Joginder S. Bimbh, Sales Manager of TAMCO Gulf Ltd., a participant at the ongoing Front 2004 exhibition at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Being held from 14 to 17 March 2004, Front is the Middle East's first and only specialized event dedicated to showcasing the latest range of doors, windows, blinds, roofs, walls and products and technology used in fabricating & maintaining them.
Explaining the concept behind Smart Windows, Mr. Joginder said, 'As a step towards saving air-conditioning costs and energy, some researchers have been working on smart windows. This exciting, cutting-edge window technology allows consumers to block either all light or just some by simply turning a knob or pressing a button. Depending on the mechanism that initiates the change in the window, these 'switchable glazings' fall into four categories: electrochromic, liquid crystal, thermochromic and photochromic.'
Smart Windows will be a major step for particularly the GCC region's quest to optimise thermal insulation for buildings. Given the region's high temperatures and thus, high air-conditioning costs, thermal insulation has been an important issue facing the region's construction industry. Last year for instance, Dubai enacted a thermal insulation law for the construction industry, which is now also being increasingly implemented by Sharjah and the other Emirates, Mr. Joginder pointed out.
In the recent past, he said, Unplasticised PVC window and door frames have been providing a thermal break for buildings, given that PVC is a bad conductor of heat, as opposed to aluminium. Hence, the increasing use of UPVC window and door frames in this region.
The combination of Smart Window's specialised glazings on UPVC frames, once they hit the market, could potentially save billions of dollars on heating, cooling and lighting costs throughout the world, he said.
Commenting on the fenestration industry's latest technical trends, Engineer Mohammed M. Hamid, General Manager of Gulf U.P.V.C Industries said, 'Development activity in the industry indicates that fibreglass is emerging as a competitive fenestration material for the 21st century.
'In recent months,' he pointed out, 'the American Architectural Manufacturers Association has established a Fiberglass Materials Council to further develop standards and promote fibreglass as a viable fenestration material.
'Fibreglass has many positive attributes,' Mr. Mohammed said. 'For instance, it is considered to be essentially environmentally inert. And, because it is a combination of glass (essentially sand) and resin, fiberglass features low embodied energy, i.e. the energy required to produce the basic material.
'Fibreglass also has a high strength-to-weight ratio, while its tensile strength is comparable to that of steel.
Also, because a major ingredient is glass, it has a very similar coefficient of expansion as the glass it holds.
This means it can be used to produce larger windows with thinner frames, with less concern for glass deflection. High strength also means higher levels of wind-load performance and greater resistance to forced entry,' he concluded.
Being the Middle East's only exhibition on the fenestration industry, Front 2004 has received a good response from the region's consultants, builders, architects, designers and traders. At the end of the second day of the show, trade visitors from 26 countries have attended the show. Visitors have come from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and U.A.E.
'Keeping the context that Front is a highly specialised, vertical industry show, we can confidently say that it has been remarkably successful in brining professionals and businessmen from the international and regional fenestration industry together for greater synergy, co-operation and profitable business ventures,' said Mr. Fasahat Ali Khan, Deputy Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah.
'We have had a very good response,' said Mr. Mohammed M. Hamid on behalf of Gulf U.P.V.C. Industries participation. 'In this show, we have already appointed agents in Oman and Sharjah, and we have received enquiries, which if finalised, would amount to business in millions of Dirhams.' The company specializes in Side-hung, Double-Side hung, Tilt-N-Turn, Sliding, Tilt-N-Slide, Continuous Arch & Partitioned UPVC doors and windows.
Mr. Paul Wong, Sales Manager of Necker International Ltd. from Singapore said, ' We have received over 50 enquiries as of the second day, and are quite happy with our participation.'
Mr. Ernst V. Renner, Managing Director of Renner Premium Building Materials, representing Gunther-Doors Germany had a similar satisfied response to the show. So did Mr. Asif Noor of Doors & Wardrobes company.