Bau 2019, Europe’s largest construction industry event, was held between January 14th and 19th. Every two years there is a chance for construction manufacturers, distributors and market players to debut new products and processes and to maintain or even gain market popularity. As in 2017, I travelled home with somewhat ambivalent feelings along with my 11 colleagues. Although we examined the gigantic quantities of windows, glass and machinery for four days together, sometimes in greater detail, I was not overjoyed at what I saw there. Why? I expected more from many big manufacturers, products with more stable operation and closure from the newly introduced companies; I saw few Hungarian companies as exhibitors and, with a few exceptions, exhibitors did not take the change in the 2020 thermal technology standard seriously.
This year again, Schüco won the unofficial ‘booth building competition’, both in size and range. The justly popular brand in our continental market (market leader in the domestic market) has brought in the expected number of visitors, be they an architect, investor, developer or manufacturer of doors and windows. Nothing was left to chance, as perfect organisation and hospitality, German order and constant cleanliness, excellent products and new developments and huge crowds (but unfortunately, due to the lack of fresh air) characterised the gigantic booth during the visit. Schüco, the system administrator, which excels in all aluminium door and window products, sets new directions and guiding principles; if you like, this exhibition space is the largest ‘litmus paper’ in our door and window industry. Now we can finally see what the organising principles are that will determine our next one or two years. Calling for professional digitalisation to meet production and warehousing cost reduction needs was a positive phenomenon, thanks to newly developed, side-by-side, communicating software support for ERP software; ERP software may even be totally replaced in the production preparation, material ordering and production processes of doors and windows. Uniquely on the market, developers in Bielefeld this year have placed a strong emphasis on acoustics by offering delicacies such as a newly developed special sound-absorbing material or a software-controlled counter-noise generation combined with a special opening method for facade doors and windows, used in silencing facade windows and ventilating elements upon opening them. The latter also provides a high level of silencing at high noise levels and makes the natural air supply to the residential or office environment bearable.
KAV was also thought of, as filigree or completely frameless doors, fully sliding door step solutions fully sunk into the floor and sliding door and window systems that tolerate glass-to-glass sequencing could also be found in good numbers, but the good news is that a motorised operating option was already a basic requirement. To replace the frameless PD77 system, the SOREG system (as a proprietary partner company) has also launched a new prototype that wipes the floor with the competition, while at the new generation of the traditional 80mm hinged sliding doors, capable of meeting the thermal requirements of 2020, the completely hidden motor mechanism stole the show. In addition to the new family of entrance doors, the PD window system with slender wings (developed for the PD77HI frameless sliding door system) and the Italian design of the PD67 were also appealing. Obviously, new generations of curtain wall systems, including high-rise technology, were lined up in one corner of the booth, but the countless professional treats cannot possibly be listed.
The booth of the Belgian Reynaers, an aluminium system administrator, was also very interesting, at which, unlike at previous exhibitions, they focused only on the future, responding to the architectural style of the past and present only peripherally. We were greeted with very kind hospitality, and an atmosphere living up to a large family-owned company, and we were able to try out the products of the Belgian Centre’s developments, accelerated over the last two years, that are already available for ordering today. The designers of the exhibition did not think in general concepts as “it could be” or “we do not yet know when it will be available” in the exhibition elements, rightly. For the fifth year in a row, the mechanically (partially hidden in the wall) corner-hinged design of the Hi-Finity frameless sliding door system (upgraded in two phases) was particularly appealing, but the filigree combination of the new Bauhaus school style glass door was a real hit for me. The giant-sized asymmetric rotating front door, which is almost a must-see style item on professional booths, worked well, but it felt good for us to see that the sliding door solutions hidden in walls, earlier used at Reynaers’, those approximately 20 (!) options remain in the standard range. The Belgian manufacturer has always been a world power in aluminium lifting-sliding doors, and they again came out with some foxiness, but for us the motorised operation with fingerprint reading and the fully recessed door-step for proper drainage were particularly exciting. For the sake of refreshment, one of their completed office building projects, made with the help of Avalon 3d virtual software, was also presented in a separate “half-room”, promoting the company’s new complimentary service. The point is, if a door and window manufacturing partner sends in the drawings of the building they are calculating for in any extensions, the spaces that are designed and / or enriched with the view of alternative doors or windows will be virtually walkable. This allows the end user to decide on the final appearance, in addition to the technical features, although the flaw of the thing is its immovability. This serious IT background and display infrastructure is currently located only in the Belgian centre, so the “unforgettable” virtual experience requires a lot of travel.
Many booths could be covered in more detail, but unfortunately this is not possible right now. This exhibition is a must see, professionals and end users will always find what they are looking for here. Professional organisation, excellent transport infrastructure (unlike Construma) and perfection that defies German examples characterises this trade fair, which can only be walked through in four to five days.