Back On: PPG to Supply STARPHIRE Glass to One World Trade Center; Fabrication Will Still Take Place in China
October 29, 2010

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop glass to be used for One World Trade Center, PPG was told in early 2009 that the contract for that project was instead going to a Chinese glass company (CLICK HERE for the full investigative report, from USGlass in March 2009 ). But today, PPG Industries announced that it has received an order to supply STARPHIRE® ultra-clear, low-iron glass for One World Trade Center in New York. The glass will be used for the podium wall system on Tower One, which is currently under construction at the new World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan.

Gary Danowski, PPG vice president, performance glazings, talked exclusively to USGlass magazine following the announcement regarding how PPG was ultimately awarded the project more than a year and a half following that decision.

“A few months ago we started to become re-engaged with some meetings with the Port Authority, and Tishman Construction,” he says. “For whatever reason we got reengaged and I’m not sure what the reason was. We showed them some initial samples of Starphire and got pulled into more and more discussions regarding potentially fitting into the supply chain.”

But Danowski says that even after that initial meeting he didn’t think PPG would be awarded the project.
“To be honest I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere,” says Danowksi. “We thought it was too late: glass samples were being made, structural steel was moving. Albeit the meeting was interesting and there were some discussion points but to be honest with you I’m surprised that we are where we are today—though I’m happy about it.”

As to why the original Chinese glass supplier is no longer involved, Danowski says they are not privy to that information.

“The reality is we are not privy to whoever was making that decision—the factual reason. We have our own theories,” he says.

Danowski points out that the only thing that has changed with the project is that PPG is now supplying the glass; it will still be fabricated in China.

“We are supplying the glass to Sanxin who will fabricate the glass then it will come back to the United States to be installed in the project,” he says. “We would have preferred to work through a shorter supply chain and recommended some alternatives. Ultimately, though, this wasn’t our decision.”

Steve Coleman with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told USGNN today that “the original supplier (with good quality product) in China fell through.”

“They didn’t want the job,” says Coleman. “The broker tried another supplier in China and that product did not meet the color requirements. Now we are purchasing from PPG and shipping the glass to China for fabrication. The machine used to fabricate is already built in China.”

Danowski reports that PPG signed a letter of intent three to four weeks ago, and the purchase order was finalized a week ago.

“Next week we will start making the product in Carlisle and will start shipping immediately and into the next six to nine months as Sanxin fabricates the glass,” he says.

Starphire ultra-clear glass uses a proprietary low-iron formulation that the company says makes it the industry’s clearest, most transparent architectural glass. PPG will supply the product in thicknesses of 10, 12 and 25 millimeters from its glass manufacturing plant near Carlisle, Pa.

DCM and Zetian did not respond to USGNN's request for comment, while Tishman Construction officials declined to comment. Stay tuned to USGNN.com for further updates as they become available.

CLICK HERE for the announcement from PPG.

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