June 14, 2018
Exploring the Possibilities at Glass Expo Pacific Northwest
by Guest Blogger
I recently attended Glass Expo Pacific Northwest in Bellevue, Washington—a good, biennial, regional show with typically solid attendance. It’s an opportunity for ongoing conversations with our regional customers and contacts, as well as a place for new conversations to begin.
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This year, Quanex showcased technologies like Super Spacer® T-Spacer™, our Sparklike gas-fill analyzing equipment, and much more. But for me, it’s always about more than just our products. When I talk to customers at events like Glass Expo, I’m looking for ways, big or small, that Quanex can help make their businesses better.
Here are some things that caught my attention at this year’s show:
Automation and the labor shortage. New trends? No. Still relevant? Perhaps more than ever. Glass manufacturers continue to struggle with finding the right labor to drive their business forward.
The forces affecting available labor tend to vary depending on the region. I’ve spoken with contacts in Florida and Texas that have noted ongoing rebuilding efforts in the wake of last year’s devastating hurricane season have soaked up much of the labor pool. Here in the Pacific Northwest the demand for labor and the abundance of opportunities make it very competitive for a manufacturer to build their labor force.
No matter the region, though, many continue to look toward automated processes to overcome that challenge. I always find it important to note that a glass house or a residential window manufacturer don’t have to convert to full, high-speed automation overnight. There are numerous options that a business big or small can invest in to make an impact on their business. Maybe it’s a different, more efficient technique for applying secondary sealants. It’s all about making improvements that make sense, helping boost quality and improve production flow to drive greater efficiency on their shop floor.
New trends in decorative glass. One trend that stood out at Glass Expo was the increasing prevalence of new decorative elements for commercial glass. I noticed numerous booths highlighting photo glass, bent glass capabilities, and more.
The technology has become more attainable, and it’s enabling commercial glass manufacturers to seize new possibilities. For example: Digital printing technology has enabled glass design to take on new, colorful life in a variety of applications. Virtually anything a design team can dream up can be brought to life—there are limitations, of course, but it’s giving architects one more way to flex their creative muscles.
But most importantly when it comes to these new capabilities, we need to make sure we’re meeting the expectations of our customers. It takes dedication and ongoing investment, and to be sure, we here at Quanex are here to help our customers move forward successfully.
Questions or comments? Contact me directly at John.Kowalewski@Quanex.com.