glassblog

Monday, October 28, 2019

Gareth Francey headshot

It’s been the better half of 18 months since the company I work for, Bohle America, made its first U.S. acquisition. It was back in January 2018 that we inked the deal that saw us acquire the Kansas City-based shower hardware supplier/ manufacturer Portals Hardware, and it's amazing to think back to then and compare what we thought we were going to do to where we are now.

Portals Hardware offered us a good opportunity to pick up the lucrative shower door hardware product line, which was a good addition to our glass door hardware segment that was more commercial, and European influenced. As with every acquisition, we figured it would be quicker to go out and invest in a good, well-run existing company rather than try grind it out from scratch. So, with this shiny new product line in our pocket, the first instinct that everyone had—specifically the sales-team as we are of course a sales-based organization—was to go out there and promote it to as many customers as possible.

Thinking back to that time, this was the natural human instinct to go out to the market about the news straight out of the gate that was always going to happen. We had spent so much time in the months preceding the actual deal with the negotiations and endless hours of due diligence, that we really wanted to have the release of energy and go and enjoy the opportunity with the market.

This was the hardest thing not to do, and it took the largest amount of internal energy to make sure we didn’t.

As with any company acquisition, we spent a lot of time analyzing the new company and understood that there would be work in integrating the many moving parts of one into the other. However, it was only after spending time in each other’s daily business that we understood how large a task this would be and how important it was that we got it right the first time. There were personnel dynamics coming into the equation, ERP challenges, brand positioning amongst other concepts that really needed to be worked through and could not be rushed. Our number one priority was not to cause any disruption to the market, that being our customers. Any nervous energy or sense of a hiccup to the customer experience would be perceived larger than what it actually was and we wanted to do everything possible to minimize this risk.

As a result, one of the very first major event we then decided to do post-acquisition was to form a steering committee from both organizations and meet at an off-site hotel conference room for three days and work to put a game-plan together. The goal was to come up with a clear direction and a joint mission statement that the management team could take back and use as a road map going forward. This simple mission statement concept was the key to everything: it gave us clarity in terms of where we needed to be and how long it was going to take to get there.

More importantly, it also gave us something for everyone in the organization to understand and buy into. If there is any confusion or misunderstanding, consult the mission statement and resolve it. The two-paragraph document, consisting of roughly 80 words that is now hanging on each employee’s wall, is the vision that has guided us since 2018 and will continue to do so going forward.

Eighteen months has really gone by very quickly and we have achieved a great amount of work in tying together and unpacking the synergies between the two companies. I am happy to say that all of the work achieved has been done in the background with the minimum of negative impact to each other’s existing business and customer relations. We will continue to follow our controlled, patient game plan, guided by our joint mission statement into the future and carefully get to our end goal.

As the industry becomes more and more consolidated through mergers and acquisitions, I am sure others will have similar experiences. From my perspective, the most important advice I can give is to value the customer as the number one priority and draw up a mission statement that everyone in both organizations can buy into. Keep it visible daily and use it as a road map. And more importantly, hold on tight to the reigns and enjoy the ride.

Gareth Francey is the president of Bohle America, a supplier of glazing & handling tools, hardware, consumables, and machinery, for all levels of the glass industry. Francey has been with the Bohle organization since 2001 and led the American division since 2010. Contact him at gareth.francey@bohle-america.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.

Monday, October 28, 2019

There are a lot of incredible people in this industry. I note them all the time on here and try to give props and notice as much as possible. I have made lifelong friends along the way and so many people helped me develop and grow. One person who checks every box in this category is Cliff Monroe. I had the supreme honor of working with Cliff for several years and spending tons of time with him either on the road or at various tech conferences. Recently Cliff let me know he’s hanging them up, retiring from our world to go and enjoy the rest of what life has to offer. Obviously, on one hand it will suck to lose the talent and brainpower Cliff brought to our world, but on the other I am thrilled he’s walking away and going to start the next great phase in his world.

I did reach out to ask Cliff I could blog this, and he, of course, had a classic Cliff-like self-deprecating comment of approval, but added this line that I think is perfect example of Cliff’s class:

“The glass business has been nothing short of a lifetime of learning. I am blessed to have met, sat with and worked with some of the brightest, smartest, mentally inspiring and forward-thinking persons of our industries time. Thank you to all.”

No, thank you sir. You will be missed, Cliff, and allow me add again how grateful I am to you for all you did for me personally and our industry at large!

Elsewhere…

  • Another Architectural Billings Index was released this past week, and it showed a slight negative result at 49.7. The number 50 is the break even, so it was close to level but not there. The positive view was it did bounce back from an awful previous month where the number was 47.2. Looking deeper into the problem areas, the issues are in the North and Midwest. Those regions performed poorly which is a worry since some of those locations are already in a softening stage, so seeing a number that won’t directly affect our world for a bit should raise some red flags. I think it continues to be an issue out there that the timing now is crucial to be preparing for the more extended lull.
  • I was on an architectural chat board recently and once again the discussion of “heat-soaked” glass came up. This area fascinates the architectural community a great deal. While some people get the applications and needs for heat soak, it is amazing how many still do not.
  • From the latest awesome NGA Technical and Advocacy Newsletter, this nugget:

    “In September, NFRC announced plans for a fresh reboot of commercial ratings based on two paths: one for custom projects (certification for a specific building project) and one for commercial products (certification for individual products and product lines). Both are intended to be more streamlined and offer more flexibility than previous attempts to address the commercial market.”

    All I can say is I am too old to fight these things, so I am seriously hoping that the streamlining and flexibility actually come into play. I seriously have to laugh though; if the NFRC would’ve listened to our world way back, things would’ve been so different and actually successful. But, I was just a mad man who was mocked, so what did I know… hmmm.

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

Max Perilstein 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. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Anisotropy has now been a hot topic in the glass industry for the past couple of years. In fact, this is now the fifth anisotropy-related blog in Glastory in just four years.

Since discussions around anisotropy started heating up, a lot of development has taken place, especially in regard to new measurement equipment.

Even though measurement devices are nowadays able to provide a good amount of valuable information about anisotropy, we are still far away from being able to objectively state whether a particular anisotropy level in a given glass sheet is acceptable or not. In the coming years, we can expect to see significant developments on this front as well, as glass fabricators and different industry groups work together toward the common goal of defining one standard.

Nevertheless, using today’s online measuring devices gives you the possibility of ensuring you deliver consistent quality for your projects, whether there’s a standard or not.

Much of the discussion has revolved around anisotropy measurement. You might ask, why even measure something you can’t improve? The old adage, however, applies here very well: “What you don’t measure, you can’t improve!”

This blog aims to give you ideas on how to affect the anisotropy pattern and its intensity in your glass—with any kind of tempering machine. At this point, it’s up to you to decide which kind of pattern you think looks best.

Anisotropy is caused by stress differences created inside a glass sheet in the tempering process. In that sense, the principle of controlling anisotropy is very simple: reduce stress differences as much as you can. And even though it is not possible to completely avoid them when tempering, it is certainly possible to affect what kind of anisotropy pattern you are creating during your process. But keep in mind, reducing anisotropy is always asking for sacrifices somewhere else.

Below, you can find valuable tips for controlling anisotropy in the tempering process. The tips are related to the main tempering phases of heating and cooling.

Glass Heating

Usually, a large portion of visible anisotropy pattern is created during the heating stage of the process. Every furnace model is a bit different based on the mechanical structure and the heating method it uses. Still, in normal production, there will always be temperature differences inside the glass, which lead to stress differences. The faster you heat the glass, the greater stress differences it will experience. That’s why to achieve more uniform heating, you need to slow down the process.

Heating tip #1: Lower the furnace temperature

By lowering the furnace temperature and therefore increasing the heating time, your glass will heat up more evenly. This will also increase your cycle time. How much longer the cycle runs will depend on the heating technology capability of your furnace and how much you want to optimize heating.

Sacrifice: Capacity

Heating tip #2: Oscillation length and loading method

Use as long an oscillation length as possible and slow down the glass movement in the furnace to minimize stopping points. If possible, utilize alternating stopping points to avoid creating patterns on the glass due to cold areas.

If you’re trying to achieve a similar anisotropy pattern in all glasses, the most efficient way is to run only one glass sheet per load. When loading several glasses into the furnace at the same time, this will lead to differences in the patterns.

Look at the example below, where two glasses have been tempered one after another in the same load. In this case, the first glass has a hot area in the middle, whereas the other one has a cold area in the same spot. This has happened because the first glass absorbed a lot of heat from the rollers in this particular location. As a result, the second glass went through much colder rollers in that zone.

 Sacrifice: Capacity

 
   Leading glass                                                    Trailing glass

Heating tip #3: Keep glass as flat as possible in the furnace

Usually, it’s safer to run glass a bit happy, with its corners up, to avoid leaving the glass corners in the furnace. However, this also means that the glass center will be hotter than the edges after heating. If you’re able to keep the glass flat in the furnace, the heating result will also be more even. To achieve this, you might need to decrease the production pace. However, there is a risk you end up with more defective glasses after the process.

Remember also to adjust the process slowly, step by step, to avoid damaging the furnace rollers.

Sacrifice: Capacity and possibly yield

Glass Quenching

Glass quenching issues are also clearly visible from the anisotropy pattern. Most commonly, you will be able to see kevlar marks and horizontal stripes in the pattern.

Optimizing anisotropy created in the chiller mainly comes down to optimizing only the first stopping point.

Quenching tip #1: Transfer speed

Often, you can find distinctive horizontal stripes in the glass. These marks are caused when the glass stops in the chiller during oscillation. If the glass temperature is too high, the stopping point will cause stress differences in the glass. So, what you are seeing as the result is actually caused by the rollers. Hence, the marks are horizontal.

These marks can be created with surprisingly low temperatures, even when the glass temperature is still under 752 degrees Fahrenheit.

Below are two examples. Both glass sheets were run with the same settings, except for the transfer speed. The first glass was run with a much slower transfer speed, which means that it had more time to cool down before the first stopping point. The second glass was run with a higher transfer speed and stopped with a higher temperature, leading to distinctive marks on the glass.


200 millimeters per second.


500 millimeters per second.

Lowering transfer speed doesn’t come without sacrifices. Especially with thinner glasses, edge lift can become a problem.

Sacrifice: Capacity and possibly quality

Quenching tip #2: Loading method

The chiller doesn’t have the same kind of memory effect, but where you load the glass still has a huge impact on your anisotropy pattern. The reason for this is the same as explained in quenching tip #1—the glass that enters the chiller first will have a longer time to cool down before the first stopping point.

Therefore, you could run a full load with a slow transfer speed. Then, the first glass would look like the upper glass in Figure 2, whereas the second glass would look like the bottom glass in that image.

This issue can be solved by running shorter loads or by having a long enough chiller so that all glasses have enough time to cool down before stopping.

If you’re going for a longer chiller, you need to consider a larger footprint, higher investment cost and higher energy consumption during the process. Alternatively, you could also consider adding a second chiller to your plant. However, this can be costly and requires some extra floor space.

Sacrifice: Capacity, investment cost, energy, floor space

Quenching tip #3: Corded rollers

There are also some other steps that can be taken to optimize anisotropy.

If you need to reduce kevlar marks, fully corded rollers can be used. This will help to create a more uniform pattern.

Note that this type of rollers works well primarily with thick glass. If you’re running thin glass, fully corded rollers will prevent air flow in the chiller, causing glass quality issues.

Sacrifice: Quality

Conclusions

If you’re a glass fabricator, remember that it’s always possible to affect the anisotropy pattern. It only takes adjusting a couple of key parameters or your glass loading method.

Still, to achieve optimized anisotropy, you must be willing to sacrifice something. This might be capacity, cost effectiveness due to higher investments, loss of glass quality or something else.

If anisotropy isn’t a crucial issue for your project, optimizing its pattern means wasting money. Yet being able to deliver glass with less disturbing anisotropy than average on the market might open up new, exciting business opportunities for you.

If you’re an architect, designer or end-user of the glass, keep in mind that achieving a more uniform anisotropy pattern means a higher cost of producing such glass. Therefore, if minimizing anisotropy is crucial for your project, it’s also likely that the glass will be more expensive than normal. Therefore, make sure that your requirements for anisotropy are clearly agreed on in advance with your supplier.

The good thing is that state-of-the-art tools to help you agree on suitable anisotropy already exist on the market today. Advanced measurement equipment provides an efficient way to quantify the anisotropy level and even simulate images of the anisotropy pattern. So, why not take them into use?

Finally, before there are any universal evaluation methods, remember that it’s possible to have two glasses with very similar anisotropy values but very different anisotropy patterns. If two different patterned glasses are installed in the same building, they will more likely catch a viewer’s eye than if all glasses have a similar pattern.

Originally published on Glastory

Riku Färm is Product Manager at Glaston Corp.

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, October 21, 2019

One big story that I failed to cover more adequately from GlassBuild America was the Friese Foundation stepping in to provide very generous support of the MyGlassClass.com program. This new philanthropic organization headed up by industry veteran Don Friese is awesome, and by them stepping in to help continue the build on the educational needs of our industry is nothing short of incredible. We need to keep growing the educational offerings at every level and we need keep gaining knowledge as an industry. This support will go a long way to accomplishing those goals. It comes as no surprise to me that Mr. Friese would be on the forefront of this—class acts do class things and his desire to see this industry evolve positively is amazing and appreciated. If you missed the video announcing this, check it out here—great insight and comments! 

Elsewhere…

  • On the good education approach, kudos to Guardian Glass for their “Ask the Expert” series. Really well-done approach and good use of the YouTube space. Smart work for sure, but my only beef is I needed more of Chris Dolan. I think he’s holding out on sharing his expertise with the rest of us! 
  • I caught the latest Mission Impossible movie recently and loved the starring role glass had it in, especially the skylights. Really cool scenes there.
  • What a weird stretch we are in with forecasts and indexes. They are all over the place, but one interesting nugget is the single-family housing side of things is having a nice run. This is encapsulated somewhat in this tweet from Robert Diet, chief economist, National Association of Home Builders.
  • Total housing starts fell back in September on multifamily volatility. Single-family starts edge up to a solid 918K annual pace. Single-family permits were also up, and have improved each month since April. Single-family starts have grown each month since May.

    As we know, residential work can be a signal to the commercial side. So far, it’s been a bit puzzling to get a feel, so we’ll keep watching. Interestingly enough, the Dodge Momentum Index had a big September thanks to a nice month on the commercial side. So, we continue to monitor the roller coaster.
  • Bird-friendly glass was back in the news this week in a big way: the NASCAR Hall of Fame had a severe issue with bird strikes. There is no doubt this movement to bird-friendly glazing is needed and no doubt also that it’s a space that is growing extremely fast. Time to get on board with the process if you have not: here’s a great piece from Glass Magazine from earlier this year with excellent insight on glass being the solution.
  • Last this week, this was something that tickled my interest: the top Architecture schools in the U.S. I usually keep up on top schools for everything, but I have to admit I did not realize some of these schools were big architecture players. Specifically, Syracuse. I thought for sure that university was more known for its broadcasters than anything else. Anyway, a fun read…

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

Max Perilstein 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. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Technology continuously advances to improve energy efficiency, to enhance occupant safety and to make new building practices like modular construction possible. Although the basic methods for installing fenestration systems have remained consistent, many installation methods have also changed with the use of new technology.

Proper installation of fenestration is one of the simplest, yet often overlooked ways to guarantee the highest performance of a building over its lifetime. It is important that as new technologies are introduced, contractors and installers alike continue to stay up to date on the latest installation methods.

It is uncommon to hear about a properly installed wall system “failing.” When problems do arise, it can often be traced back to incorrect installation. As you know, re-work can be expensive, time consuming and frustrating.

Take these simple steps to reduce re-work and ensure proper installation:

  • Download the most current installation instructions and read them.
  • Supply the installer with a copy of the installation instructions.
  • Download an installation checklist specific to the system being installed.
  • When installing a system for the first time, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer on-site training.
  • Call the company representative to clarify anything that is not clear.
  • Install all components no matter how minor they appear. They were designed for a particular purpose and not installing may cause the system to not control air, water, or dead/windload correctly.

Installation is a big piece of the puzzle in ensuring a project’s success. Proper installation can avoid issues both simple and complex. By paying attention to the installation and advising installers from the start, we can ensure the highest levels of performance over the life of a building.

Steve Schohan is a marketing and communications manager at YKK AP America, where he develops marketing strategies and leads research efforts on emerging markets and trends, with an emphasis on driving industry product evolution and innovation.

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, October 14, 2019

For this week’s post, a different approach…

In October of 2005 I decided to get into the world of blogging. My first main post started with:

What I think is the first ever BLOG related to the glass and aluminum industry is now alive! If someone else has one, then by all means I apologize.

We have a good industry, but we face huge hurdles.

I started this as a way to get information out to the masses in a non-traditional way. I hope that I can spark debate and eventually help the industry win the battles it faces.

If you would’ve told me 14 years ago that I would still be blogging and how different my professional career turned out, well, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy. But here we are blogging away, and so thank you to all of you who have followed me through the years. I truly appreciate it.

Back in 2005 our industry was quite different—a lot of major brands that were powerhouses then don’t exist now. Technology was getting better and better but nowhere like today and we surely weren’t much of a global industry then with regards to source and supply. Standing here in 2019 we are in a much better place in so many ways and that is something that I am personally and professionally grateful for.

As I think everyone who knows me knows, I do love the glass industry and I love what we do and how we do it. It wasn’t always like that—I had zero desire to be in the business growing up or all the way through college and early into my professional life. (My family has been in the glass business since 1898). But, my brother once told me that glass is in my blood—so blame goes to him that I am here—and he was right. 

My mission for this blog hasn’t changed much since 2005. I still want to get info out and get people fired up, and I still believe this is therapeutic for me in that I can get things off my chest. Obviously I am not as rough and militant as I was years ago, but I think mellowing was the right call for many reasons. Though I know there are old school readers of this that would love for me to revert back, sorry can’t do that! 

So, where I am going with all of this? Well, it’s a look back but this is also a plea to all who read this to continue to push for the betterment of the industry. Get involved and stay involved. Get to the shows and conferences. Educate and communicate. And push our products to the forefront of the building product world. Many of you already do this, and do it extremely well, but if you don’t, I’m asking you look at 2020 as the chance to really make that difference.

I have 14 years of this in the books, this is post No. 770, and I’m going to keep pushing until I hopefully hit 1,000 at least. Thank you again for joining me on this ride. Next week we’ll get back to the traditional industry scuttlebutt and we’ll finish 2019 strong! 

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

Max Perilstein 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. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The glass industry gathered in Milan, Italy, last week for Vitrum 2019, the international glass machinery trade show, held Oct. 1-4. Check out photos from the show. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

I have covered this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. I often I hear from people that ask “How can I get more involved in the industry?” Well, if you want to be active and make a difference, first step is to make sure you are a member of National Glass Association and then pay attention to the call for actions. To give you a flavor, this is a portion of one from last week and these are huge subjects that need attention. Step up and get involved!

Advocacy Committee

Advocacy Response Team
Become equipped to advocate for glass and glazing at the legislative and regulatory levels; more information to follow.

Fabricating Committee

Fire-rated Glazing capabilities
This task group will review the existing text within the Glazing Manual in order to update the description to include the cross-functional uses of fire-rated glazing for purposes such as energy performance or protective glazing.

Vacuum Insulating Glazing

The existing task group initiated a survey at Fall Conference to guide the development on a resource educating the industry on VIG products and capabilities.

Evaluating Post-Finishing of Heat-Treated Glass Edges

Task group will develop and test control samples to destruction in order to develop recommended guidelines for post-finishing. 

If interested in volunteering, contact Sara Neiswanger at NGA, or if you have questions just drop me a line.

Elsewhere…

  • Also from the NGA world, the latest nominees for the board of directors were announced and two of my all-time favorites were on the slate. Ron Crowl of Fenetech and Jim Stathopoulos of Ajay Glass are on the ballot and simply tremendous people. Brilliant businessmen, class acts, and they truly care about this industry. I hope they win so they can be added to the board and continue to advance our industry. 
  • Positive news from Harmon with naming of Troy Johnson as president starting in March of 2020. I don’t know Troy that well—I shared a spot on the BEC planning committee last year with him and came away extremely impressed. That, along with a lot of very influential people being major fans of his is good enough for me. Congrats Troy!
  • You know I love when glass gets good mentions in the “real world” and so I was thrilled in my own stupid way when the TV show “This Is Us” had a discussion on getting windows, including the line “Double pane windows—the sexiest style of windows!” I probably would have passed out if they called them IGU’s. Anyway, nice to hear a product we all know and love in the middle of a popular TV show.
  • Right now the hottest segment going is interiors and this year the Glass Magazine Reader Photo Contest will be focused on that area, with a look at the exceptional interiors in our world. If you have pictures of innovative interior glass applications, including decorative installations, glass floors, doors, walls, stairs, partitions and more click this link and review the rules and get entered into this awesome contest. Deadline is Oct. 11.
  • Last this week: interesting debate on the possible end of the American “dream home.” Communities with the idea to push more multi-unit housing vs. allowing single family homes. This article on what is happening in Minnesota gives you a good jumping off point. There is no doubt that we have to keep evolving in many areas of our world, but this angle has people ready to battle on both sides and rightfully so—lots to take in.

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

Max Perilstein 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.