Back in Minneapolis

By Charles Cumpston

MINNEAPOLIS--Minneapolis has not been lucky for the National Glass Association's Auto Glass Conference, taking place this week.

The first time the group scheduled the meeting here turned out to be on 9/11 and it was cancelled. The city's second try at hosting the event proved better timing. However, luck was not necessarily on its side again either as this year's event contends with being the third auto glass meeting in nine months (following the conference's move from September to May) and its positioning in the week leading up to Memorial Day. These factors, coupled with a lackluster educational program, kept attendance down.

But a variety of activity has been tied into the Auto Glass Conference (ROLAGS, AGRSS, and NWRA as well as association and individual company meetings) and, according to NGA officials, the final attendance figure did make it over 700 including exhibitors.

The focal point of the Auto Glass Conference was the show, where, though smaller than in previous years, attendees still had new things to see and were able to get an overview of what industry suppliers have to offer.

Let's Go on with the Show

PipeKnife Co. has added flat long knives sealant cut-out tools to its offerings. The knives are long-handled utility knives for cutting urethane, sealants, and caulking for glass removal, the company explains. The new flat long knives are designed to be complementary to the company's cut-out knives.

SikaTack-Cool cold applied windshield adhesive was introduced in the Sika Corp. booth, which always seemed to be one of the most crowded at the show. The new product can be used in place of high modulus adhesives and is half the price, explained Ed Benoit. "We see the market leaning toward cold applied so we expanded the product line to include it," he added. The product, which will be available in late June or early July, is expected to be used year round south of the Mason-Dixon line and in warmer weather further north.

A new exhibitor was Econz, whose Eservice wireless job dispatch and management tool is designed for field service personnel. Also available is timecard, a mobile time sheet that enables companies that requires employees to log time attendance and job information to do so remotely via their Verizon Wireless phones.

TSM, total shop management service, was the topic at the eDirectGlass booth. It is designed to provide electronic management services for all the areas involved in running a business from general management tasks to POS and claims management. A range of programs is available at varying price levels.

A.N. Designs Inc. was promoting its 3700 Lever knife which is made smaller to fit into the hand better. Many people like a round shape better than an oval one, explained a company spokesman. He also said that the company is experimenting with some coated blades for pinchweld protection, which visitors could see in the booth.

A number of companies were holding contests to attract visitors to their booths. Yih-Tair Industrial Inc. was offering the opportunity to win $500 worth of its FlexLine moldings. Glass Medic had a win a System X contest. The company also pointed out that a million repairs will be made worldwide this year using its technology.

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. was promoting its rain and light sensor kit, which Paul Daniels said was half the price of the kit from the dealer and includes most common sensor brackets, lenses and adhesive pads. Equalizer Industries Inc. had two of its Equalizer stores, which hold a variety of supplies and tools, in its booth.

For the first time, Shat-R-Proof Corp. brought one of its polishing machines to an auto glass show. The Scratch Removal System can polish glass blemishes on windshields as long as they are not in the vision area, a spokesman explained.

Fein Power Tools Inc. was promoting its FSC 1.6 window cutter which has been redesigned to be lighter weight, with reduced vibration and a smaller diameter handle. The focus of Glass Pro Systems was on its Super System self-contained vacuum device that air and moisture and injects resin and then does a secondary vacuum to get any remaining air or moisture out, explained Mike Boyle.

Liquid Resins International was showing an improved version of its Resinator QT resin pump which features quad thread technology. Burco Inc. had a flyer in its booth to tell attendees to be careful about bait and switch and to be sure they are getting a Burco product if they think they are. Elizabeth Malverne pointed out that mirrors are a great expansion area for AGRR shops.

Creative Extruded Products Inc. was promoting its Total Lace and Utal Lace tear-away moldings. Information is available on the products at its Web site, which was recently the glassBYTEs™ Web Site of the Week. In the Sommer & Maca Industries Inc. booth, the company was introducing its SPX leak detector. A sample kit was on display, but there were no other specs available.

For Aegis Tools International, the glass handler with the patented design is its best selling item. It is designed to prevent strain on the back, a big issue because of workers' comp, pointed out Henri Goudsmit, division manager. Also in the booth was the new tools kit which sells for $39.95. Industry replacement master Bob Beranek, Automotive Glass Consultants, ran his hand over the pieces and said, "They're almost too pretty to use."

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