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Glass Industry News


, GPD Finnland

Celebrating its 27th year of service to the glass industry, the Glass Performance Days (GPD) event in 2019 will look into the future, with an eye on smarter glass. This year, we received an overwhelming number of abstracts and have chosen a record total of 242 presentations for workshops and the conference!

We want to extend our warmest thanks to everyone speaking at GPD 2019.

  • 242 abstracts
  • 220 speakers
  • 20 exhibitors
  • 17 workshops
  • 26 startups in Step Change

One open location; no closed doors
This year’s conference will be held at Tampere Exhibition and Sports Center. The venue enables us to stage the GPD Conference in one open 5,000 square meter space, providing the perfect environment for our conferences, expo and networking. The open nature of the venue makes moving between sessions and presentations easy and efficient. The same is true for networking. You can easily meet the world’s top experts in the industry. Everyone is together in one, open space, which makes it natural and easy to connect. This ideal location also provides exhibitors and media representatives with a perfect platform to meet, showcase or launch products, services and know-how. In addition, all coffees and lunches will be served in the expo area.
Wide range of glass industry topic
Our workshops offer a multitude of subjects, ranging from market opportunities, smart and thin glass, tempering and laminating, to glass technology and features. They are even held in different locations in Tampere. Please note the “High Rise – Northern Exposure” workshop will be held in the Helsinki area. The seminar is arranged in conjunction with Aalto University and coordinated by professor/architect Mr. Kimmo Lintula and Mr. Peter Smithson, BG&E Facades Pty. Ltd., Australia. 

As Mr. Smithson states, “High-rise construction is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas in the Nordic region, where construction previously was more horizontal than vertical.”
Everything’s smart
The main theme of GPD 2019 revolves around concepts of the future. We are looking into themes around smart glazing, smart factories, smart buildings and even smart cities. The technical sessions of the conference and workshops will address the challenges the industry faces today regarding the ever-changing demands from architectural development, façade engineering, new technologies and the latest R&D, as well as energy efficiency, and glass and sustainability. A special focus will be on how new glass technologies, such as smart, thin and ultra-thin glass, respond to these demands. New viewpoints on smart glass will be introduced, such as smart glazing to keep energy balanced or transparent solar panels to generate energy. It is clear that the glass industry now has one of its greatest opportunities to develop this passive transparent building material into active and dynamic façades to build smarter buildings in the future.  
Moving forward with Industry 4.0
We are looking into global developments for the future. The fourth industrial revolution is already underway around the world, fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to one another. In the glass industry, digitalization is here and its influences on the industry are inevitable. IoT/Industry 4.0 provides numerous advantages for the glass industry. With these possibilities, we are able to influence the entire value chain, from the design process to manufacturing – and on to the use of final products. Moreover, the new 5G mobile network will significantly change our future. It is forecast that the 5G network rollout in the coming years will have a larger and more accelerated impact on the world than when mobile phones were first introduced.
Tapping into young, entrepreneurial energy
 “With such a future in mind, new skillsets and innovate thinking is required. We need young, passionate and entrepreneurial individuals to keep the industry versatile and able to react to the changes the future will bring. Universities are hubs of such young, enthusiastic and brilliant talents with the passion to discover new ways and think outside the box,” says Jorma Vitkala, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Glass Performance Days. These enthusiastic people are needed in the industry to develop it and generate new innovations, for example, when it comes to the internal features of glass. Universities are also crucial in R&D, especially in product development. Companies will benefit from the cooperation of R&D activities with universities, largely because of the energetic, young students who have a willingness to expand their talents.“To develop the glass industry, cooperation between universities must be increased. These young talents could be the next new talents on your team. Therefore, it would be a shame if we didn’t feed this passion further,” Vitkala comments. “The future will be built with cooperation. Combining knowledge and expertise, the industry will develop faster.”
Closer connections between universities and industry
In recent years, universities have realized the importance of closer connections to the industry by adjusting their funding and taking specific industry needs into consideration. R&D is crucial for the industry – and at GPD, it holds a very strong position – with both days filled with different presentations and publications of entirely new research results. “From the very beginning of GPD, innovation has been at the heart of the event. Through innovation, we can achieve higher levels in product development and stay agile in the industry. This agility not only serves our customers, but also their customers need new ways to grow their businesses and move ahead,” Vitkala comments. 
Step Change helps startups step up
 As the world transitions into the IoT/Industry 4.0 era, the industry needs multinational and entrepreneurial startups to bring innovations to the market. This year, nearly 30 startups and scale-ups will participate in the Step Change event at GPD 2019, where these new companies showcase their disruptive ideas to win new business opportunities and funding. Step Change is an important event to highlight the importance of innovative thinking. It helps spur the entire industry to evolve and discover even greater ways to develop.
Quality is here for good
“Although new innovations are coming, and digitalization is happening already, we must not forget that none of this will replace the importance of quality,” Vitkala emphasizes. “The basis of quality is built around people, machinery and the processing industry. That is why great machinery and reliable, well-planned processes are essential in the future as well.” IoT can never replace the extensive know-how built up over centuries of glass and machinery manufacturing. It will only support and develop it faster and further.
“Additionally, the industry still relies on its experienced employees who have the existing knowledge and know-how built in. They are the old generation, the ‘old fox club’, as they’ve been lightheartedly called, who are needed to mentor the new generation and pass on silent information. This provides the older generation with an opportunity to continue to be of service – and offers the industry an insider advantage,” says Vitkala with a twinkle in his eye, knowing he too is counted as one of the old foxes. 
Networking connects all
Through the use of technology, we can stay connected to our global partners anytime and everywhere. We are able to discover vast information online. Still, nothing can replace the importance of meeting people face to face, discussing issues and sharing reliable information with the experts in the industry. GPD is the ideal place for networking and finding interesting information and people within the industry. The event offers plenty of opportunities to create partnerships and connect with like-minded people during networking events such as lunches, coffee breaks, the get-together party and conference dinner... 

And, of course, this year will also feature the grand farewell party and the retirement celebration of our GPD founder and head organizer – Jorma Vitkala.

, GPD Finnland

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