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“We are Dedicated to Drive Innovation Throughout the Middle East”
By: Rizwanulla Khan
In conversation with the team of Window & Façade Magazine, Khan shared the journey of Emirates Glass and what they are planning to achieve in near future. Here are the excerpts…
Please brief us on the history and objective behind the formation of Emirates Glass ?
Emirates Glass was established in 1997 by Mr. Khalid Bin Kalban to become the leading provider of energy efficient architectural glass in the Middle East. Since its inception the company has been an integral part of Dubai’s growth and evolution, having supplied glazing and expertise for many of the most iconic buildings across the city.
However, Emirates Glass has also expanded its international presence and we are proud to have supplied our solutions to GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, but also to Azerbaijan, Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East and South Africa and even Canada.
Building an impressive project portfolio is only possible with a focus on downstream proximity – meaning, Emirates Glass has always tried to stay close to the market and listen to what consultants, architects and developers need. This, in combination with our international and experienced team, has helped us to develop new products, coatings, methods, work procedures and processing techniques over the past 20+ years.
Please Highlight briefly about your Glass Products.
Our product range includes more than 400 different and in-house developed performance coatings, from hard and solar control coatings to low-emissivity single and double silver coatings across the entire colour spectrum to meet even the most challenging requirements we receive from consultants and architects in terms of performance and aesthetics.
Other than that Emirates Glass produces a wide array of double or triple glazed insulating glass units, safety, bullet-resistant and otherwise laminated glass, non-rectangular and bent elements – or a combination of any of the above.
Some more special products include glazing units with captured or suspended aesthetical or performance-enhancing elements such as honeycomb diffusers, metal and synthetic meshes or mashrabiya inserts to reflect our local heritage and ability to integrate traditional elements in modern and contemporary architecture.
Yas Villas, Abu Dhabi
Where are your Products Manufactured?
All of our products are developed and manufactured locally here in the UAE. Within our group of companies, we combine the entire supply and value chain of glass – from raw glass manufacturing in Abu Dhabi, over coating in Dubai Investment Park, to processing, laminating and fabrication of insulating glass units in Al Quoz. Having all of this under one roof is absolutely unique in the region.
Could you Please tell us about a few of your Latest Prestigious Projects and the Innovations you have Made?
Kuwait Ministries Complex, Kuwait
Emirates Glass is currently providing ARMAX, our very own anti-reflective coated glass to the Emaar SkyView. The walls of the so-called SkyWalk, a cantilever walkway that extends out of one of the towers more than 50 floors above ground, are made entirely out of our anti-reflective glass.
The main purpose is to allow visitors an omni-directional view of Dubai’s skyline with minimal reflections from the glazing – that should be quite the experience! Some other iconic buildings of 2018 dressed in or equipped with our products include the Kuwait Ministries Building Complex, the RTA headquarter in Dubai, a total of 1617 villas in Yas Acres and Yas West Villas, the Masdar Neighborhood and Mayan buildings and the Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
What are the Advantages Emirates Glass has over its Competitors?
First and foremost – being ‘local’ also means being geographically close to our customers and their projects which means being able to provide immediate personal support during design and construction periods but also shortest turnaround and lead times as well as delivery.
EGL Terra G Coater in DIP, Dubai
Secondly, and as mentioned above, we are providing glass solutions as a one-stop-shop, so our customers have a single point of contact for every element used and every production step taken. This eliminates the oftentimes frustrating search for a responsible party should any of our customers face issues with the products supplied.
Lastly, Emirates Glass is a home-grown UAE company, so everything made and supplied by us is a contribution to the local economy and industrial landscape of what we all call our home.
Please elaborate on the Glass and Glazing Federation’s International Architectural Glass Conference. How has the same helped Emirates Glass to become a center of learning and innovation within the Middle East region?
Irena Headquarters, Abu Dhabi
The Glass and Glazing Federation, or GGF, is an internationally respected body of glass experts; being part of the GGF reflects our engagement in the architecture and glass ecosystem and also helps us to remain on top of industry trends, technical novelties and topical issues.
Being able to integrate technological advancements from Europe or the United States in our local production is a way for us to demonstrate regional thought leadership. In today’s economy, it is imperative to facilitate knowledge transfer to all of our benefit – in the end, every improvement helps to reduce carbon emissions, make our homes and workplaces safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly and most of all comfortable.
Within the construction and façade industry, the GGF provides a fantastic forum to mingle and connect with like minded professionals, but also showcase, share and discuss latest advancements. We take pride in conducting ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions and factory tours not just for industry peers, designers, consultants, architects, aluminium subcontractors and end users, but also students and our next generation, regardless of which industry.
What do you see as the Main Challenges faced by Glass Industry?
First of all, even the greatest challenges provide opportunities. In short, the main challenges are not cyclic economic downturns or fluctuations in order volumes – the main challenges these days are technical or physical limitations and finding ways to push the boundaries of what is possible with glazing and within the construction industry as a whole.
Challenges should always be considered a positive sign of change. We have to realize that we are challenged to come up with a better value proposition – a challenge is a call to develop something new, something better, something with better thermal, acoustic and safety performance, improved optical appearance and enhanced durability.
Among the most apparent challenges is always selectivity; in simplified terms, selectivity describes the difference between visible light and heat – and this is particularly important in the Middle East. While developing and refining our performance coatings, we constantly have to ask ourselves ‘how can our glazing provide as much natural light as possible to interior spaces while keeping most of the heat outside?’
Over the years coatings have evolved from solar control and hard coatings to low emissivity coatings to single and multi-layer silver coatings. Each evolutionary step felt like the answer to the time’s specific challenge, but we will remain on the forefront and be among the first that will take the next evolutionary step.
What were the biggest milestones for 2018? For the first time in company history Emirates Glass has produced more than 431,000 m2 of not only standard, but highly complex and over sized insulated glass units over the year.
This is a statement of our growth and continuous improvement of our production capabilities and efficiency.
To underline this trajectory, 2018 was also the year in which we started the construction works for the expansion of our facility’s warehouse to make Emirates Glass more flexible and able to accommodate larger stock of our most popular coatings and some of the more exotic ones. This will further have a positive impact on work in- progress and throughput, and with this the ability to better serve our expanding markets.
Where do you see Emirates Glass LLC in 2020?
Looking forward, Emirates Glass will further expand its footprint across the GCC and the Middle Eastern region. By 2020 we aim to be the preferred glazing supplier in at least three more countries, with a wide range of products fulfilling the current and upcoming green building regulations.
Emirates Tower, Dubai
Of course we will continue to focus on the development of energy efficient glass solutions and special products that will further transform the landscape from regular buildings to pieces of art and architectural ingenuity. We are committed and dedicated to drive innovation throughout the Middle East and beyond and strive to be even closer to the creative minds within architecture firms, while improving our service to customers and maintaining steady and stable growth.
Rizwanulla Khan, a name synonymous to the Glass industry in the Middle East, is the Executive President of Emirates Glass LLC, Saudi American Glass and LumiGlass Industries. He joined the company on 20th September, 2005 as Senior Vice President - Manufacturing & Operations at Glass LLC.
Since assuming the Executive President position for three glass subsidiaries on 23rd December, 2013, Rizwanulla Khan has been responsible for the company’s overall vision, strategy and financial objectives.
In his current role, Rizwanulla is a key architect of the company’s long-term strategic plan, which is focused on increasing geographic penetration in the global and regional glass industry and delivering sustainable, long-term, profitable growth.
The strategy includes prioritizing resources to the most promising opportunities by creating cost efficiencies. A loving and caring leader, who has inspired hundreds to perform and achieve results; under his leadership, the company’s growth has delivered record sales and profits.