Start-to-Finish Problem Solvers at AIA Expo 2018

Labor. Education. Performance. Lead times. We hear about the challenges facing the glass industry—and the construction industry at large—all the time. Along with them, we've heard of the numerous product developments, training initiatives and workplace efficiencies many in our industry have pushed as a response to these challenges. 

During the 2018 AIA Expo last week in New York City, glass industry exhibitors looked to address those challenges through new, multi-faceted product innovations and developments. While in past AIA shows, exhibitors presented numerous solutions that met aesthetic demands and performance, this year was different. Companies raised the bar, showing solutions that met the needs of architects, while facing the challenges of the glass industry head on. 

The conversation was not only about products, nor was it only about architects—even at an architecture show. Here are just a few examples of how industry companies are considering product development and industry education from start to finish.

Product Development

YKK AP America is rethinking details of its products, down to mullion symmetry and system tooling, to "find methods and means to address labor concerns, beyond logistics," says Oliver Stepe, president. The company is working to capitalize on the middle market by helping smaller, less technologically advanced companies work through labor challenges with more easily understood products that still meet aesthetic and performance demands. "We can't look at product design in a monolithic plane anymore," says Stepe. 

Product Education

At Vitro Architectural Glass, Rob Struble, brand and communications manager, explained how the company is investing heavily in oversized glass production, with its seventh coater online in Wichita Falls, Texas, which produces 130-by-240-inch coated glass sheets. But, it goes beyond big glass. To ensure an informed customer base, Vitro says, "Bigger is Only the Beginning." Projects that spec oversized glass have many other factors to consider beyond wall-to-wall or floor-to-floor glass. "We are educating the architect that there's a lot more to it than bigger IG—it's heavier, more difficult to transport and install. Bigger is more than possible, but we want them to understand the tradeoffs up front through education." 

Product End-use

Technoform Glass Insulation is pushing the industry to "Spec the Edge" first before considering the center of glass, which has been the norm when considering high-performance glass products. "With a high-performing window frame and edge of glass, buildings can achieve the same performance with less advanced glass," says Helen Sanders, strategic business development. Sanders says the flow of heat is like the flow of water: it will find the path of least resistance through the edge, no matter how high-performing the center of glass is. "We must chip away at the issue of only considering energy return on investment," says Sanders. "We need to change the conversation beyond energy and into building comfort, thermal comfort. Downstream, this sells more space and costs come down." 

See much more from the glass and glazing industry in our show product video, @GlassMag on Twitter and @glassmagazinenga on Instagram. Or, browse the show product gallery below. 



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


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