Glass Industry

Report Shows Recovering Chinese Glass Industry, Despite Continuing Problems

The glass industry is an important basic raw material industry. Its products are widely applied in construction, traffic and transportation, decoration and fitment, electronic information and other newly-risen industry fields. In recent years, the Flat Glass industry in China has developed rapidly, but there are also some problems needing to be resolved, such as production capacity over plus, unreasonable structure, etc.

The recovering of the glass industry is mainly shown by the followings:

The increase pace of glass output slowed down clearly. The flat glass output amounted to 405 million weight cases in China in 2006, up 10.73% y-o-y. Compared to 2005, the increase pace of the glass output slowed down clearly.

Monthly Output of Flat Glass and Y-o-Y Increase since 2005

The price of float glass continues to recover. The price of flat glass stopped declining and recovered in the second half of 2006. The average price of main float glass varieties in 2006 was 7%-9% (RMB 4-6/weight box) lower than that in 2005. In January of 2007, the price of main float glass varieties continued to rise, up about 2% compared to December of 2006.

The price of heavy oil, pure alkali, etc raw materials had declined dramatically since the second half of 2006. According to raw material statistics of contacted key glass enterprises, the ex-factory price of heavy oil was RMB 2165/ton in the fourth quarter of 2006, dropping 16.72% compared to the third quarter; the average price of pure alkali was RMB 2333/ton, declining 27.72% compared to the third quarter.

The economic benefits of glass enterprises recovered. Under the drive of product price recovery and raw material price decline, the flat glass industry started to gain profits since Nov, 2006. Flat glass industry achieved profits RMB 97.27 million from Jan to Feb of 2007, while it lost RMB 440 million in the same period of previous year.

The industry structure adjustment will be deepened further. Several Suggestions about Promoting the Regulation of Flat Glass Industry Structure issued by National Development and Reform Commission in Dec, 2006 put forward that the total production capacity of flat glass will be controlled to be under 550 million weight boxes in 2010, the ratio of float glass will amount to more than 90%, the deep processing rate of glass will be over 40%, and comprehensive energy consumption will decrease 20%. Under administrative control, the increase pace of domestic flat glass production capacity will slow down further, the contradiction between supply and demand will be eased, and the float glass price will continue to recover as well.

Due to industry policy and the current development phase, the glass industry at the bottom is facing reshuffle, the acquisition and reorganization among the upstream flat glass enterprises will accelerate to expand. Some listed enterprises with poor operation but good basics will become the acquisition objective of foreign-funded and domestic advantageous building material enterprises, while the enterprises with small scale and large operation pressure will become the integration objective in the market or acquired by large enterprises. For example, Lenovo Holding has entered the glass market, it has acquired the controlling right of 7 domestic glass companies through its wholly-owned subsidiary of Hony Capital Limited and tries to form a domestic glass giant. Fuyao Glass plans to introduce Goldman Sachs as the strategic investor. Even industry giants like Saint-Gobain also become interested in China glass industry.

Source: Business Wire

Harlem to Get First Tower in 30 Years

Work is due to start in the next couple of months on a new tower block in Harlem, New York. The 21-storey glass tower, designed by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects (SHCA), will be the first major office building to be built in the northern Manhattan neighbourhood for three decades.

The project, named Harlem Park, will see the tower built in keeping with the surrounding Harlem neighbourhood. Roger Klein, design principal, SHCA , explained: "Instead of trying to do what architects typically do with an office tower, which is to express the verticality of the buildings, we embraced the squat and masculine forms of the Harlem neighbourhood."

A form of irregular stacked boxes made from an aluminium and glass curtainwall system make up the building's structure. Vertical terracotta fins lining the outside walls will match the masonry of the surrounding buildings.

SHCA will be designing the interior of the lobby and support areas and are aiming to build the office tower to be LEED silver certified. "The silver certification will be achieved from reducing energy and water consumption and managing the building's systems to ensure efficient operations. The interior will be sustainable by using products such as wood and carpets that incorporate a certain percentage of recycled materials," added Klein. The structure has been designed to cut down on the amount of artificial light needed with daylight penetrating 75% of the occupied space.

SHCA who designed the Trump Tower in New York and the NATO headquarters in Brussels was hired to design Harlem Park after plans to erect a giant Marriott Hotel on the same plot fell through. In addition to office space, the building will contain 82,000 ft² of retail shops located at street level. It is hoped that the building will attract financial services and media companies. Construction is due to be completed in 2010.

Source: Arabian Business

PPG to Sell Fine Chemicals Business for Approximately $65 Million

PPG Industries has signed an agreement with ZaCh System S.p.A., the fine chemicals subsidiary of Zambon Company S.p.A., Milan, Italy, under which the company would divest its fine chemicals business for approximately $65 million. The transaction would include a book charge to income of less than $0.15 per share. Completion of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions, including discussions with appropriate employee representative bodies in Europe and receipt of required regulatory approvals.

"Following last week's announcement of our potential divestiture of our auto glass businesses, this transaction is yet another step toward achieving PPG's vision of continuing to be the leading coatings and specialty products and services company," said Charles E. Bunch, PPG chairman and chief executive officer.

"The acquisition of PPG's fine chemicals business is consistent with Zambon Company's continuing desire to expand its global presence," said Gianni Marini, ZaCh System board chairman and Zambon Company board member. "We are quite pleased to acquire a PPG business that is recognized as a technology leader, with manufacturing locations in Europe and the United States, reinforcing our custom synthesis business strategy and the value of Zambon research competence."

PPG facilities included in the agreement are a pharmaceutical fine chemicals plant in LaPorte, Texas, and the PPG-Sipsy facility in Avrille, France. The pharmaceutical fine chemicals plant in LaPorte operates separately from PPG's adjacent phosgene derivatives facility there, of which PPG will retain operation. The fine chemicals business employs approximately 360 people.

Source: PPG

Specialist Glass Firm Embarks on 250,000 Pounds Expansion Plan

A SPECIALIST glass company based in Knowsley is undergoing a £250,000 expansion involving new hi-tech machinery and an increase in staff numbers.

Impact Safety Glass, based in Kirkby, manufactures and sells toughened glass and has also successfully branched out into aluminium frames.

Directors John McDonough and Tony Harford have bought a new processing machine that will allow the firm to increase production and raise product quality.

"The new machinery will enable us to offer a higher standard of finish," said Mr McDonough.

"For example, if we were to produce 10 units of a particular product by hand it would be very difficult to ensure each one was made to an exact specification. The new equipment means we can do that."

The company turned over £2.7m last year and projected revenues for this year are £3.5m.

It employs 50 people and it is hoped a further 20 will be taken on over the next couple of years.

It recently won £10,000 in the annual Merseyside Kickstart competition.

Source: Liverpool Daily Post

PPG to Sell Auto Glass Businesses to Platinum Equity for Approximately $500 Million

PPG Industries has signed an agreement with Platinum Equity of Beverly Hills, Calif., under which the company would divest its automotive original equipment manufacture (OEM) glass and automotive replacement glass (ARG) and services businesses. The total sales price for the businesses being divested is approximately $500 million before minority interest. The transaction is expected to result in a slight book gain upon closing and charges to income totaling $0.20 to $0.25 per share to be recorded over the next few quarters.

Under the terms of the agreement, an affiliate of Platinum Equity will acquire the businesses' assets. Completion of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals.

"This transaction is a significant milestone in PPG's continued transformation to focus on coatings and specialty products, and it will significantly reduce PPG's exposure to the U.S. automotive market," said Charles E. Bunch, PPG chairman and chief executive officer. "This sale will also provide us with more resources to pursue profitable growth in coatings, aerospace, optical products and opportunities in Asia."

Bunch added that the divestiture puts the auto glass businesses in a better position to compete by providing a strong platform from which they can maximize profitable growth.

"Moving ahead," Bunch noted, "we will continue the strategic review our portfolio of businesses with the ongoing objectives of maximizing profitable growth, cash generation and shareholder value."

The automotive OEM glass business unit supplies windshields, rear and side windows, sunroofs and assemblies for auto and truck manufacturers. The ARG and services business unit supplies and distributes replacement automotive glass products for use in the aftermarket. It also provides insurance claim services through its LYNX Services subsidiary, glass management software through its GTS subsidiary, and e-business solutions through its GLAXIS subsidiary.

The automotive glass businesses manufacture and fabricate automotive glass products in nine North American plants located in Berea, Ky.; Creighton, Meadville and Tipton, Pa.; Crestline, Ohio; Evansville, Ind.; Evart, Mich.; and Hawkesbury and Oshawa, Ont., Canada. In addition, there are nine satellite parts assembly plants, and there are LYNX Services claims management centers in Fort Myers, Fla., and Paducah, Ky. Combined, the businesses employ approximately 4,400 people.

Source: PPG

Construction Ministry Petitions to Sell Viglacera Float Glass Plant

The Ministry of Construction has asked for the government's permission to sell the float glass plant of the Vietnam Glass and Ceramics for Construction Corporation (Viglacera).

The reason is that after five years of operation, this plant has incurred losses of more than VND80 billion (US$5 million).

The Viglacera Float Glass Company (VIFG) is a member of Viglacera corporation, which is located in the southern province of Binh Duong, with a designed capacity of 300 tonnes of glass per day.

The plant was put into operation in October 2002, meeting Japanese standards JIS R-3203. Since its investment capital is loans (accounting for 99.4% of the total investment), the plant's financial cost is too high and its products can't compete with similar ones in the market. By the end of December 2006, its debt exceeded VND84 billion (over $5 million).

Vietnam currently has seven companies producing construction glass with a total daily capacity of 1,650 tonnes. In addition, two other projects are underway, including a float glass factory of Japan's Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd. in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau with a daily capacity of 500 tonnes and another in Chu Lai, central Quang Nam province of the Vietnam Coal and Minerals Group, with a daily capacity of 900 tonnes.

The two new float glass projects will be completed and become operational in late 2008, raising the total capacity of construction glass of Vietnam to 3,050 tonnes per day, causing fierce competition in the market.

Viglacera corporation negotiated with Japan's Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd, the partner of Viglacera in the Vietnam Float Glass Co, Ltd. (VFG) joint venture, to sell the Viglacera Float Glass Company to VFG.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding, in which VFG commits to buying VIFG and merging it into VFG.

Source: VietNamNet

Approval of New Float Glass Projects Tightened

China's regulators aren't likely to approve new float glass projects in eastern coastal regions and central regions, given regional development strategy and ongoing industrial technology upgrades, the Shanghai Securities News reported today.

Glass makers in these regions are required to shift their focus to technological renovation of their current production lines, according to the Criteria for Access to Float Glass Industry, rules which took effect yesterday.

No new projects, with the exception of new production lines for special and high quality float glass products and also relying on large group companies with the central government's support, will be approved, according to the access criteria.

The document sets strict standards for access to the industry, ranging from the layout of enterprises, techniques and facilities, product variety and quality to energy consumption and environmental protection. Production safety and social responsibility standards are also among the criteria.

Earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top industrial watchdog, said in a circular that local governments should take measures to accelerate the elimination of outdated float glass production.

To upgrade the float glass industry, save energy, and reduce pollution, China will close glass production facilities with a total capacity of 12 million weight boxes by the end of this year. A total 30 million weight boxes will be eliminated from production by 2010.

Between January and April, float glass output rose 15.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to a report released by Industrial Securities.

Source: China Dialy

CSR to Buy Glass Company for $175M

CSR Ltd will pay $175 million to acquire another glass maker, as it builds up its glass operations to cash in on the material's rising popularity in architectural design and energy efficiency benefits.

The acquisition of Mathieson & Staff Glass Pty Ltd (DMS) a privately owned Victoria-based glass processor and distributor, follows the building material and sugar producer's purchase of glass company Pilkington Australasia for $690 million in June. The glass operations will now generate 20 per cent of CSR's overall earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the year ended March 2008, and almost 45 per cent of building products EBIT, on a pro-forma basis.

CSR chief executive Jerry Maycock said designers were more keen to use glass as a building product and this was driving growth. "A lot of designers are making more use of glass as an architectural feature. We have architects talking to us now about structural glass, where you use glass as part of the structure as opposed to part of the facade, but probably more importantly, it is more around energy efficiency. A lot of glass in Australia and New Zealand is still relatively unsophisticated ... there is a clear trend internationally towards energy efficient glass, which is tinted glass. That high efficiency is definitely an additional growth driver, as is double glazing, which uses twice as much glass per square metre of wall, with a push towards energy saving," Mr Maycock said.

Most of the demand for glass is expected to come from the residential construction market, although commercial construction will make up about 50 per cent the market of over time.

Mr Maycock also played down speculation that CSR was gearing up to sell off its sugar operations, with a review of the company's businesses more than half way through. "In the very long term, we acknowledge that the present mix of businesses within CSR is a bit eclectic and we could certainly imagine that would change over time, but we don't have any current intentions to do anything with the structure of the group," he said.

CSR recently said group earnings for fiscal 2008 would be five per cent down on the previous year due to lower sugar prices and wet weather delays to cane crushing.

Meanwhile, Mr Maycock said the integration of DMS and Pilkington will result in some job losses over time, although most workers in both companies are expected to stay on. The combined cost savings from the two glass businesses would be at least $33 million by May 2010. Based in Melbourne, DMS Glass employs 400 people and generated revenue of $96 million in the most recent financial year.

The existing senior management team will continue to lead the company.

Source: The Age

Glassdomain Making Its Mark

A West Midland glass manufacturer and furniture designer is breaking into the interior design market with the launch of a pioneering new technology for printing on to glass.

Bromsgrove-based Glassdomain has developed ICON-glass, an advanced form of ink-jet printing which allows a digital image or pattern to be transferred to glass.

Glassdomain - which plans to officially launch the innovation at next month's London Design Week - has already received over 300 enquiries about ICON-glass after showing prototypes at an exhibition in March.

Designer Peter Wardleworth said: "The whole process took about 18 months to perfect, working with a number of partners including CERAM Research in Stoke-on-Trent.

"We've now developed a standard range of photographs and images, but we are able to offer bespoke designs."

Glassdomain was established around two years ago as the design arm of established firm Bromsgrove Glass and Windows. It is run by managing director Graham Southall, who runs Bromsgrove with business partner Nigel Bunyan. Together the two businesses employ 65 members of staff.

Mr Southall originally discovered the technology for ICON-glass and then charged Mr Wardleworth to use it to create products that would appeal to the design market.

Mr Wardleworth said: "We've been printing images of wood onto the glass and it produces a similar effect to the high-gloss trims that you find on the dashboard of old Jaguar cars.

"It's a very impressive finish on a material that is recyclable. It could also stop trees from being cut down - so there is a green element to it too."


Glaverbel Becomes AGC Flat Glass Europe

Glaverbel today announced that it has changed its name to AGC Flat Glass Europe and has adopted a new corporate logo, aligning branding of Glaverbel’s operations with that of the AGC group globally.

The rebranding of Glaverbel is part of a global brand unification that unites all AGC companies under a single brand and logo. The company will benefit from a single brand identity in all its European operations, which will provide AGC Flat Glass Europe with increased recognition for its products across the world, allowing it to better serve its customers. The rebranding will also permit the company to strengthen its position as industry leader in innovation.

Commenting on the change, Jean-François Heris, President & CEO of AGC Flat Glass Europe, said: “We’re immensely proud to present ourselves as part of the family of the global glass leader. A single brand identity will allow us to raise our profile across the world. We have a tradition of innovative excellence, and this rebranding will allow us to benefit from the strengths of a world-class group in our mission to reinforce our culture and spirit of innovation”.

At the Centre of AGC’s Global Flat Glass Operations

With a long history in Belgium and Europe, AGC Flat Glass Europe has a tradition of excellence and of exporting that expertise across the world. That tradition is maintained today with a focus on innovation which allows the company to produce a wide range of value-added products which it markets globally. AGC Flat Glass Europe products can be found on some of the world’s distinctive city landmarks – such as the Kenzo building in Paris, the Rogers-designed courthouses in Antwerp or the Naberezhnaya Tower in Moscow – but also in such ground-breaking projects as the land rail speed recording-breaking TGV. Under its new branding, AGC Flat Glass Europe will continue to be headquartered in Brussels, where AGC Flat Glass worldwide headquarters are also located.

Continued Focus on Innovation
Under its new brand, the company continues to lead the market in innovation, as testified by the launch today of its latest invention, AntibBacterial GlassTM, which kills 99.9% of bacteria and stops the growth of fungi.  AGC Flat Glass Europe's focus on innovation has made the company an industry leader in bringing innovative products to market, with a record of industry-firsts that stretch back more than 30 years, such as its environmentally friendly mirror.

Source: AGC

DFI Signs Exclusive License in Vietnam to Expand into Asian Markets

DFI solidifies global approach to capture emerging and fastest-growing markets with Asia’s second-fastest-growing economy.

Diamon-Fusion International, Inc. (DFI Nanotechnology), global developer and exclusive licensor of the Diamon-Fusion® patented hydrophobic nanotechnology, recently signed an exclusive license agreement with PARADIGM NETWORK, LTD., a British Virgin Island-based corporation with a growing network of businesses based in Vietnam. The operations will be managed in Vietnam by GmG Co, LTD, a Vietnamese independently owned company, which has already established key relationships to develop and promote the Diamon-Fusion® patented nano-coating product lines to a diverse range of industries in Vietnam.

Vietnam has Asia’s second-fastest-growing economy, with 8.7% growth last year, trailing only China. In one of the latest signs of Vietnam’s economic vitality, the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2006. Through the end of 2005, Vietnam’s growth rate exceeded that of Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and even India, and now produces and uses more cement than France. The main indexes for the Ho Chi Minh City stock market and a smaller exchange in Hanoi have nearly doubled in value in 2006, while Vietnam is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies; the Next Eleven (or N-11) is a short list of countries named by Goldman Sachs investment bank as having promising outlooks for investment and future growth. Criteria includes macroeconomic stability, political maturity, openness of trade and investment policies and quality of education. The N-11 document is a follow-up to the emerging "BRIC" economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

Michael Gailey & Ngo To Giao, Managing Directors and Business Partners of PARADIGM NETWORK, LTD. and GmG Co, LTD, stated: “We are thrilled to have signed this license to introduce DFI’s patented nano-coating into Vietnam; we have no doubt our efforts and results will ignite other Asian markets as well. Vietnam has a great potential and we have already developed key markets that will be incorporating Diamon-Fusion® into their product lines as a low-maintenance feature and eco-friendly as well.”

Guillermo Seta, Executive Director of DFI Global Operations, reported: “Vietnam is growing at a very fast pace and its current trade openness creates a good timing for the introduction of our innovative nanotechnology, along with all upcoming products we have in our R&D portfolio; we are very pleased with this strategic alliance for Vietnam.”

DFI Nanotechnology multi-functional characteristics include: water and oil repellency (hydrophobic and oleophobic), impact and scratch resistance, protection against graffiti, dirt and stains, finger print protection, UV stability, additional electrical insulation, protection against calcium and sodium deposits and increased brilliance and lubricity. DFI’s nanocoating works at nanoscale levels to change the molecular composition of any silica-based surface. Diamon-Fusion® provides, in chemical terms, a ‘cross-linked’, ‘branched’ and ‘capped’ optically clear nano-film along with a strong and durable covalent bond.

Source: DFI

Vitro Transaction to Increase Ownership Stake in Vitro AFG to 100 Percent

Vitro announced today that the transaction to acquire in its entirety all the capital stock of the Mexican company Vitro AFG, S.A. de C.V. (Vitro AFG) by Vitro's subsidiary Viméxico, S.A. de C.V. (Viméxico), has been approved by the Mexican Federal Antitrust Authorities.

announced today that the transaction to acquire in its entirety all the capital stock of the Mexican company Vitro AFG, S.A. de C.V. (Vitro AFG) by Vitro's subsidiary Viméxico, S.A. de C.V. (Viméxico), has been approved by the Mexican Federal Antitrust Authorities.

As announced on July 24, 2007, the Company exercised its right to purchase its partner AFG Industries Inc. 50% stake for US$6 million. Vitro AFG owns a float glass manufacturing facility located in Mexicali, Baja California, México.

Vitro AFG was a 50/50 joint venture between Viméxico and AFG Industries, a subsidiary of the Japanese company Asahi Glass Co. Limited. The joint venture was established to supply the United States and Mexican construction markets with a wide range of flat glass products, from the traditional 2 mm clear glass to 12 mm thick glass. The joint venture began operations on November 18, 2003 with a co investment of approximately US$100 million.

"This transaction will significantly strengthen our market position, as we expecto too further benefit from the dynamic growth of the architectural glass market in México. The addition of this significant manufacturing capacity allows us to serve our customer's requirements and exceed their expectations within México and abroad. Close to 78,000 tons per year of additional capacity of float glass will be dedicated to the Mexican market and exports", said Hugo Lara, President of Vitro's Flat Glass Business Unit.

With this acquisition, Vitro has 3 float manufacturing facilities and 23 processing plants previously owned in Mexico, United States, Colombia, Spain and Portugal.

Vitro AFG is part of Vitro's Flat Glass business unit focused on the manufacturing, processing and distribution of flat glass for the construction and automotive industry with annual sales in 2006 of US$1,176 million. Vitro's Flat Glass business unit is the largest flat glass producer in México and an important player in Latin America, United States and Europe.

Vitro AFG employs 230 people and manufactures 155,000 tons per year of float glass for the construction market.

Source: Vitro

Superlite I-Xl Half-Year Sales Up 124%

AHJ approval growing for alternative fire-protective, CPSC Cat. II glazing that provides additional radiant heat protection for less than the cost of ceramics.

SAFTI FIRST, a leading manufacturer of fire-rated glazing and framing products, saw an increase of 124% in SuperLite I-XL sales for the first six months of 2007 when compared to sales during the same period of 2006. Current sales of SuperLite I-XL have already exceeded total 2006 annual sales.

"These sales figures are indicative of a more important trend, which is an increased understanding of radiant heat as a serious fire and life safety issue" says William O'Keeffe, President and CEO of SAFTI FIRST. "More and more, we see AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction) exercising their power under the codes to approve a product like SuperLite I-XL due to its ability to provide additional radiant heat protection, CPSC Cat. II impact-safety protection and superior optical clarity for less than the cost of ceramics."

Most recently, the City of Los Angeles issued a General Approval for SuperLite I-XL. Plus many more jurisdictions are approving the use of this product, such as Honolulu, San Francisco, and numerous counties in Florida.

One of the many projects using SuperLite I-XL as an alternative to traditional wired glass is the National Center for International Schools in San Francisco, CA. “Upgrading to Category-II safety-rated, radiant heat-reducing glazing was a critical consideration in our decision to replace wire glass campus-wide. The possibility of a student impacting a door lite or sidelite was a major concern, particularly at assembly area doors equipped with panic hardware,” says Daniel Klingebiel, CFM, CFMJ, Director of Facilities and Planning for the school. In total, the school upgraded 140 20-minute door vision lites to SuperLite I (CSPC Cat. II safety-rated), 30 45-minute side lites and windows to SuperLite I-XL (CPSC Cat. II safety-rated) and 33 90-min door vision panels to certified field-filmed SuperLite I-W (CPSC Cat. II safety-rated).

SuperLite I-XL is a patented, clear, CPSC Cat II impact safety rated, fire protective glazing product that reflects heat back to the fire source, which facilitates safe egress, prevents the fire from spreading to other areas and gives fire fighters additional time to safely access and extinguish the fire. This product is fully listed for 20 minutes and approved by the GSA and AHJs as an alternate material for 45/60 minute applications without hose stream in accordance with Section 104.11, Alternative Materials, Design and Methods of Construction and Equipment, of the IBC.

The hose stream was originally developed to test the structural integrity of a building’s wall and supportive components. It was not developed to test non-structural elements such as windows and doors, where 45-minute fire-protective glazing is used. Despite the claims of its proponents, the hose stream does not simulate the potential threat of thermal shock from sprinklers. The hose stream is applied after the glass has been exposed to a minimum of 1638 degrees Fahrenheit – sprinkler discharge would have occurred at far lower temperatures (approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Major countries in Europe and Asia have abandoned the hose stream as a test for fire rated glazing for over 20 years.

Source: Glass on Web

Opus Begins Construction of Technical Glass HQ

Opus Northwest of Seattle has begun construction of a build-to-suit corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility totaling 130,000 square feet for Technical Glass Products.

The project is on Snoqualmie Parkway in the 89-acre Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park, located just off Interstate 90. The building will contain approximately 97,000 square feet of state-of-the-art manufacturing space and 33,000 square feet of office space.

Technical Glass will own the building, joining Phillips Oral Healthcare, Nuprecon, T-Mobile, Zetec, and the Inception Group at Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park, one of the few places that could house both the headquarters and manufacturing plant in a single location, Opus Northwest said.

"Technical Glass Products has been located on the Eastside for years, and Snoqualmie Ridge provides a great opportunity for us to bring all of our operations into one place," Mike Moroney, COO of Technical Glass, said in a statement. "It's a convenient location for integrating our administration, sales and manufacturing, and it provides plenty of room to grow as our company expands."

Leo Backer and Eric Postle of Washington Partners handled the deal for Technical Glass.

Opus Northwest is also building the Kendall Lake Building, a 59,000-square-foot speculative flex facility, in the business park. The developer hopes to attract companies looking to escape high rents in Bellevue and the I-90 Corridor.

"Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park offers a logical solution for businesses searching for cost-effective locations because of its easy access to I-90 and new residential neighborhoods," said Mike Ruhl, Opus Northwest's vice president of real estate.

Source: Costar

AAMA and FMA Release Window Installation Standard

FMA/AAMA 100-07, a standard addressing window installation, has been released jointly by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the Fenestration Manufacturers Association (FMA). According to AAMA technical director John Lewis, the 13-page document titled Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows with Flanges or Mounting Fins in Wood Frame Construction specifically addresses new construction of no more than three stories in height utilizing a membrane/drainage system.

The document also provides minimum requirements for window installation based on current best practices and applies to windows employing a mounting flange or fin that is attached and sealed to the window perimeter frame and is designed as an installation fastening appendage.

The techniques demonstrated in this document have been developed specifically to allow incidental water entering from superficial cracks, either in the cladding, window joinery or installation joints around the perimeter of the window, to drain onto the membrane drainage plane and to exit to the building exterior.

"This standard is specifically designed for installations subject to hurricane-force wind and water exposure, particularly in the coastal Southeast United States, and addresses buildings that will be at high risk for water intrusion. Thus, preventative measures have been included that are above normal installation practices," Lewis adds.

Source: USGlass News Network

Turning the United Nations Green


Critics might argue that many things about the United Nations need rethinking, and that perhaps renovating its headquarters doesn't have to be top priority. Nonetheless, the Capital Master Plan, a proposal to renovate the international organization's monolithic Manhattan home that was first introduced in 1996, is now finally moving ahead.

In December, 2006, the General Assembly approved a $1.9 billion budget to renovate the complex, and at the end of last month, Swedish construction company Skanska (SKSBF) was signed up (for $7 million up-front) to oversee the estimated $1 billion worth of construction, which includes contracts, equipment, and labor costs. Five architectural firms, including Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, Helpern Architects, and HLW, will collaborate on the project.

To deal with the vast project on a daily basis, the U.N. General Assembly appointed a 40-person group, led by project manager Michael Adlerstein, who has worked on the renovations of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, to oversee and coordinate all the plans. Not least of his tasks, Adlerstein must negotiate the U.N.'s own tricky internal politics. The renovation project is funded by all of its 192 member states, with the U.S. contributing 22% of the overall cost.

A Fixer, not a Teardown

The original headquarters-designed by French architect Charles Le Corbusier, along with a panel of multinational architects including Wallace Harrison of the U.S. and Howard Robertson of Britain-opened in 1952. Built for $65 million, the 39-story building now swarms with the delegates from member states and the 4,000 administrative staffers who work within the iconic Secretariat building.

Other buildings nearby include a library, a building for the General Assembly, and the Conference building that hangs over Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. All of the buildings are active year-round, and while a temporary building will be built to house the General Assembly, ripping down the main Secretariat was never, according to officials, an option.

But the half-century-old buildings are in urgent need of a refit. The Secretariat building is leaking air through its glass exterior walls, interior structures are riddled with toxic asbestos (although there's allegedly no immediate health risk as it's embedded in the insulation material, this will prove an issue when interiors are ripped up). The heating and cooling systems are erratic, and the entire IT system is outdated. Security systems are also in need of an update: $166 million of the Capital Master Plan is allocated for blast protection.


Solutia is Doing Well after Three Years of Bankruptcy

Solutia Inc. is doing well and marshalling resources, filling vacant wings of its headquarters in Town and Country with energized executives and new hires.

Executives in the company's Flexsys rubber chemical business and CPFilms window films unit are unpacking boxes and settling in, fresh from their former home bases in Brussels, Belgium, and Martinsville, Va., respectively. Solutia last week reported first-half net income of $48 million on sales of $1.6 billion, up from $8 million net income and $1.4 billion in sales in the year-ago period.

Chief Executive Jeffry Quinn is proud of the growth, but says it is a blessing and a curse in the company's more than three-year-old bankruptcy reorganization.

"The businesses have improved. We've improved profitability," he said. "At some points, that has encouraged stakeholders to continue to elbow to try to get a bigger share of the pie, as opposed to fueling a great sense of urgency to get the company out of bankruptcy" as would be the case if the company were losing value and money.

"Surprisingly, perhaps, that has been a part of why we're still in bankruptcy," Quinn said. He predicted that Solutia will emerge from bankruptcy this fall.

The company certainly is more valuable today than when it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization protection in December 2003.


Bogota Chamber Of Commerce: 'A Box Of Stone And Laminated Glass'

For the Colombian Chamber of Commerce in Bogota, the design dream of two local architectural firms, AIA Arquitectos and Convel, was “a big stone box with a gigantic glass opening at the front of the principal facade facing El Dorado Avenue, one of the city’s busiest streets.” Known locally as the ‘Camara, this is a simple, minimalist building has a substantial visual impact on the city.

Laminated glass with Butacite® PVB, used in the façade and atrium, solved four principal challenges; it cut noise from the nearby airport, cut heat build-up, provided safety and gave us stunning aesthetics.

A team of two Colombian firms, AIA Arquitectos and Convel, won an international design competition in 1997 for the Colombian Chamber of Commerce (or Camara de Comercio) in Bogota.

AIA Arquitectos principal Gabriel Arango and project architect Sergio Gallon say: "Our design dream for the Bogota Chamber of Commerce was a big stone box with a gigantic glass opening at the front of the principal facade facing El Dorado, Avenue, one of the city's busiest streets, a minimalist building which, however, would have a substantial visual impact on the city. Flexibility, sobriety and elegance were our aesthetic goals. The 'Camara' is actually a minimalist box of stone and laminated glass.

"The Chamber of Commerce is located near the city’s International Airport, which is also called El Dorado. Overhead airplane traffic is heavy; for this reason the building is only 45 m high. Laminated glass provided the building with an efficient acoustic barrier (sonic transmission reduction: 0.40). It is used in the main atrium roof above the central courtyard as well as in the upper levels of the facades, where the directors’ offices are located. Laminated glass provided substantial energy savings because we incorporated a solar coating. It also provided unbeatable safety and stunning aesthetics."

Christian Daes, owner of glass fabricator Tecnoglass of Barranquilla, Colombia, said: "The construction of the laminated glass used at the Chamber of Commerce is 5 mm PPG Solarcool® Azuria® (formerly Solarcool® Azurelite®) glass + 0.38 mm clear Butacite® PVB + 10 mm clear float glass. Other than soundproofing and safety, laminated glass with DuPont™ Butacite® offers high quality standards regarding opacity and overall performance and filters out UV rays, protecting furnishings and fabrics. In the 'Camara's' curtain wall façade and according to the architects' request, we used large, 4m2 laminated glass panels with very slim, vertical aluminum mullions. Due the weight of the glass installation was a challenge, needing specialized equipment and personnel provided by Tecnoglass."

Source: DuPont

Flat Glass Demand in China to Increase 8.4% Annually Through 2011

Demand for flat glass in China is expected to climb 8.4 percent per year through 2011 to 2.9 billion square meters. Measured in value, flat glass demand will expand more than eleven percent per year, reaching ¥96 billion in 2011. The Chinese flat glass market will outpace growth in all other parts of the world, driven by healthy gains in building construction activity, as industrialization efforts continue and income levels rise. Government efforts to further increase average per capita living space and privatize home ownership, sustained strength in foreign direct investment funding, rapid growth in motor vehicle productionand products renovation in electronics, will also contribute to flat glass gains.

Primary flat glass -- including drawn glass, rolled glass and float glass --accounts for nearly 87 percent of overall Chinese flat glass demand measured in square meters. Float glass sales will account for an rising share of all primary flat glass demand, growing at 8.8 percent annual through 2011. Float glass gains will be driven by improved product quality, healthy growth in building construction activity and foreign company investment. The production of drawn and rolled glass will continue to dampen overall primary gains through 2011, restrained by Chinese government’s efforts at shutting down old, inefficient and low quality sheet glass furnaces. Fabricated flat glass encompasses insulating glass, tempered glass, laminated glass, mirrors and other specialty products. Demand for fabricated flat glass will increase 12.5 percent per year to 450 million square meter in 2011, outpacing flat glass demand as a whole. Fabricated flat glass demand will benefit from increasing requirements for upper-level glass products for windows, furniture and massive growth in producing motor vehicles and electronic products.

The architectural market will remain the largest outlet for flat glass, accounting for nearly 87 percent of total demand in 2011. Gains will be spurred by ongoing privatization efforts, further growth in the average size of new homes and continuous foreign investment funding. The electrical/electronic market will expand at the fastest annual rate through 2011, driven by strong increases in electrical/ electronic production, product renovation and growth in personal income level. Flat glass demand in motor vehicles will also be considerably robust, driven by notable growth in motor vehicle production.

Source: Glass on Web

Schott and Wacker Set Up Joint Venture to Produce Solar Wafers

SCHOTT Solar, a 100 percent subsidiary of the worldwide SCHOTT group, and WACKER Chemie AG plan to set up two joint ventures to produce and market silicon wafers for solar applications. SCHOTT and WACKER signed a related agreement today. Over the next years, the two partners plan to invest a total of 370 million euros in facilities in Jena (Thuringia) and Alzenau (Bavaria), creating at least 700 new jobs at these German sites. The project is subject to approval by the German and European authorities. The joint venture – SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH – is scheduled to start operations this year. It will produce multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers, the starting material for solar cells. Solar-wafer production capacity is set to expand in stages, reaching about one gigawatt/year by 2012. This will make the joint venture one of the world’s five largest solar-wafer manufacturers.

Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, president & CEO of SCHOTT, stated that he was extremely pleased about the new joint venture. “Given polysilicon’s actual global scarcity, a reliable supply of this raw material is essential to SCHOTT Solar’s ambitious growth targets in the photovoltaic sector,” he explained. “Combined with our current capacity expansions for solar cells and modules in Alzenau and Valasské Mezirící in the Czech Republic, the joint venture will play a decisive role in strengthening SCHOTT Solar’s position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solar-energy components.”

Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker, Wacker Chemie AG’s president & CEO, emphasized the joint venture’s importance for his company. “WACKER is the world's second-largest supplier of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon and a pioneer in the manufacture of solar-grade polysilicon. Our forward integration – with a strong partner – into solar-wafer production is vital to our strategy of creating corporate value in this growth sector. The recently announced expansions of our polysilicon production capacity to more than 22,000 metric tons per year ensure the joint venture’s starting material supply.”

WACKER will supply SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH with the hyperpure polycrystalline silicon it needs to produce wafers. The major part of the joint venture’s wafers will be used by SCHOTT Solar to make solar cells. Solar wafers, however, will also be sold to other solar-cell producers in order to capitalize on growth opportunities and related scale effects. To this end, SCHOTT and WACKER plan to establish a separate joint venture, WACKER SCHOTT Solar GmbH. SCHOTT and WACKER each will hold a 50 percent equity stake in the production joint venture SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH, while in the sales joint venture WACKER will hold 51 percent and SCHOTT 49 percent. The production joint venture includes SCHOTT's existing facilities in Alzenau for producing solar wafers and those in Jena for producing multicrystalline silicon ingots. SCHOTT WACKER Solar plans to expand the existing production and to set up new facilities for blocking and wafering.

At its SmartSolarFab® in Alzenau, SCHOTT manufactures wafers using its advanced EFG process (Edge defined Film-fed Growth). This method differs from the conventional approach where silicon wafers are sawn from an ingot. Instead, a silicon film in the form of an octagonal hollow tube is pulled directly from the silicon melt. A laser then cuts out the wafers. The EFG process delivers several advantages. It greatly reduces material loss, for example, and features a highly efficient use of silicon.

Source: Glass on Web