By Ellen Chilcoat
TAMPERE, FINLAND-More than 850 fabricators, manufacturers, researchers, suppliers
and other professionals involved in the glass industry around the world have gathered
in Tampere, Finland for the bi-annual Glass Processing Days (GPD) sponsored by
GPD activities began on Friday, June 17 with the opening ceremonies, in which
Pentti Yliheljo, CEO of Kyro Corp. parent of Tamglass, and Jorma Vitkala, chairman
of the GPD organizing committee, welcomed attendees.
The opening address from Arthur Ulens, executive vice president of AGC Flat
Glass and CEO of Glaverbel, looked at how the shifts and changes in markets can
be appealing innovations for the glass industry. The glass industry, he explained,
is rapidly changing. "And how we respond to it makes a difference."
He also talked about the increasing presence and activity of China in the glass
"China is unique," he said. "China has 130 float lines; there
are 160 in the rest of the world."
He continued, "Can a global glass manufacturer really not afford to be
present in China?" He then asked the question differently: "Can a glass
manufacturer really afford not to view China as a necessity?" He encouraged
everyone to consider these points.
Other opening presentations came from Nick Limb with Ducker Research who focused
on the global architectural glass market. He talked about the growth of flat glass,
market evolution and product evolution. In North America, he said, total glass
demand is about 650 million square meters. Of that, 63 percent is for residential/commercial
glazing; 26 percent is automotive, and 1 percent is specialty.
Looking at product evolution, Limb said that any product with market benefits
takes many years to be adopted.
"The flat glass industry continues to do a great job of developing new
products," Limb said. He added that the primary driver of any product continues
to be aesthetics and how the product will look in a building.
Ann Vereecke gave the final presentation: Competitive Success Through Supply
Vitkala said he was very pleased with the opening ceremonies and the responses
GPD 2005 has been receiving. "I'm pleased with the attendance and very good
presentations." He said that the shift to have GPD over the weekend seems
to have been a positive one. "It's brought more people. All the top managers
from the biggest groups are here; they comprise 35 percent of all the delegates."
GPD Plenary Speaker
Keith Boswell a partner with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in San Francisco, was
today's GPD plenary speaker. He focused on several projects in which his firm
has been involved in China and California.
He began with the Legend Phase II project in Beijing, which includes two office
towers with a cable wall structure strung between the towers' structural steel
walls. Boswell explained that the cable wall structure was designed to resemble
a swinging bridge in China.
"One of the interesting things about doing business in China is the rapid
speed at which things get built," he said in describing the quick construction
turnaround time of the project.
He also talked about the importance of having good relationships with the other
parties involved in the jobs.
"I cannot emphasize enough how important it is as an architect to have
a supportive client; a client that challenges your work." He explained that
because his clients on this job were so supportive, they, as architects, were
able to stay very involved throughout the construction project.
Other jobs he talked about were the Poly Plaza and the Jiano Tower, both in
China, and the University of California, Merced and the Cathedral of Christ the
Light, which are both in California.
In addition to the many sessions offered, GPD is not without relaxation time.
There have been cocktail receptions, dinners and other receptions that have provided
opportunities to meet friends and colleagues. GPD concludes today with its farewell