glasstec 2012 Takes a Look at New Glazing Technologies and Trends

From new coatings to new interlayers, glasstec 2012, which took place last week in Dusseldorf, Germany, offered attendees a number of developments for architectural glazing. About 43,000 trade visitors, including international architects, took to the halls of glasstec where they visited with 1,162 exhibitors, all focused on the latest

The Guardian booth was crowded throughout the week as it exhibited in its largest glasstec booth. Photo: Messe Duesseldorf, Constanze Tillmann

technologies for the glass industry.

While machinery is the main focus for many at the show, glasstec is also certainly not short on glass companies. Several from the United States were on hand featuring their glazing displays. Guardian, for example, was there with its largest booth ever at glasstec. The company, which operates around the word, enjoyed a packed booth throughout the week where people stopped by to see its various glazing displays.

Also on the glass side, AGC earlier this year had acquired Interpane and the two companies exhibited jointly for the first time. They, too, enjoyed continuous crowds throughout the week.

NSG was at the show with Intraco, a company that works with glass companies (such as NSG) bringing their glazing products into Middle Eastern markets.

Eastman, which acquired Solutia earlier this year, featured a number of products for laminated glass applications including Saflex DG, its new interlayer material designed for structural glazing. The product drew a large crowd and lots of interest, according to Doug Marren, architectural business manager of Americas for advanced interlayers. Marren explained that the new material is stiffer than traditional PVB so laminated applications can sustain higher uniform loads with the same glass thickness. He added that the glass thickness can also be reduced and still achieve the same loading.

In addition, Eastman is also in the process of launching new solar interlayers for the architectural market. The line was introduced last year for the automotive market and offers UVA and UVE blocking features thanks to nano particles that are mixed into the interlayer.

Also featuring a line of interlayer choices, Bridgestone, which is based in Germany, offered decorative selections that can include imagery printed onto PET film that’s laminated to glass with EVA film. Alexander Weibgarber, technical sales engineer, explained its material can also be laminated with a range of materials including stone, fabrics, etc. He said the EVA is created to offer high-quality durability and will not bubble or yellow over time.

On the coatings side, Ferro featured its S1de ONE enamels, which are new for the United States, but have been in use in Europe for some time. Phil Maitland, global marketing and business development manager, glass systems, explained that most enamels are applied on the second surface as they do not have the weather-resistant features to be used on the external side one. Now, however, with his company’s new system the enamel can be used on the first surface.

“Architects like this because they can build texture, create a matte effect, etc… because you’re not seeing the glass, but what’s on the glass,” said Maitland. “And now we’re starting to see this in the United States.”

Color continued to be an architectural glazing trend, as did digital printing. Many companies were on hand featuring some of their latest options for these markets.

Trosifol, which is featuring PVB options for laminated glass. The two newest colors for the company are a 30-gauge completely opaque black and a 30-gauge completely opaque white. According to Christian Amad, director, these are already being stocked and sold.

While North America compared to Europe typically does not use as much laminated glass, Amad says he has seen growing interest.

“We’ve seen more interest in the United States with custom glass, different thicknesses, etc.” he said, explaining that much of that interest is coming from the value-added benefits that laminated glass can offer. “We’re continuing to see companies start up laminated lines,” he added, “even in challenging markets.”

While glass companies are featuring examples of digitally printed glass, machinery companies are busy demonstrating the lines used to create these displays.

Shlomit Niva Tevet, director of marketing for dipTech, said they were seeing much traffic in the booth as interest has been growing around the world. She said more and more companies are purchasing the line as digital printing can provide so much creative design freedom. Her company debuted two new inks, a conductive product that runs electricity to the installation as a well as a skid-resistant ink for applications such as flooring, walkways and stairs. She said they also have plans to work more with architects directly in the future.

glasstec also featured a number of special shows and exhibits, and “glass technology live” was again a major highlight. With the topic “Innovative Glass Functions,” Prof. Stefan Behling and his team from the Stuttgart University’s Institute of Construction Design showcased practical products for the near and distant future. These included a window incorporated into glazing without any visible frame construction, bent but still stable glass, organic, building-integrated photovoltaics as well as large-format façade elements. Together with the “Competence Center Glass, Window, Facade”, which combined know-how from various associations, these façade mock-ups formed the “Facade Center”. The “glass technology live” show was accompanied on all days by a free symposium on a variety of topics attended by numerous visitors.