Glasstec: optimism prevails amongst the international glass sector

The glass industry is upbeat and looks to the future with optimism: so say the organizers of glasstec after the satisfaction of both exhibitors and visitors at the sector“s foremost international eve…

The glass industry is upbeat and looks to the future with optimism: so say the organizers of glasstec after the satisfaction of both exhibitors and visitors at the sector“s foremost international event, held between 24 and 28 October 2006 in Dsseldorf, Germany. At 54,000, visitor attendance was marginally higher than for glasstec 2004. The majority of the exhibitors praised the high quality of the visitors, which was reflected in numerous business contracts. In addition, exhibitors expect positive post-show business. Altogether, over 1,300 companies, associations and research institutes from 46 countries exhibited at the fair. Visitors from 84 nations other than Germany accounted for approximately 60% of the attendance and over 70% of these visitors were executives with decision-making powers. Summarizing the trade fair results, Joachim Schfer, managing director at Messe Dsseldorf, said: “glasstec is the only trade fair worldwide to showcase the entire spectrum of the glass sector and has proven again this year that the innovative potential of glass as a construction material and the operational excellence of manufacturers, finishers and machinery manufacturers is far from being fully exploited”. He went on to say that forward-looking areas such as special thin glass, insulation glass, laser technology, photovoltaics and solar thermal systems met with great interest among visitors. Sixty percent of visitors, he said, showed particular interest in these innovative topics. Siegfried Glaser, chairman of the glasstec Advisory Board, summed up the general assessment of the event by saying: “Both exhibitors and visitors are in high spirits! The glass business thrives on innovation, high technology and reliability and glasstec, as the innovation show“ has once again presented tomorrow“s visions”. The “glass technology live” Special Show and its accompanying symposium met with interest among visitors with 94% rating the Special Show positively while for 77% the Special Show was a key component of their visit to glasstec. “glass technology live” was conceived and organized by Prof. Stefan Behling, senior partner at Foster and Partners London office, in cooperation with his team from Stuttgart University. The Special Show presents innovations and visions of the glass industry ranging from coloured thin-film cells and switchable glass to the world“s largest free-span all-glass staircase. This year the Special Show was entitled “Houses of the Future” and impressively demonstrated the varied applications of glass in both technical and aesthetic terms. The exposition was accompanied by a Symposium addressing different focal topics each day. Renowned speakers from leading research institutes, associations, companies and architects“ offices presented lectures on current and forward-looking subjects such as “Emotion and Materiality” or “Glass and Energy”. The ground-breaking importance of “energy efficiency” and, hence, the latest technological developments for the future were clearly outlined by Christa Thoben, the Economics Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, in her opening address: “We are living in the energetic Stone Age in North Rhine-Westphalia and simply must tap into the efficiency potential that glass offers us. Glass is a construction material with a bright future”. The next glasstec will be held in Dsseldorf in October 2008.