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USGNN Original StoryGlass Companies Branch Out into Metalcon

Metalcon, sponsored by the Metal Construction Association, is taking place today through Friday at the Baltimore Convention Center. Among metal companies such as Petersen Aluminum, Firestone Metal Products and Alcoa Architectural Products, glass-related companies are present on the show floor, if somewhat scarce.

According to Douglas Derusha, national sales manager for Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence (CRL), glass companies will find a benefit in exhibiting as more metal companies are looking to learn about glass.

"We're finding metal fabricators are integrating glass into their business," he says, "just like the glass guys have integrated metal into their business."

CRL's products, such as its sunshades and glass railings, certainly show such integration. Of interest to both industries, Derusha says, is the company's new Taper-Loc™ system, a dry-glazed system that was designed to cut in half the installation time of glass railings.

Of course, as David Bell, vice president of Quality Metalcrafts, in Ramsey, Minn., notes, "Everybody's trying to diversify."

Quality Metalcrafts produces a wide variety of architectural metal products, including column covers, sunscreens, canopies and wall panels, so perhaps it's a company that's well familiar with diversification.

In addition, Bell says to expect several new products, including a dry-glazed product, in the next few weeks.

Plyco Corp. in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is another company planning to branch out into a new direction-a direction that hasn't been mentioned much since the residential construction market's downturn. The commercial door manufacturer will begin adding residential doors to its product line, reports national sales and marketing manager Fred Mancusi.

"We'll catch it as it's going up," Mancusi says.

He also says that the company will begin to produce again its fire-rated door products with glass. Rather than the wired glass products it has used in the past, the company is exploring non-wired fire-rated glass options.

Wintech in Monett, Mo., is branching out as well. The company is somewhat of a first-time exhibitor at Metalcon. As Robert Berger, president, explains, several other booths at the show feature Wintech windows, but they aren't branded as such.

"We're here to begin branding," he says.

The company offers a primarily commercial line of windows that it has previously sold directly to general contractors and distributors, but hopes that soon a new audience will become familiar with the Wintech brand.

And speaking of diversification, a number of alternate glazing products also are being displayed here in Baltimore. Bay Installation Systems Inc. in Green Bay, Wis., is spotlighting its Baylight dome skylights; Glasteel in Moscow, Tenn., is displaying information on its Acrylit skylight and sidelight panels; and Palram in Kutztown, Pa., offers a corrugated polycarbonate that is designed to match metal cladding while letting in the light.

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