Competition seeks autoglass masters
International Master Fitter Competition
An international autoglass competition is gaining momentum in North
America after the National Glass Association (NGA) accepted an offer in
September to participate in this event.
An international autoglass competition is gaining momentum in North America after the National Glass Association (NGA) accepted an offer in September to participate in this event.
Organized by Automotive Glazing Europe (UEMV), the International Master Fitter Competition pits champion master autoglass installers from participating countries against each other where they compete to determine who performs the highest quality autoglass replacement and repair. The overall objective of the event is to promote training and excellence in the autoglass industry.
UEMV is the umbrella organization for the European flat glass industry. UEMV members are national glass and glazing organizations from 12 European countries and thousands of European companies are represented through their national organizations. The competition began in 2000 and is held biennially in conjunction with Glasstec in Düsseldorf, Germany. Glasstec is the largest international glass industry exposition of its kind, drawing 55,000 visitors with 60 percent coming from outside Germany.
“The UEMV invited the NGA to participate after several months of discussions concerning the examination standards and criteria,” says Pim de Ridder, managing director of UEMV. NGA will be the sole American representative in the competition, which draws participants from The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and Great Britain. Invitations have also been extended to organizations in Australia and New Zealand.
What about Canada?
“Yes Canada has been invited,” says de Ridder who contacted Glass Canada from his office in The Netherlands. “We would sincerely like to have a Master Fitter from Canada to broaden the international scope of this competition,” he says, clarifying that there is one technician representing his or her country, with one helper only to assist in the safe handling of the windshield, and that they refer to these competitors as ‘national heroes’.
For the last three events all competitors worked on the same make and model Mercedes, however, the car designated for the next competition will be kept a secret until the event begins. The technicians are responsible for replacing the windshield, referred to as a windscreen in Europe, as well as the side lites and back glass. de Ridder also adds that the International Master Fitter Competition has raised the awareness of the specialization behind the autoglass industry and has served to promote the value of this industry among participating countries.
Mike Summers, the autoglass division director for the Canadian Glass Association (CGA), delivered a PowerPoint presentation for the CGA board during a recent meeting suggesting that Canada should get involved with this competition. “The competition in 2006 will be significant since additional countries such as the US will be participating and now this event will command greater world attention,” he says. He adds that the CGA needs more representation from the Canadian autoglass sector and organizing a Canadian Master Fitters Competition to send a team to Germany would raise the profile of the CGA.
The CGA agrees with this, however, the association decided there was not enough time to organize something for 2006 and asked Summers to continue to correspond with the managing director of the UEMV to organize something for the next event which will take place in 2008. -end-