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Glass and energy on display


February 13, 2009
By Canadian Rental Service

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Glass and Energy was a theme high on the agenda at the 20th Glasstec
show in Düsseldorf in October 2008. More than 1,300 exhibitors from
throughout the world presented their innovations in the fields of glass
industry, glass machinery and equipment construction as well as the
glazier trade. For the first time Glasstec occupied in excess of 73,000
square metres of net exhibition space.

Solar technologies top subjects at global trade fair.

energy 
More than 1,300 exhibitors took up 73,000 square metres of exhibition space at Glasstec. The event attracted about 55,000 visitors, a slight increase from the previous fair.
Photo by Renee Tillmann.

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Glass and Energy was a theme high on the agenda at the 20th Glasstec show in Düsseldorf in October 2008. More than 1,300 exhibitors from throughout the world presented their innovations in the fields of glass industry, glass machinery and equipment construction as well as the glazier trade. For the first time Glasstec occupied in excess of 73,000 square metres of net exhibition space.

About 55000 visitors, a slight increase in comparison to the previous event, attended the trade fair for the glass sector.

The proportion of international visitors was at roughly 58 per cent. Apart from solar technologies top subjects covered by this year’s Glasstec included the latest finishing and treatment technologies, innovations for technical glass as well as energy-efficient glass products and applications. Many solutions were launched and presented to the public for the first time at Glasstec 2008: such as a novel anti-microbial glass that kills up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria therefore making it ideal for use in hospitals or nursing homes. For architects these new types of functional glass mean more scope for creativity. Exhibits presented included glass that can be switched from transparent to frosted, at the touch of a button.
 
In the solar sector interesting innovations such as novel thin-film modules were on display offering a promising alternative to conventional silicon-based solar cells with their films measuring as little as few thousandths of a millimeter.

Glass is playing an ever increasing role in the generation of heat and electricity through sunlight, which means an increasingly lucrative market is now opening up for the glass industry and especially for machinery manufacturers. Thin film technology is particularly suited for integration into buildings which makes it possible to constantly exploit energy even without the presence of direct sunlight. The ready-made modules deployed can also be used as design elements for sun and heat insulation, light direction, shading or noise control. Possibilities also in terms of shapes and colours are almost unlimited. Thin film technology is particularly interesting for glass machinery manufacturers as well as for their customers, because glass is used as the base material and to cover the solar cells and the production methods are very similar to those used when producing quite normal sheets of insulation glass. It is precisely this similarity that glass machinery manufacturers used to their advantage when modifying their techniques to manufacture thin layer solar modules.

Glass manufacturers like AGC, Saint-Gobain and Scheuten also presented new glass developments tailored to the needs of the solar industry such as low-iron, textured or specially coated glass.

This year the Special Show “Glass Technology Live” proved to be the major attraction for visitors. The exhibition with accompanying symposium provided interesting insights into the future of glass technology. Its organizer, professor Stephan Behling, senior partner at Foster and Partners, and his team from the Institute for Building Construction at the Stuttgart University compiled a spectacular array of current product developments, architectural projects and tomorrow’s technologies. The absolute eye-catcher of the Special Show was a bent bridge of cold-formed glass with a thickness of just 3.7 centimetres that had a carrying capacity of seven tons.

The next Glasstec will be held in Düsseldorf from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 2010.


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