NGA Glass Conference concluded its first virtual event last week, hosting over 400 registrants. The three-day conference offered insights and education to the glass industry. Educational offerings included technical presentations on codes and safety glazing. Many of the presentations directly addressed the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the glass industry, from the short-term concerns of manufacturing and logistics, to longer-term economic impacts.
The conference kicked off with Bernard Jean Savaëte, president of BJS.Différences, a glass industry consulting firm, offering data-based insights about the state of the global glass manufacturing industry in the wake of COVID-19. “The impact is severe on operations,” Savaëte says. “Most of Europe’s 48 melting installations had to cease production for several months. Tens of thousands of workers were without jobs. It is estimated that glass production in Europe will be roughly 20 percent below last year.”
Subsequent sessions focused on the “new normal” of manufacturing during COVID-19, and the role of architectural glass in sustainable cities.
“The New Normal – Design & Construction” hosted industry leaders for a wide-ranging discussion investigating the realities of construction during the pandemic, from design to delivery. Panelist Domenic Cristofar, HED Design, anticipates less dense office space, with more interior glass.
The day’s final session convened a panel of leading fabricators― Chris Barry, Stan Joehlin, Bill Lingnell and Mike Burk―to troubleshoot common concerns, including breakages, distortions and post-fabrication finishing.
The final day of the conference provided technical sessions, as well as "Leveraging Leading Indicators in a Post COVID-19 World," an economic update from Connor Lokar, ITR Economics. Underlining the uncertainty that defines the current economy, Lokar said he anticipates that the macroeconomic recession will endure through 2021.