New FIT Show glass event

‘Visit Glass’ has been launched by the organisers of the FIT Show, which will run alongside the main event at the NEC, Birmingham, in May 2019.

Responding to the 40% of the 10,000 visitors to the 2017 FIT Show who declared their interest in seeing glass products and glass-related processing equipment and technology at the event, Visit Glass will become the first UK exhibition and forum dedicated to the manufacture, processing and application of flat glass for almost 15 years.

The event is designed to appeal to glass industry professionals, together with specifiers and buyers of flat glass products and systems. These include insulated glass units, architectural glass, processed flat glass for all non-glazing applications including kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and the furniture industry; and glass for interiors including offices and decorative interior design schemes.

Prompted by the visitor feedback, the organisers of the FIT show carried out further research into the viability of such an event and were told that professionals operating in the sector would respond positively for something created specifically to address the unique needs of the UK flat glass industry, one that continues to undergo substantial technological and market changes.

They also learned that, despite the success of the FIT Show, it  did not serve the specific needs of flat glass manufacture, processing and technology. That will now be addressed by the launch of Visit Glass.

The FIT Show’s Nickie West said: “Despite glass being an obvious and essential component of almost everything that is shown at the FIT Show, the glass industry has needs that are quite distinct in almost every respect.

“After analysis of visitor research at the 2017 FIT Show we realised that glass-related topics were some of the highest categories they wanted to see at the show. However, this was not reflected in what they saw there. Visit Glass will address this imbalance through a distinct, separate event alongside the FIT Show.”

David Broxton, managing director of Bohle, and former Glassex exhibition director, said: “The launch of the Visit Glass feature is an exciting development for the 2019 FIT Show but it will be a challenge for the organisers. The glass processing sector is a very different audience from the insulated glass, doors, windows and conservatory trade, although there is much more of a crossover today than when GP&T split away from Glassex.

“Sliding glass doors, balustrades, shower enclosures and wet rooms have become as much a part of home improvement as ‘double glazing’ and there are clear diversification opportunities for every part of the glass and glazing trade.”

David said the key to attracting glass processors will be to follow FIT Show’s lead and invest sector-specific visitor promotion.

“A different coloured carpet and some fancy signage will not cut it and I suspect most of the blue chip exhibitors that will attract processors will demand evidence of the marketing investment before committing,” he said. “As for Bohle, we will be at the FIT Show whatever happens and we will watch with interest how Visit Glass develops.”

The FIT Show organisers said there will be a substantial marketing campaign to encourage a wide cross section of the glass industry, in addition to users and specifiers.

Visit Glass will take place in its own clearly designated space at the NEC alongside the FIT Show, in a space that combines key exhibitors representing leading brands alongside a seminar programme dedicated to the glass industry and markets in the UK.

Visit Glass has already attracted a key number of exhibitors, including Pilkington, Saint-Gobain, Edgetech, Lisec, National Glass Group and Sapphire Glass Merchants.

A dedicated seminar theatre within Visit Glass will offer a comprehensive programme of seminars addressing UK and general issues relating to the manufacture, processing and application of flat glass.

Industry experts are being consulted to ensure content that is relevant for the UK flat glass industry when the event takes place in May 2019.

Visitors will also be encouraged to network in the Visit Glass bar, access for which will be granted to Visit Glass pre-registered visitors who will automatically be granted VIP status. Visit Glass and FIT Show visitors will have full access to both events.