Door and Window Musings
by Tara Taffera
March 26th, 2018

Fabulous Fensterbau

Yes,that headline is a little cheesy, but if you have been to this door and window trade show held every two years in Germany, you undoubtedly agree. Here are just a few of the interesting takeaways from my trip here, my third so far.

Roto showcased four themes in its booth as it related to its XT product. One of these is security which has president Chris Dimou seriously thinking about the future.

The forward thinkers are paying attention. One of the many CEOs I have gotten to know in this industry is Chris Dimou, CEO, the Americas for Roto Frank of America. As he took me through the company’s expansive booth, which hosted almost 70 attendees from North America and nearly 10,000 more from other countries, he commented on the future. That of technology built into the hardware, shown at his booth and in others on the show floor. Specifically, of windows equipped with sensors in the hardware which can help determine if a window is open or closed. And if it’s not closed, the homeowner can change that with the touch of a remote button.

The problem is Europe has this frequency technology set up through its EnOcean Alliance, but the U.S isn’t yet equipped. According to its website, “EnOcean Alliance is the only energy harvesting wireless standard and is dedicated to automation solutions for sustainable buildings using energy harvesting wireless technology and so to make buildings more energy-efficient, more flexible and lower in cost.”

My thought was this is cool for Europe, but this is so far off in the U.S. Dimou doesn’t necessarily agree with me. “I need to make investments now to be ready for this in North America,” he said. “It will come here faster than you think. We believe in the next five years.”

Time for tilt and turns in the U.S.? One machinery company representative told me window manufacturers in the U.S. are finally becoming interested in manufacturing a tilt-and-turn window. Why now, I inquired. It could be related to the diminishing workforce and the move toward fully automated machinery. Time will tell if this window type starts seeing increased numbers in the U.S.

ADA is a high priority. I don’t ever remember covering a show and hearing so many exhibitors talk about products that meet Americans with Disability Act requirements. And here in Germany, exhibitors report that attendees came by asking to see these product options.

Commercial is a focus. This is my third trip to Fensterbau, and I don’t remember so much glass and commercial products in past years. So no matter what your market, residential, commercial or both, there is a lot the event has to offer in terms of the latest technology.

A cool display. Giant booths appear in seven halls at this massive event. So it even comes as a surprise to me that the display that most caught my attention was the very modest Technoform booth. Here, the company had various profiles from dozens of countries. Attendees were then given iPads and they held this in front of the product and immediately could see many features such as the U-factor, the type of spacer, sealant, etc.

Cheek kissing. You heard it right. I’m putting it in print so I remember two years from now when I return from Fensterbau. Germans kiss on the cheek twice and in Belgium it’s three times. There you go! You’re welcome.

These are just a few of my observations. Myself and DWM editor Trey Barrineau, along with our outstanding video producer Chris Bunn, put out four videos , four stories and nearly 100 social media posts. If you missed any of it, you can view the videos and stories below. Check out DWM and TaraTaffera on twitter for all our updates.

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