GPAD participants attended in-depth sessions on software integration, glass cutting and sealing and quality systems. The director of operational excellence and quality for a large insulating glass company summed up the reason for attending as an "excellent opportunity to learn about cutting edge technology in our industry as we grow our business and continue to stay ahead of the competition."
Preceeding GPAD was the FeneTech User Conference for existing customers
Christian Krenn from Softsolution in Austria presented with Nate Huffman of FeneTech line scanning for quality control and virtual digitizing systems for custom glass fabrication. FeneTech sells and supports the Softsolution Line Scanner and Virtual Digitizer in North America. Scott Knisely, President of Bystronic Glass, Inc. North America, presented his company's new high-performance glass cutting and insulating glass sealing equipment.
The meeting included a live demonstration on integrating iPads into glass businesses and a review of insulating glass installations by MGT Mayer Glastechnik in Feldkirch, Austria. Martin Mayer, president of the 130-person family firm with an international clientele in architectural glass, presented on the projects.
John Dwyer, president of Syracuse Glass Company, www.syracuseglass.com, a 101 year-old company with 85 employees, said one reason he came is because his company is relying more on systems because orders are getting more complex. "You need more robust software to accommodate the challenges of these more complex orders."
A customer for two years, Dwyer also attended the FeneVision User Conference Tuesday at the same location, including a special session for CEOs and company owners. "It is interesting to meet other people who use glass in different ways."
Dwyer came away from the two days with several ideas for improving his business. Because his company does significant custom work, he was impressed with integrated CAD capability available with the newest release of FeneVision. Dwyer also likes how web-based estimating and ordering can be extended to his customers through the software. And like many others, he sees possibilities in the portability and convenience of tablets. "I'm a big believer in iPads," he said. "I'm buying them for my sales people."
Heinz Weidmayer wasn't at GPAD to buy. His company, Durst Phototechnik Digital Technology GmbH, www.durst-online.com, in Leinz, Austria, makes equipment for decorative printing on glass. But he liked the "technology side of the conference, how functionality, uptime and reliability can be increased through integrated software."
Weidmayer noted that while glass companies in Europe have been more automated than in North America, he has seen companies here working to catch up the past few years. "They have increasingly added capabilities and efficiencies by more automation.
The president of a Michigan glass fabricator, who, like most of the attendees is not a FeneVision customer, said he attended for "the excellent opportunity to look in-depth at software. Everyone is trying to automate and improve flow. Prices for glass fabrications have been slashed so we have to look to efficiencies to regain profits."