Glass and glazing product wise the push at decorative and colors is still a driver. There was a ton on the floor. Also impressed by the anti reflective options. That material is getting so clear, it's really invisible. There were a handful of energy related products, I really liked a product called Light Glass that could switch from clear, to opaque, and then even to a light that could illuminate the room. I also was really impressed by Glaze Alarm. This was a product a I saw 2 years ago here and it advanced nicely. It has the potential to change the market when it comes to security systems for residential and commercial applications. Plus it's inventor, George Schaar is easily one of the nicest fellows I've ever met.
Equipment wise this show always gets you going. I love the automation advancements, and the overall improvements that the manufacturers keep making on their machines. My favorite was one I would've missed but thankfully Nick Sciola of Hartung told me to check it out. It was the Grezenbach guided vehicles for moving packaged glass. These were automated vehicles and, forklifts and they were mesmerizing to me. It's just a matter of time to see these in plants in North America- especially in job shop fabricators.
Exhibit wise, the marketing folks from around the world had bigger budgets to play with and really used some healthy creativity too. I liked Glaston doing a remote tempering session. A crowd of folks at the Glaston booth watching a big screen of tempering in Finland. Evidently others have done this but this was a first for me. Other stands featured all sorts of efforts to get an audience, including a contemporary dancer, painted woman,back to the future theme, music and more. The best overall
booth and the one most people talked about was Guardian. They had a concrete and glass structure that stood out. I was in awe. The structure showed the products they wanted to promote perfectly.
On the people side I missed many that were coming- folks like the great guys from Glassopolis Jordan Richards and Rob Botman. I also was bummed to miss Dick and Mike Macurak from DM Products. And I only got a second with Devin Bowman of TGP. He though is so popular that's probably the amount of time he scheduled for me. I did get to visit with many great folks though. Loved seeing Donald Press and Peter Stattler of Okalux North America. Good folks do I get well out there! Also great to spend quality time with Kris Vockler, Chris Fronsoe, and Abram Scurlock of ICD Coatings. The last time I saw Deron Patterson from PPG was glasstec 2014 so it was good to visit. Running into Bill O'Keefe and Tim Nass of SAFTIFirst was very cool. You know I love everyone from Canada, so to run into the various company contingents from that great country was tremendous for me. Always fun to get to chat with Thomas Martini of Vitrum. He keeps me on my toes. Was also nice to meet his guys Adam Byrne and Tyler Boult. Good young talent there. Seeing Peter Garvey and Tim Richard and the team from SAAND was enjoyable. Though I talked their ears off for sure. Old friend Matt Hale was making his glasstec debut and he and Eric Channel of Global Glass Solutions were out of business cards by mid day 1. Not a surprise with how friendly those two are. And speaking of friendly, I am always grateful for the friendship of Max Hals and Ian Patlin of Paragon. Great guys who do super work and are as smart and hard working as they come. Last on this section Bernard and Linda Lax of Pulp Studio were great as always. Congrats to them on the new facility and all the good they have going on.
So aside from 4 solid days of seeing so much glass and glazing materials there was one really notable event that I was honored and quite frankly humbled to attend. The Guardian Gala. This event was off the charts with regards to food, entertainment, networking- you name it. I'm just a consultant hustling to make a living and to be amongst the best glass people in the WORLD is incredible to me. It was great to chat with so many people there but it's always great to catch up with Chris Dolan. But I can't call him "Megatron" any more since that name retired from football. So I'll work on an updated moniker there. And I must mention it was really special to see Amy Hennes be mentioned by the president of Guardian's glass division at the gala. Those of us who work with Amy (putting my media hat on)know she really rocks at what she does. With how busy she is at these shows, I was thrilled to get a few minutes with her.
All in all this really is a glass geeks dream event. Just so much to see and experience. And it gets me even more pumped for GlassBuild America. Yes it's not the same but the ability to meet up with people, see new products, and learn are there and I never take any of those areas from granted. Plus it's a lot closer than Germany!!!
No links or videos this week. Writing and posting from my hotel in Dusseldorf, and I am afraid if I post a video it could crash the internet here. Ha Ha.
Next week I'll have reactions to the first slip in ABI in a while and more....