the first time in a while, the Glass Association of North America's BEC Conference was combined with GANA’s Annual Conference, which used to be known as “Glassweek.” And when you get a couple hundred companies in a small space together, along with some of the great technical minds in our industry, news is made and networking happens.



  • One of our industry's most precious resources is Dr. Tom Culp. He gave updates on the upcoming ASHRAE 90.1. The big item so far is that the new version includes no changes to the window area. As you can remember a few years ago, there was a major push to reduce the window-to-wall ratio. Thankfully as of now, and thanks to amazing efforts by Dr. Culp and others, that is not on the table. However, many other items are in process including changes to the climate zone map and reduction in U-factors. Nothing that is brutal though, at least in my opinion. 


Overall attitude and tenor of people attending was very positive. There’s a lot of industry confidence right now that is awesome to see. As for seeing actual people...

  • Great to see old pal Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE. He’s in tiptop condition and looks like he could run a marathon tomorrow. Of course no GANA meeting is the same without Eastman’s Julie Schimmelpenningh; catching up for a few minutes was wonderful. And a cool surprise to see my former co-worker Jon Johnson, now calling View home. He’ll do great there.
  • After years of coming to events like this I thought I met everyone I could from Viracon, but nope. I finally got to meet Bob Carlson in person, which was great. Plus, visiting with Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and of course the Hollywood model Cameron Scripture, is a treat.
  • I have heard about and admired Tim Kelley of Tri Star Glass for years, so meeting him for the first time was excellent and seeing Greg Oehlers (also Tri Star) is never dull. Spent time with Steve Cohen of PPG who is settling in nicely to his new digs there.
  • One of the classiest men in our industry, Dave Helterbran, was here and all I can say is he fights the good fight better than I ever could. Keep getting better, Dave! His daughter and son-in-law (Lindsay and Dustin Price) are launching a new business with Dave and I know it will be a tremendous success.
  • Speaking of success, I think everything that guys like Marc Deschamps (Walker), Mark Silverberg (Technoform), and James Wright (Glass Coatings & Concepts) touch turns to gold. Just picking their brains and having a dialogue with them makes you smarter, too.
  • Quickly visited with Bob Cummings (Hartung) and Kirk Johnson (Glasswerks) which was great, since I probably only get to see or talk to those guys once a year.
  • And I will say as a marketing guy I was really impressed/jealous of the awesome video that the folks from Vitrum showed. Incredible piece and it was nice to get to chat with Thomas Martini, Bruce Robinson and Tara Brummet about that and all the good things they have going on.
  • Also from a marketing and PR standpoint, getting to share a room with the insanely talented Heather West and Rich Porayko was as good as it gets. Those two produce some of the industry's best materials on a daily basis and it’s an honor to get to spend any time with them.

I know I probably missed some folks…sorry! All I can say is it's always an awesome time to network with the industry's best, and again, thank you for sharing time and conversation with me.

Read this blog and others on Max's blogspot page...

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

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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nearly two years ago, I issued a “Loud Call for Attention” regarding the industry’s development of Life Cycle Assessments for windows. That call reaches a new peak this month as the industry finalizes what is arguably the most critical component of the LCA process: the Product Category Rules.

For those who may not be familiar with the sometimes complex and convoluted terms associated with the LCA process, the sidebar at the right provides an introduction. A more detailed explanation can be found here.

Defining Life Cycle

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): An LCA addresses the embodied energy/carbon footprint of a product, taking into account factors such as climate change, acidification, fossil fuel depletion and human toxicity.

Product Category Rules (PCR): Scopes and sets rules for conducting the Life Cycle Assessment. The PCR ensures everyone is measuring the impacts of a product in the same way.

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD): Also known as eco-labels, EPDs disclose the life cycle environmental performance of a product. (The labels are similar to the nutritional labels for the food industry).

Cradle-to-gate: Life cycle assessments that measure the energy impact of a product from material extraction until the product leaves the factory.

Cradle-to-grave: Life cycle assessments that measure the energy impact of the complete life of a product, including: material extraction, manufacturing and production, distribution and transportation, operations and maintenance, and recycle and waste management. (Glazing industry manufacturers might want to consider a cradle-to-grave perspective, as glazing products provide energy benefits during the life of a building.)

Source: Definitions derived from the presentation “Eco-labeling is Coming: Is the Glazing Industry Ready?”, by Helen Sanders, vice president, technical business development, SAGE Electrochromics.

In brief, Product Category Rules (herein, PCRs) are necessary for the creation a lifecycle Environmental Product Declaration for a product. The PCR ensures that all manufacturers are measuring the lifecycle impact of their products using the same metrics.

A joint industry task group that includes the American Architectural Manufacturers Associationthe Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association has been working to develop a PCR for windows for several years. That process is now in its final stages—thus the return of the “Loud Call for Attention.”

Two window PCRs are current available for public comment—one for a cradle-to-grave, business consumer EPD that covers only vertical windows, and another for cradle-to-gate, business to business EPDs, covering all window types, according to the Institute for Environmental Research and Education, a developer of LCA programs. Both window PCR drafts are available for download and review from the IERE. All public comments must be submitted by March 30. 

“This will be the final opportunity for the industry to comment on these PCRs, which will affect everyone in the industry required to do an LCA and provide an EPD on any of their products,” said Margaret Webb, executive director of IGMA, in an association release. “These PCRs affect everyone, and if there are any concerns, they need to be raised now, as the LCA group will be meeting to review and resolve any comments received.”

IGMA is asking stakeholders to review the document and submit any comments Webb at

Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, March 2, 2015

We’re entering the final month of first quarter 2015 and there’s now an extra storyline to deal with: The renewed grip of winter hitting in more areas than normal could wreak havoc on bottom line performance in this quarter, which would be similar to what happened this time 2014. Obviously a majority of the industry bounced back nicely, but no one ever wants to start from behind. Plus, winter delays will make the glass capacity issues even more perilous; basically jobs that should be installed right now are behind and on hold, and eventually they will go as well as the jobs that were scheduled to go during that time. And what will come will be an extra dose of mayhem, if glass supply stays tight. So once again, the need for planning and proactivity is key. Bottom line for me: I hope March quickly moves from its “entering as a lion" phase and moves right to the “lamb” portion. The sooner the better…


  • Just a programming note, next week I’ll post this blog from Las Vegas, site of the GANA Annual Conference and BEC. I’ll have some recaps of the events including some insights from the annual Energy Day program that incredible people like Mark Silverberg of Technoform put on as well as code updates from Dr. Tom Culp and more. Plus the networking notes and who knows what rumors or scuttlebutt can come out…
  • If you did not catch the blog from Jeff Razwick of TGP, please check it out. As always, it’s well done and thought provoking. And it’s also a very effective argument about some of the great things our industry does.
  • A congrats to Linda Vos-Graham on her recent honor of being named a finalist for the “Top Women Owned Business Awards.” She is seriously deserving of this recognition. Linda is a tremendous asset to our industry and the few times I have seen her in a public dialogue (NGA’s GEF a few years ago, especially) she was simply amazing.
  • So a big question: a design of a new Google headquarters is out and it looks absolutely wild. With that, what are the chances that a North American manufacturer and fabricator get this work? Or will it come from overseas?
  • Good part of it finally being March? March Madness and the College Basketball brackets. Not sure anyone can beat Kentucky….
  • Last this week, the magazine Fast Company did a piece on the most innovative companies in 2015. (Actually makes me think we should do a list like that in our world; I think I will do some day soon.) The top 5 were…

#5 Instagram

#4 Google

#3 Alibaba

#2 Apple

and #1 was… Warby Parker!

Only one problem… I have never heard of them. No clue who they are or what they innovate (eye glasses from what I found). So I’m blown away that the most innovative company according to these guys is someone that surely is not near the mainstream. And if they were a computer- or software-related company I could believe it, but glasses? Wow.

Read on for links and video of the week...

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

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.