As in past glasstec events, there is a North American Pavilion
flying the red, white and blue. This year's group consisted of 19
exhibitors, including Casso-Solar Corp. Doug Canfield, president
of the Pomona, N.Y.-based company, says that big advantages of being
in the pavilion includes the fact that it is a turnkey package.
"Also, having a translator is a big plus," he states.
Asked how things are going, he points to a handful of business
cards and says, "Here are things we have to work on."
He adds, "We also scheduled meetings with clients from different
continents, so it works out well."
With all the bad financial and economic news in the past couple
of weeks has it had an effect on business? Anders Holmqvist, sales
director of Glassrobots, the Finnish equipment supplier, says that
some companies are "waiting for the moment; people are afraid
of moving ahead." He continues, "Some of the deals we
thought were going to go through have been postponed. However, then
there are others who see this as the opportunity to go ahead."
Michael Spellman, whose company IGE Solutions Inc. in Jupiter,
Fla., represents a number of European as well as Chinese companies,
was in the booth of Landglass, a Chinese equipment supplier he has
represented for the past six months.
Asked if the economic conditions are having an effect, he says,
"When this all came up, I called a couple of leasing companies
that I'd worked with and they said they had plenty of money because
none of the entities they worked with had not been involved in the
He continues, "Actually, very few people in the glass industry
have leased over the years. In the stone industry it has been the
opposite and the stone industry is dead while the glass industry
is doing well."
What kind of equipment are his clients looking at? "Tempering
machines and supporting equipment (CNC drilling and milling machines,
CNC work stations, washing machines)," he answers without hesitation.
"The architectural market is going strong thanks to commercial,"
he states. "Looking out at my business and the long lead time
there is, I expect the next couple of years should be good,"
"The big question is why are people still so interested,"
Spellman says. "Companies are still expanding and going into
new areas. We're not seeing a lot of replacement of machines. People
are maintaining them and they're lasting longer."
So, why are they interested? "On the East Coast, the hurricane
glass market is saturated. There is more capacity than there is
demand," he says. "But this market is still growing in
other parts of the country."
Therefore, Spellman says that he expects sales of laminating equipment
to go down for a while and then go back up. "But tempering
furnaces are just forging ahead," he says.
How is the economic crisis affecting things in the Southern Hemisphere?
Anecdotal sentiments on the show floor were that some South Americans
did not come to the show due to the costs and the uncertainty of
business conditions. However, Camilo Gomez, director general of
Cigtra Ltda., which is the representative for AGC Flat Glass in
Columbia, said that for right now things are fine in his country.
"However, as you know, if the U.S. sneezes, Latin America gets
triple pneumonia," he says
One long-time industry observer and participant Dino Fenzi, who
heads up his own company as well as serving as the head of Vitrum,
the Italian equipment show, and the former head of GIMAV, the association
of Italian equipment manufacturers which filled one complete hall
and half of another at the show, made the point that the Italian
companies do not have to worry so much about the credit situation
because they are family-owned entities that have not taken on large
debts. "Who knows if we will have a recession or a depression
but the Italian companies are prepared and equipped to deal with
it," he says.
The bottom line seems to be that while the economic/financial crisis
has made people uneasy about their own personal situations, business
is still going forward and deals are being done at glasstec.
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