Show demonstrates globalization, changing market
About 9,500 industry professionals from 54 countries attended GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, held Sept. 10-12 in Atlanta. More than ever, attendees faced a large number of international exhibitors, as about one-third of the record 538 exhibitors came from outside of the United States.
Of the 160 international exhibitors, up from 114 last year, China had the largest representation with more than 60. Canada followed with about 40 exhibitors, and then Italy with about 25.
Other countries represented included: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Exhibitors and attendees had a lot to say about the increasingly international industry, as seen on the show floor, and their responses varied immensely. Many said growing competition from China and other nations with developing glass industries is a threat to U.S. companies. Others said the global market is an opportunity. Either way, they agreed the industry is changing, for better or worse.
David M. Luttrell, manager of sales, Glasstech, Perrysburg, Ohio, said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of international flare. Attendees from Turkey, Australia, South America and Central America stopped by the booth.
Rick Dominguez, sales representative for Jordon Glass Machinery in Miami, said he particularly noticed the large number of Brazilian attendees. “Brazil is becoming a very big player. It’s got a couple things going for it. It has the muscle to serve the needs of Latin America, and it’s in a region where there is a lot of construction growth,” he said.
Representatives at the show said other countries quickly increasing their place in the global glass market include India, Iran and Turkey.
Andrew Chatfield, sales manager for Custom Hardware Manufacturing Inc. of Keokuk, Iowa, said American glass companies need to find their niche in the market that can’t be filled through the influx of international imports.
“There are a lot of Chinese companies here, but they’re showing existing products. It’s down to the U.S. companies to bring in new developments,” Chatfield said. “We have to differentiate ourselves from the commodity market.”
To do just that, CHMI supplies custom products for jobs and provides engineering and design services to architects and glass companies, Chatfield said.
While some companies find ways in their domestic market to stand out from their new competition, others are opening locations in developing manufacturing nations, particularly in China, Dominguez said.
“The Italians are going to China to open plants there,” Dominguez said. “As this happens more and more, the industry will evolve so it’s more about brand management than anything.”
Read more about the international face of GlassBuild America, as well as full coverage from the show, in the October issue of Glass Magazine.
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor