This is a guest article by Editor Helen Duval

The glass industry is about to descent once again on Dusseldorf as the internationally renowned Glasstec exhibition is set to open its doors to the world. Key new trends and improved industry standards are undoubtedly about to be launched at the leading trade show, with a huge focus by main players such as Bystronic glass and HEGLA presenting innovations to improve efficiency even fur-ther. The latest technical revolution will be highlighted in the form of Industry 4.0 with many looking at ways to bring man and machine together in the workplace.

New technology is pushing boundaries as never before and the possibilities within the glass sector seem almost limitless. Smart glass and display glass have seen incredible developments since the last exhibition with bio-metrics becoming an increasingly important component in new glass designs.

Samsung’s AR contact lenses seem to have stalled after patenting a couple of years ago, but I suspect that futuristic glass technology of a similar kind will be a platform for discussion at Glasstec this year. The idea that images, and via an antenna system, a camera with links to a smart phone is perhaps a step too far in the commercial world. This does seem to take the idea of human chipping and Big Brother to a whole new level. Processing images sent from the eyes, sounds quite frightening, but no doubt there will be millennials that find it all rather exciting and the rest of us will be tagging along trying to keep up.

Glasstec will soon be buzzing with bold, new high-tech glass options that are available to us now, with new product developments and faster ways to make them. End users lives and privacy will improve through interactive glass developments. The choice of glass may not always be clear with so many different varieties of ‘smart glass’ being launched in a bid to keep out prying eyes or regulate room temperature.

Undoubtedly inspired by the work environment, increasingly we are seeing homeowners and business owners demanding this type of technology within their properties, for the added security they gain.

So as many head out to Glasstec, it is evident that glass is not so much a building component today, but a futuristic, design led solution that improves performance of a building and adds to its overall aesthetic. This type of interactive design in glass is certainly an intrinsic part of the industry moving forward for many industries.

Industry 4.0 is the leading topic for discussion this year at the trade show it would seem, with many leading companies profiling the advantages to the latest technological revolution.

This year the “Glasstec conference”, begins early at the exhibition with an opening programme being held at CCD Ost (Conference Centre Düsseldorf East) on Monday 22nd October.

This will then be followed by a tight programme of events during the exhibition with leading experts holding lectures on architectural glass uses and Dr.-Ing. Jan Wurm, group leader for material consulting at Arup in Berlin, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rob Nijsse from TU Delft, holding a special session each day on engineered glass. There will be a session on Standardisation and Measurement on 25th October and one on Thin Glass on 26th October.

Modern solutions as well as the potential of project-related implementation will be discussed and debated live. It is hoped that the conference programme will improve visitors understanding of new technologies being developed.

UK companies will be attending or visiting the show, such as Ashton Industrial which considers Glasstec “the world’s foremost platform for glass processors from all over the world to make new presentations with the newest, fastest, cleanest and most innovative machinery and products for the future. ASHTON INDUSTRIAL is right there with new ideas, smaller footprints, faster outputs, and systems to reduce or even eliminate labour altogether.”

Edgetech will showcase state-of-the-art glass architecture and a variety of other global Super Spacer-enabled developments. Edgetech Managing Director Chris Alderson commented: “Our aim at glasstec is to show the industry just what Super Spacer can do. From minus-degree temperatures to the deserts of the Gulf, time and time again Super Spacer has offered outstanding performance as part of some of the most striking and ambitious buildings on the planet.

The Forel Booth promises visitors the possibility to look at “No Limits” Insulating Glass lines, de-signed to “go beyond” Jumbo size. “Glasstec is an unmissable event for all the players of the glass business. Forel, is always working on new and more advanced solutions for flat and insulated glass processing, and has been attending Glasstec for more than 40 years.”

For HEGLA UK Glasstec is the platform where the whole of the glass processing world comes together and deals are made that will help customers and the industry in general to move forward, improve efficiency and discuss ways to raise the overall standards across the sector.

Peter Nischwitz, CorComm Manager at Bystronic glass comments, “The Glasstec exhibition, that is held every two years, is the leading and most important trade fair within the glass industry. It is essential to be present there as you get an excellent overview about the latest trends and innovations in all fields of glass processing.

For us, as a machine manufacturer, Glasstec is the “hotspot” for our business, being internationally recognised, the leaders of the glass world converge here and there really is no other exhibition of its kind for the sector.”

Leading glass suppliers such as Guardian Glass will also be attending the leading trade fair, commenting “we’re not just helping to solve today’s challenges. We are ready to embrace tomorrow, the near future and beyond, where we believe glass will play an even greater role in the world, helping to solve new challenges that will arise.”

Having previously attracted around 43.000 trade visitors and a vast number of exhibitors at the last exhibition, the show is clearly leading the way when it comes to innovation and investment in new technology for the glass industry. With some leading UK companies and national divisions attending the Trade Fair this year many believe that this could be one of the most important exhibitions in relation to innovation in technology. It will be interesting to see exactly where the future of the glass industry will soon be heading.

Wishing everyone exhibiting, investing or just visiting a great show!