Amid COVID-19, Trade Shows Digitize Products and Seminars into Virtual Trade Show Spaces

From the start of February through the middle of the year, COVID-19 kept door and window professionals in a constant state of wondering: would there be any trade shows in 2020? One by one, live 2020 events cancelled and hopes waned.

By now there’s no debating that conferences and trade shows have proven an essential part of business and industry. As a result, shows must go on—somehow, someway.

In June, two virtual events were announced: the industry’s newest trade show, GlassCon Global-GlassExpo VE, and GlassBuild Connect.

As virtual events, both shows look to replace in-person gatherings, and just as companies have learned to function over remote connections and video conferencing, trade show organizers rely on similar tools in order to bring exhibitors and attendees together.

As it turns out, 2020 is more than just the year of COVID-19; it’s the year that virtual trade shows took over the landscape.

GlassCon Global-GlassExpo VE

GlassCon Global-GlassExpo VE will take place over the course of two days: September 9-10, and organizers say it is unlike any virtual event seen thus far, and is much more than a website or a series of seminars. The virtual platform contains many opportunities to engage and interact between exhibitors and attendees. The educational line-up includes more than 20 sessions, complete with live question-and-answer sessions with presenters. This includes a panel discussion, “The Door and Window Industry in a Post-Pandemic World.” The session will be hosted by [DWM] publisher Tara Taffera and panelists include Jeff Jackson, CEO of window manufacturing company PGT Innovations and Ed Kalaher, president and CEO of Window Depot USA with 60 locations throughout the U.S.

In a presentation titled “Glass Industry Outlook: Potential Impacts of COVID-19,” Key Media & Research director of research Nick St. Denis will give an update on the U.S. construction economy with a focus on architectural glass and glazing.

Another panel, “What you Need to Know About Buying Machinery,” will be hosted by USGlass editor Ellen Rogers, and will include knowledgeable experts from the machinery industry.

The event will also include a keynote by Dr. Franz Prettenthaler, M.Litt, the Director of LIFE Institute for Climate, Energy and Society at Joanneum Research, and one of the world’s experts on economic climate impact and risk modeling.

Climatologists continue to sound the alarm on climate change and the drastic impact it is having (and will have) on day-to-day lives and construction. He will share his expertise with attendees by examining the impacts of climate change on urban living, energy consumption and the role doors and windows will play in sustainable and resilient design.

Co-sponsored by the Finishing Contractors Association International, [DWM] and USGlass magazine, the event combines the well-known GlassCon Global educational program with Glass Expos for a familiar two-day format.

The event starts with an optional, preshow Virtual 5K designed to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Open to runners and walkers, participants in Run for Glass VE 5K receive authentic race medals, t-shirts and downloadable race bibs. Registration is $35 (separate from GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE) and all materials are mailed in advance directly to registered participants.

“When we began working on plans for Glass Expo VE, we knew we wanted it to be something unlike other virtual events, and to offer participants additional activities so that it would feel more like a live event,” says Holly Biller, vice president of digital media services for Key Media & Research, parent
company of [DWM] and USGlass magazines. “Since we know there are many people in the industry who enjoy both running and walking, we decided that offering a virtual 5K as an option would be a fun and healthy extracurricular activity.”

Other virtual networking activities include a virtual wine tasting, sponsored by Groves Inc., the evening of September 9 and morning meditation on the morning of September 10—both optional.

Virtual Spaces

The look and feel of GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE is designed to approximate the familiar feel of industry tradeshows. Show partners are equipped with virtual booth spaces where they’re able to share product info and videos, as well as engage with attendees through live chat functions. Networking lounges, resource centers and other interactive avenues are also available for participants to connect.

Attendees enter through a virtual lobby, where they can then navigate to the exhibit hall, an auditorium (for the event’s educational programming) and a lounge for networking. On the trade show floor, company booths are represented by graphics and logos, which can be clicked to bring up videos of services, products and PDF catalogues and spec sheets that attendees can gather and save. Salespeople and representatives can login to engage with attendees and answer questions in real-time during show hours. Attendees will be able to see a list of personnel on hand in each booth to request specific representatives.

To register go to, and use the promo code DWMM.

GlassBuild Connect

With the show’s cancellation in late June and the next GlassBuild America set to take place September 13-15, 2021 in Atlanta, GlassBuild Connect is a new virtual event now set to last throughout the month of September 2020. Daily content will be presented through a variety of content types, including unique articles and blogs, webinars, videos, guest speakers, recorded demos, product highlights, town hall and panel discussions, interviews and people highlights, and more.

Starting September 1, visitors can login for:
• “Trendhunter” coverage, designed to highlight industry developments;
• Technical and code presentations;
• Demonstration videos;
• “Ask the experts” sessions;
• Webinars and town-hall-style meetings; and
• Product-specific social media.

Organizers have also developed sessions for particular audiences on specific days including:

Monday. As glass fabricators and manufacturers navigate the health and safety of the workforce and customer demand, factory production and process are more challenging than ever. Each Monday, registered visitors of will get the details and insights they need to adapt, improve and be profitable.

Tuesday. This day will spotlight the latest industry forecasts, leading indexes, major market trends and more that will shape 2021 and beyond.

Wednesday. The design and construction industry continues to seek better performing glass and glazing solutions. Organizers say Performance Wednesdays is a deep dive into the products, systems, regulations, and solutions that will help companies respond to challenges and opportunities.

Thursday. Larger glass, increasingly complex building envelopes and digital construction processes challenge glazing contractors in new ways every day. Installation Thursdays seek to help project managers and installers learn and adapt to the changes in the field and in the office.

Friday. Specifically geared to the residential door and window market, these sessions will target companies ranging from installers working in the home to companies manufacturing fenestration systems.

Show Products

GEVE = Glass Expo VE

GBC = GlassBuild Connect

Erdman Automation GEVE, GBC

Erdman plans to feature High Speed Dura—a line that produces insulating glass (IG) vertically, in a fashion that nearly doubles the speed of traditional vertical lines by operating at twice the rate, according to company information. Dura is a first ever for vertical automation in the single-seal IG market, officials say, which eliminates the need to tip a unit up to four times in the production sequence. As a result, the system is designed to save time and eliminate injury potential, while qualifying more operators for service and minimizing breakage. Total labor for the Dura High Speed line is three to four operators per up to 1,200 or more units per shift.

The company will also feature its Unmanned Robotic IG Work Cell, which reduces labor from four to six operators down to “less than one,” officials report. The system is capable of producing 1,440 units in 24 hours.

Wakefield Equipment GEVE, GBC

With labor shortages and the need for social distancing hanging over the industry, Wakefield Equipment’s K-51DV Flipping Table and Conveyor allows one person to handle large doors and windows. The machine’s ergonomic features also help to ensure safety.

The company will have officials on hand to explain the benefits, while also offering product info for download. The unit is custom-built to manufacturers exact needs and specifications.

FrontLine Bldg. Products Inc. GEVE, GBC

Frontline plans to stock its digital booth with info on a range of door and window solutions, including the company’s Entry Door Systems, which offers a lifetime solution for durability, officials say, and doesn’t require painting. With 16-gauge extruded aluminum cladding, door systems are available in 12 standard colors with custom color capability.

The company will also include info on its Oversized Direct Set Window that’s designed to incorporate expansive glass and simulated divided lites with aluminum SDL profiles. Officials say an extensive catalog of aluminum profiles are available to match OEM options, while a comprehensive collection of wood SDL profiles are available to complement modern or historic applications, utilizing only 3M VHB tape for superior adhesion.

Continental GBC

Continental will feature many products including the premiere of skai Mattex, which the company describes as an extremely matte exterior surface for laminated surfaces that comes with added value. This innovation is following an R&D process to perfectly replicate the look and feel of powder-coated aluminum with a particularly fine, yet concisely structured surface, says the company. A vinyl window laminated with skai Mattex is indistinguishable from a window with powder-coated aluminum cladding, the company adds. The surface is particularly scratch resistant due to its grain structure. In addition, it is sealed with a PVDF-layer resulting in a particularly low surface tension that makes it easy to clean. It is highly resistant to chemicals. Due to its high temperature resistance, it shows no gloss development during either welding or bending, and is available in nine trendy colors ranging from white to black.

Roto North America GEVE, GBC

Officials for Roto say they’re excited to make a digital debut for new X-DRIVE Evolve OP08 Operators. Thanks to this new option, customers can now use a split-arm operator in egress applications, while the increased length of the product’s connect arm provides a mechanical advantage. This, they say, results in easier operation. Operators allow for an easy conversion from a standard “washability” hinge window, as only the hinge arms need to be swapped out. The use of a single arm operator is no longer necessary, reducing SKU’s and eliminating a different route location, according to company information. Also available for review and download will be information on the X-DRIVE Evolve Contemporary Casement Hardware, featuring new contemporary style lock handles, operator covers and crank handles. Attendees can review the product’s plethora of color options.

Other products available for review include Roto Patio Inowa, the H600 swing door, a Roto Patio Door featuring the company’s 9100D and 9100 handles with our kick lock and rollers and the new Roto NX System, a casement system that features the new OP08 operator.

Strybuc Industries GEVE, GBC

Strybuc will have sales and product representatives logged in through its virtual booth, where they’re available to assist customers with questions about the door and window hardware industry, as well as provide info on product specifications and applications. Attendees looking to network will fi nd company president James “Murph” Murphy on hand, along with sales managers and others.

Products will include Strybuc’s point-of-purchase parts identification displays. Show discounts will be given to all visitors for new shower door hardware for frameless shower systems, high-performance caulk applicators, and private label foam glass cleaners in 4 oz. and 19 oz. cans. Free copies of the company’s 2020 Master Catalog will also be available for download, along with the 2020 New Swing Door, Commercial Door, and Sliding Door Catalog.

Guardian Glass GEVE

Guardian Glass North America plans to bring its newest product and services to GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE, including the company’s fast-growing online library of technical papers and videos. The company will highlight how its downloadable resources aim to help architects, fabricators, window manufacturers and glazing contractors to design, build and work with glass.

Information will also be available for ClimaGuard® 80/71 coated glass, which helps residential projects meet increasingly stringent energy programs with a preliminary center-of-glass solar heat gain coefficient as high as 0.71 and a U-factor as low as 0.266 in standard insulating glass units equipped with 3 mm glass. Meanwhile, the company’s proprietary warm-edge spacer has been rebranded as Guardian Align, including a fresh new look.


As companies key in on automation and remote features, GED Integrated Solutions plans to be in the right place at the right time with some of its most advanced solutions. Visitors will find info on the Intercept 2.5 Spacer Fabrication System, which officials say produces spacers faster and more affordably than other spacer systems. The system allows you to quickly change between material types and can produce spacers at a rate of up to 85 feet per minute (up to eight spacers per minute without muntins).

Information will also be available on RoboFlow PT, a completely automated robotic pass through system for vinyl window manufacturing that goes from welding through cleaning and on to the next step with just a single operator. Information will also be available for the RoboClean Sash Twin-Head Vinyl Corner Cleaner and the company now offers its RoboClean product in a dedicated sash version with a smaller footprint: RoboClean RC2000-S.

FeneTech GEVE, GBC

Officials for FeneTech say they’ll provide virtual previews for the latest release of its FeneVision ERP software. As more companies rely on remote work these days, the fully integrated system operates on a graphical user interface running on a single database, allowing employees to see in real time exactly what is happening on the production floor.

For door, window and insulating glass manufacturers, FeneVision provides all the tools necessary for controlling each phase of production, including web and client-based quotation and order handling, pricing and costing, an integrated CAD for glass shapes, dynamic creation of bills of materials, capacity planning, production scheduling, lineal optimization and much more. The system also allows for mobile delivery using an iPad.

Anthony Innovations GEVE, GBC

Anthony Innovations will showcase two of its newest products: the 1000 series and the GIANTQuad. Officials say the company’s 1000 Series roller “performs above all else within its class,” including features such as increased adjustment range, ease of adjustment under load and improved rolling performance. Accommodating panel weights up to 550 lbs., the 1000 Series also includes an inbuilt retention system ensuring the product is aligned during the complete adjustment range and offers numerous housing options and wheel variations to suit specific extrusions.

As the name alludes, officials suggest that GIANTQuad is “the strongest roller in the market.” The product features an 1100-lb. load capacity allowing for doors up to 2,200 lbs. in weight—carrying as much as a Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup truck, they say. The product is also AAMA 906-18 certified and its 3-inch wheel diameter ensures smooth system operation.

Deceuninck GEVE, GBC

Known for its high-tech booths with oversized screens and cafes, Deceuninck looks to build a different buzz at virtual shows—this time with its 164 Impact Series. The high-performance window system is designed for light commercial, new construction and replacement applications, where it provides unrivaled strength for any storm condition. A sleek, modern design maximizes viewing area, while a multi-chamber frame reduces conduction and convection to improve energy efficiency and performance.

Multiple frame options include Florida flange, pre-punched fin and block, and multiple sash options include a contemporary sculpted design that’s compatible with multiple Deceuninck sash systems.

Quanex Building Products GEVE, GBC

In addition to products such as its full Edgetherm family of hot-melt and single-part sealants, its Super Spacer technology and Duralite spacers, Quanex aims to hook attendees on the benefits of outsourcing screen production. With full-service screens solutions throughout North America dedicated to custom manufacturing, officials say the company’s customers can eliminate raw material and finished goods inventory, while also cutting out the costs and equipment required for screen fabrication. Company representatives will be on hand to explain how those resources can be redirected toward higher-margin, primary manufacturing activities.

Also in the company’s virtual booth will be its Mikron House Systems, which are designed to offer something for every climate—giving door and window manufacturers the ability to differentiate their products for any market.

Veka Inc. GEVE, GBC

Veka’s booth will showcase the company’s new flagship door, the Corsair Gliding patio door system. Corsair is a saddle-style door that glides on a metal rail and features heavy-duty, face- or end-adjust steel rollers. The product can be customized for use in new construction or replacement, in two-, three- and four-panel configurations up to eight feet high, and it includes Veka’s exclusive FeneXseal technology to ensure proper installation and to defend against water penetration.

Officials say Corsair offers performance advantages over pocket-style doors with its triple weather seals, when comparing air and water infiltration, as well as ease of operation and installation. According to company information, a sloped sill is standard, can be fabricated using the same frame profi le welded on all four sides and is therefore less complex to manufacture than most saddle style doors.

Combilift GBC

Officials for Combilift say the company’s range of customized handling solutions make handling and storing the longest and bulkiest loads easy. The company will use it’s virtual booth space to show off a range of equipment, including pedestrian, articulated, multidirectional and side-loaders , which are engineered to save space, increase storage and handle long loads safely through narrow doors and aisles both indoors and out.

Whether you handle extreme length or palletized goods, the company is prepared to share information for solutions with capacities ranging from 5,000-220,000 lbs.


EDTM will highlight three of its latest products at this year’s virtual shows, including Glass-Chek ELITE, which adds the ability to identify laminated glass in windows, while also measuring the thickness of laminate inner-layers. The tool’s graphical display shows an illustration of window profiles, providing users with an overview of construction. Glass-Chek ELITE can also identify which pieces of glass have low-E coatings on them, when they’re placed against the laminate inner-layer, and the unit stores recent measurements so that users can pull up them up after returning to the office. The tool includes some of the primary features found in EDTM’s tools, such as measuring glass and spacer thickness, and identifies types of low-E coatings, indicating whether they’re hard- or soft-coats, as well as includes many other features.

The company will also feature its latest edge deletion detector, The Edge, which officials say is perfect for applications where you must determine if there is a low-E coating on the top surface of glass, and for salespeople, the company’s Low-E Card and Low-E Card+ detectors not only provide great options for in-home testing, but make great leave-behinds.

Chelsea Building Products GEVE, GBC

Chelsea plans to introduce its latest window series: the 9600 Series Single Hung. Featuring a side-load bottom sash for new construction. The series includes coordinating picture windows, an XO horizontal slider and XOX horizontal slider windows.

According to company information, the 9600 utilizes a universal frame system for the single hung and horizontal slider models for ease of manufacturing, while welded frames and sashes enhance structural integrity and increase weatherability.

Stürtz GEVE, GBC

Officials for Stürtz say they have two products to promote under the Pertici by Stürtz brand. The P527 Pertici 5 Axis Machining Center is designed to mill, drill, route, thread and cut a wide range of materials, including aluminum, steel, light alloys and PVC. The company’s P104/107 4 Axis Machining Center is designed to mill, drill, route and thread aluminum, steel, light alloys and PVC materials up to 2 mm thick.

Vitro Architectural Glass GEVE, GBC

Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG glass) will showcase some of its most commonly specified products, as well as its newest solutions. These include its new Solarban® Acuity glass, a low-E, low-iron upgrade from coated clear glass, and the Solarban® family of solar control, low-E glasses, now available in jumbo sizes up to 130 by 240 inches. In addition, Vitro will feature its daylighting strategies for low-iron glasses—such as Acuity low-iron glass and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass. The company also plans to spotlight the capabilities of the Vitro Concierge Program for large and complex projects utilizing the Vitro Certified Network of glass fabricators.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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