Nine Halls in Four Days

glasstechnologyExhaustion and sore feet are temporary, but the experience of attending and covering glasstec never end. In these four days at Messe Dusseldorf you find more knowledge, innovation and excitement about glass than you could imagine. If given the opportunity to attend, take it. You absolutely won’t regret it and you’ll return inspired by all that nine halls can hold.

Here are my top take-aways from glasstec 2016.

  1. Automation is in. A huge number of companies were focused on automating as much possible in terms of glass fabrication. Exhibitors demonstrated machines capable of handling multiple processes. In other words, one machine doing the job of two, three, even four. (Think loading, drilling, washing, unloading.)
  2. Big machines, big business. Just about every big machinery manufacturer I talked with told me they’ve been non-stop busy—and seeing lots of U.S. and Canadian customers. And it was mainly the manufacturers offering the large, massive pieces of equipment who said that business was strong and the show a huge success.
  3. Make a statement. Exhibitors found plenty of ways to create eye-catching glass products. Digital printing continues to grow, and not just in popularity. A large number of exhibitors featured digital printing lines that can print pretty much any image directly to the glass. Adding color, either by painting or coating or even colorful interlayers, also drew a lot of attention.
  4. Stay safe. Jobsite and workplace safety is top priority, especially in the glass industry. And given that architects are demanding bigger and bigger glass, that can become a challenge when it comes to moving glass, both in the shop and on a jobsite. When you can find ways to minimize the amount of operator/installer handling, it helps create a safer work environment. As a result, more companies than I’ve ever seen here before featured lifting and handling devices.
  5. slideCutting edge. At no other show will you see the technology and innovation that comes from glasstec. The glass technology live area is always impressive. Here is where you find conceptual displays; new ideas that designers, architects, fabricators and engineers may be working on. The displays aren’t necessarily commercialized structures—and may never be—but they get you thinking about the possibilities in working with glass. Just about everyone was talking about the structurally glazed slide created by Eckersley O’Callaghan and Cricursa. The idea behind the slide, which was constructed of curved laminated glass, was born from the fact that the team was already working with large glass tubes for an architectural project. They asked themselves, “What can we do with these glass tubes that’s fun and playful?” And the slide was born.

We’ll be bringing you an exclusive look at that slide, as well as a few more innovations from glasstec, in our bonus video coverage next week. Be sure to tune in to™ because you don’t want to miss it.