More than just a shopfront

Glasstec offers an insight into the trends that are defining glass processing, now and into the future. Dave Broxton, managing director, Bohle explains.

Glasstec is on an altogether different scale. It’s not just the size of Düsseldorf’s Messe exhibition centre, it’s about who is there, where they come from, and what they have to say. Glasstec is about leading-edge global innovation in glass and processing technologies.

This is why it’s so special, it’s about the innovation being delivered now, and the commercial opportunities and the potential that it delivers to the glass processing industry going forward. A range of innovations are expanding the application of glass all of the time, doing so with greatly increased efficiency.

For me, this was one of the key themes running through this year’s event. The industry is doing more with less. (This is something that it perhaps owes to the downturn.)

Automation in glass processing was another. Machinery and optimisation of processes in any large scale manufacturing facility remains key if glass processors are to remain competitive.

This year’s exhibition also placed significant focus on how new manufacturing technologies have expanded the application of architectural glass systems within the building sector.

Contemporary architecture has a growing appetite for the use of glass internally and in the external building envelope. The Glasstec seminar programme explored themes of building ‘translucency’ and the ‘plays’ between light and shadow, which it delivers.

This includes some startling benefits to the health and well-being of those who occupy and work within them, to increased productivity and reduced absence. It also evidences the market potential of a new generation of products – notably in the commercial sector.

Frametec, our office partitioning system, fits this bill. It was developed to support glass processors in accessing the growing commercial market

Ideally suited to new build or retrofit markets, the system is configurable as a partial or full partitioning solution. It also delivers a high level of sound-proofing when used as a floor-to-ceiling system, along with significant installation efficiencies.

And there are others: the EasyMount Fix and the Vario balustrading systems, for example. It’s these innovations, which will deliver product through-pull to glass processors, that expand the envelope and application of glass in our homes and workplaces.

Another high pull-through product, of albeit more established usage, is the new Madrid shower door hinge. Featuring a contemporary square design, the one side opening, chrome plated brass door hinge is suitable for 8mm and 10mm glass, with minimal glass processing, offering a continuous door seal and proved popular with visitors to Bohle’s 900m2 Glasstec stand.

This saw incredible traffic from a large number of European and UK glass processors throughout the show. Alongside Frametec and the Madrid shower door hinge, it featured the latest in Bohle’s machinery offer, fittings, UV bonding, surface protection, consumables, vacuum technology and glass processing tools, each the product of Bohle’s continuing research and development programme.

This included new high output UV-tube lamps, the latest incarnations of our Versalux and Masterbelt belt grinding machines, plus new CNC milling cutter machine tools.

Glasstec is a shop front but it’s much more; it’s a reminder of potential, what can be achieved with glass; and how it can be achieved more effectively. It provides a useful lesson for us all.