YuMi is a collaborative dual-arm industrial robot that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in record time. ABB Robotics created YuMi and says it could lead the way to robotic “co-workers” that will work side-by-side with humans while ensuring the safety of those around it. It was displayed in GED’s booth.

This was definitely a different show thanks to Hurricane Irma, but GlassBuild 2017 in Atlanta was still a great venue to talk to both suppliers and window and door manufacturers about the state of the industry. Here are some of my key takeaways/observations:

Doors are booming: The big news at the Roto booth was a variety of hardware products for doors. Dan Gray, director of sales, said “doors are huge right now, and door hardware sales are up 12 percent.”

Black is back: I heard from several suppliers that the color black is exploding when it comes to door and window profiles. They weren’t sure why, but perhaps because of the contemporary trend, one expert guessed.

Glass in short supply?: One phrase a window manufacturer doesn’t want to hear — glass shortage— was bantered about at GBA. A few window manufacturers told me they are starting to worry about this, especially as reconstruction after hurricanes Harvey and Irma starts ramping up in Texas and Florida.

Automation really is here: And it’s not just for machinery—the software plays into this as well. “If you don’t automate, you won’t be in business,” said Soft Tech’s Daryl Huber. This means you need more complex software, and maybe even robots like the ones that were on display in GED’s booth.

One of the coolest things at the show: Caldwell showed how automation is advancing in the entire home. John Kessler challenged attendees to come to their booth and find the motor in their products. He also gave a preview of the company’s Gateway product, which will be in the marketplace early next year. Imagine this: the temperature drops outside, which triggers the closing of your sliding glass door and an automatic adjustment of the furnace temperature. It’s coming.

Everything is Good: All four quadrants of the industry are performing well, said Mike Collins, principal, Building Industry Advisors: residential, commercial, remodeling and new construction.

Alarming fact: Regulatory costs have gone up 25 percent over the last five years, Collins added.

Watch out for: “The current thing in litigation is water intrusion,” said Collins, after talking to several lawyers who work with door and window companies. Installers, take note.

You can always count on: Barry Lawrence, owner, Lawrence Industries, to fortify his made-in-America message and give a good soundbyte: “It’s all [everything at the booth] made in America in the land of Donald Trump.”

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