e-glass weekly - July 26, 2006
Vol 1, Num 7
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Rating Council members face tight deadline on nonresidential technical procedures

Participants at the National Fenestration Rating Council’s Summer Membership Meeting July 24-27 in Minneapolis face a looming November deadline for technical procedures in the rating program for nonresidential fenestration products and systems...

Participants at the National Fenestration Rating Council’s Summer Membership Meeting July 24-27 in Minneapolis face a looming November deadline for technical procedures in the rating program for nonresidential fenestration products and systems.

Representatives of the California Energy Commission approached officials from the Silver Spring, Md.-based organization in January about implementing the nonresidential ratings component modeling approach in the state. To meet CEC’s requirements, NFRC members will need to complete the technical procedures portion of the CMA at its fall membership meeting in November.

“I met up with [CEC officials] and set up a time line to see what we can get done,” says Jim Benney, executive director of NFRC. “This time line is workable. It’s just a matter of pushing and pushing and identifying the issues up front and identifying alternative solutions. We can get it done and we will get it done.”

Some participants, however, worry that rushing the process to meet a deadline will create a problematic technical document.

“We have an obligation to do it right for everyone, rather than passing something incomplete for California,” says Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting LLC in La Crosse, Wis. “California is going to review the technical document at the end of the year, and it can’t be changed after that, regardless of what we do to the overall program. They’ll be stuck with what we have now, and we have some inconsistencies.”

Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America in Topeka, Kan., agreed.

“A number of us participating in meetings have been talking about the importance of developing a program that is usable and accepted by the marketplace and all players,” Carney says. “Developing a program that will be accepted in industry is priority—not meeting one state’s deadline.”

Marshall Hunt, senior program engineer of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in San Francisco, says sentiments such as these may postpone completion of the process.

“We’re worried that this is going to get delayed and delayed,” Hunt says. “The CMA is a major improvement. I urge you to light a fire under yourself. I urge you to not let this slide.”

If the November deadline can’t be met on the technical procedures of the CMA, Benney says NFRC will prepare another proposal for CEC. “We’re in the process of developing a backup plan,” he says. “We can actually make changes to the current site-built program.”

The technical subcommittee for CMA is scheduled for Wednesday morning, July 26. Members will review the ballot for the CMA ratings subcommittee Wednesday afternoon. The CMA ratings certification program—outlining how the program will be implemented—would have to be completed in 2007, Benney says.

Visit Glass magazine’s daily Internet briefs 
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Glass companies reduce fuel costs with better trucks, better delivery

Average diesel prices nationwide increased 2 cents last week to $2.95 a gallon, according to data released July 24 from the Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy...

Average diesel prices nationwide increased 2 cents last week to $2.95 a gallon, according to data released July 24 from the Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Up 26 percent from a year ago, the prices near record highs, topped only by the four weeks in October 2005 following Hurricane Rita, according to the EIA.

Glass companies need to get used to higher fuel costs, warns Bill Stone, president and chief executive officer of Louisville Plate Glass in Louisville. “[Prices] are going to continue to rise. We’re going to look back at $2.50 [per gallon] as the good old days.”

While fabricators can’t do much about the price, they can decrease unnecessary expenditures by maximizing fuel efficiency and limiting trips, Stone says.

Louisville Plate Glass managers also operate a careful preventative maintenance program for trucks to improve vehicle operation and maximize fuel efficiency. “You simply cannot give out all the services you want as if fuel is only 80 cents a gallon,” he says. “Work with customers to avoid trips when your truck is only half full. They’re going through the same thing, and they understand.”

Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. of Tamarac, Fla., says managers at his company work to limit delivery distances by assigning jobs to plants closest to the delivery sites.

“Because we have so many branches, we can keep deliveries shorter and closer to home and not have to ship material, for example, from New Jersey to Chicago,” Perilstein says.

Choosing the lightest and most aerodynamic trucks and carriers also increases fuel efficiency, says John Weise, president of F. Barkow Inc. in Milwaukee. He recommends aluminum racks because they weigh less than stainless and painted steel racks. “A 10-foot rack for a van of steel weighs about 360 pounds,” he says. “With aluminum, it’s just about 225 pounds.”

For companies using trucks with enclosed bodies, Weise suggests adding a sloped bulkhead toolbox that hangs over the cab and acts as a wind dam.

When companies can’t beat high prices through internal methods, some pass them along to customers through fuel surcharges.

Perilstein says it’s too early to determine whether Arch will be forced into a surcharge.

“[These are] costs you can’t legitimately plan for, so all you can do is keep your eye on it and make the right calls, making sure you take care of the customers,” he says.

Glaziers take precautions against summer heat

During summer, when living is hot and humid and aluminum framing can get too fiery to handle, glaziers must take precautions to protect workers from dehydration and heat stroke. “We’re more conscious of our laborers’ health” during these months, says Robby Sauls, general manager for Harmon Inc. in Lithia Springs, Ga...

During summer, when living is hot and humid and aluminum framing can get too fiery to handle, glaziers must take precautions to protect workers from dehydration and heat stroke. “We’re more conscious of our laborers’ health” during these months, says Robby Sauls, general manager for Harmon Inc. in Lithia Springs, Ga.

In Las Vegas, where the temperature often soars to well over 100 degrees, officials at Sierra Glass and Mirror Inc. try to have workers on the job as early as 5 a.m. and done by 1 p.m., says John Shum, vice president of operations.

However, if getting an early jump on the day is not possible, Sauls says Harmon managers try to be aware of “the hours an employee works on a particular task.” For example, during installation of exterior sun shades on southern or western elevations, supervisors will try to rotate workers out of the sun, provide more opportunities for breaks and avoid overtime. “We try to keep [people] from working in the heat eight full hours a day, every day,” he says.

Glazing through the summer, says Dreux Campbell, a manager at Go-Glass Corp. in Salisbury, Md., means having plenty of cold water on site and encouraging workers to pace themselves and drink plenty of fluids. Jim Berrigan, owner of Louisiana Glass in Baton Rouge, agrees. “Keeping our guys hydrated all day long is the biggest thing we care about.”

Campbell also worries about workers keeping their minds on the job. During the summer months, he says, their minds tend to drift toward vacations or their children’s sports.

Finally, Campbell advises, workers must be vigilant of their surroundings. “You have to look out for yourself; you have to look out for the people around you.” While on the job in Ocean City, Md., his employees keep an eye on the tourists who are so distracted that they bump into workers carrying glass.

PPG reports record high sales

With second quarter net income of $280 million, or $1.68 a share, on sales of $2.82 billion, officials at PPG Industries of Pittsburgh reported an all-time record first quarter sales in a July 20 release.

  Source: PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh


...

With second quarter net income of $280 million, or $1.68 a share, on sales of $2.82 billion, officials at PPG Industries of Pittsburgh reported all-time record first quarter sales in a July 20 release. In the second quarter last year, the company’s net income was $231 million, or $1.34 a share.

For the first six months of this year, PPG’s net income was $464 million, or $2.79 a share, according to the release. For the first six months of last year, the company’s recorded net income was $326 million, or $1.89 a share.

“Our results demonstrate that we're achieving our objective of delivering profitable growth," said Charles E. Bunch, chairman and chief executive officer, in the release. "In coatings and optical products, which represent nearly two-thirds of our portfolio, our momentum continues. Collectively, coatings and optical products grew at more than 10 percent this quarter.

"Looking ahead, funding growth initiatives, such as the five acquisitions we announced in the second quarter, remains a priority for our free cash flow,” Bunch said. “Although growth is moderating to more sustainable levels in North America, we see continued economic expansion worldwide."

Glass sales increased $30 million, or 5 percent, because of higher volumes across most businesses, according to the release.

“In glass, our architectural flat-glass business, which we renamed performance glazings to better convey our value-added focus, increased sales nearly 15 percent to a new first quarter sales record, driven by our value-added product supplied to a robust commercial construction market,” said William H. Hernandez, senior vice president and chief financial officer, in a July 20 Webcast.

Year-over-year, glass margins decreased slightly due to higher natural gas pricing, Hernandez said in the Webcast. “Partially offsetting the natural gas cost were strong selling price and volume increases in our performance glazings business,” he said. Additional manufacturing efficiencies also assisted glass earnings. “Total PPG manufacturing efficiencies were about $30 million, with about three-fourths of that total stemming from our glass business,” he said.

From first quarter 2005 to the first quarter of this year, glass sales improved by 2 percent as a result of volume gains, Hernandez said. “Sales in original equipment manufacturers’ glass were down 1 percent, with price down 1 percent, volumes up 1 percent and currency subtracting 1 percent,” he said. “The volumes remain fairly consistent with our glass customer mix in the North American automotive industry. Looking ahead, Global Insight [the economic research company] predicts an overall production decline in the second quarter for the big three automakers. Auto-replacement glass sales were flat.”

Performance glazings sales improved 13 percent resulting from strong volume gains as a result of robust commercial construction, Hernandez said. “Also, our contractual fuel surcharges added pricing gains which, in part, offset historically high natural gas pricing,” he said. “Our new Texas coater, which produces energy-efficient glass for the southeast portion of the United States, started production late in the quarter.”

Coatings sales increased $129 million, or 9 percent; and chemical sales increased $9 million, or 1 percent, according to the release.

PPG’s board of directors also announced a regular quarterly dividend of 48 cents a share, payable Sept. 12 to shareholders of record Aug. 10, according to a July 20 Business Wire report. The company has increased shareholder payments for 34 consecutive years, paying constant dividends since 1899, according to the wire report.

PPG has 108 manufacturing plants and affiliates in 23 countries.

The week's business headlines

...

Nippon deal bodes well for Pilkington, analyst says
Richard Lambert, chief of CBI, a business lobbying organization in Britain, says United Kingdom glassmaker Pilkington will benefit from its recent takeover by Nippon Sheet Glass of Japan, according to a July 20 article from icLiverpool… read more

C.R. Laurence completes construction of Illinois facility
Officials from Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence Co. announced the opening of a warehouse and distribution facility in Elgin, Ill., according to a July 20 company release… read more

Regional lumber company buys Pennsylvania glazier
Uniontown, Pa.-based O.C. Cluss Lumber Co. bought Fox Glass Co., also of Uniontown, according to a July 19 article from the city’s Herald Standard.

Officials from O.C. Cluss Lumber say they want to expand Fox into a multistate company, according to the article… read more

New Zealand glass manufacturer sells for $350 million
Three executives from New Zealand’s Metropolitan Glass will receive about $116 million each following the sale of the company to the Australian firm Catalyst Investment Managers earlier this month, according to a July 19 article from The New Zealand Herald.

The 20-year-old glass company produces insulating, toughened, heat-tempered and laminated glass, according to the article… read more