Crystal Windows & Doors – Queens NY
An American Asian Tiger In Flushing
March 20, 2011 / College Point - Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. Continued / If needed use the search function to find the story introduction.
I arrived in time for the press conference being given by Steve Chen, Executive VP of Crystal Windows & Door Systems and member of the Advisory Council for Small Business to the NY Federal Reserve Bank. Steve was joined by Joseph S. Tracy, Executive VP, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and John R. Buran, President of the Flushing Financial Corporation and current president of NYBA [NY Bankers Association].
The press conference was about the challenges facing independent businesses in this economy, and in light of a banking theme, the focus was on the lending environment. In the photo to your right [from left to right] are John R. Buran, Steve Chen and John S. Tracy speaking to reporters at the press conference at Crystal Window & Door Systems in Flushing.
Crystal Windows & Doors – Plant Tour In Queens
Following the press conference, I was given a tour of the window and door manufacturing plant by Bob Nyman who is a consultant to Crystal Window & Door Systems. During the tour I was informed that Crystal operates in three languages: English, Chinese and Spanish. During the course of my tour, I would see examples of each.
There’s an aesthetic quality to manufacturing processes, comparable in some respects to the aesthetics of architecture, with clean lines, colors and shades, some of which I attempted to capture in some of the photos I photographed for this report and the slide show below.
Shipping Dock & Finished Product
We started in the loading dock area at the back of the plant, where the finished product was being rolled into place to be shipped the next day. Normally it would be shipped the same day, but as it was near the end of the day, these packed windows would begin the out shipment process the morning of the next business day.
Window & Door Assembly Process – Overview
The following is an overview of the window production process, much of which is shown in the slide show below. I photographed the production process from from the end of the production process, to the beginning. Hence to view it in its proper order on the slide show below, click the reverse arrow on the control panel.
As mentioned previously, the receiving dock is located at one end of the plant, while the shipping dock is located at the other end of the dock. The main components of window and door systems, glass, aluminum and vinyl parts, come into the receiving area. They are unpacked, sorted and sent to the areas of the plant where they will be used.
Window Assembly in Flushing Queens
The glass is cut and then washed before it’s put into assembly [to your left is a photo of glass panes on a trolley to be washed].
Then the dual windows, separated by an air space, are sealed using what they call a butterfly machine. These windows come in various sizes. The windows are then rolled over to either the aluminum assembly area or the vinyl assembly area, where they are fitted with a frame.
Once the window has been assembled, it’s packed and rolled into the loading dock where it’s shipped or picked up [by local contractors]. I was there late on a Friday afternoon and unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to see any doors being assembled.
Crystal produces over 700,000 windows per year. These windows are made of aluminum or vinyl, which are purchased by clients for different types of buildings. The vinyl production process is slightly different than the one used for aluminum. In the production of vinyl windows, the window is dropped into a frame pocket and then sealed and glazed [in the photo to your left you can see vinyl frame being fitted following the application of sealant]. In the aluminum process the frame is built around the two-pane window.
The vinyl windows tend to be seen as more aesthetic and energy efficient and are generally used for homes; while the aluminum windows are generally used for larger windows, in larger buildings and are more cost-efficient.
Crystal Window & Door Systems History
Crystal Window & Door Systems was founded in 1990 by Thomas Chen, a Taiwanese immigrant. Thomas arrived in this country in 1982 and spent the early years of his career doing contracting work installing windows and doors in houses and apartment buildings.
Since Thomas Chen founded the company in 1990, Crystal has grown to about 500 employees, over 300 of which work in Flushing. Based upon some of the press releases we’ve seen [the company is private], the company’s revenue is well over $50 million and Crystal is now in the top 50 in its category. Crystal operates subsidiaries in Chicago and Missouri.
America Has A Few Asian Tigers Of Its Own
A couple of years ago Crystal started a solar energy company called Helios. Helios installs solar panels and systems and the assembly of these panels appears to parallel the process for making window or fenestration products. This appears to have the potential to enhance Crystal's success.
Decades ago, when the Far East Asian economies starting booming, they were called the Asian Tigers. Perhaps companies like Crystal Window & Door Systems represent another genre of Asian Tigers: the American Asian Tiger.
Slide Show of Crystal Window & Door Systems – Queens
Click this link to go directly to the photo album containing slides of Crystal Window & Door Systems in Queens. Click this link to view our business listing for Crystal Window & Door Systems in Flushing. Click this link to go directly into the photo album and view the photos we took of Crystal Window & Door Systems in Queens. Since we started at the back of the plant, which represents the end of the assembly process, use the reverse arrow on the slide show control panel to view photos.
Press Conference Host – Queens Chamber Of Commerce
The press conference was hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as a follow on to the presentation given earlier in the day by NY Federal Reserve President William Dudley. Many thanks to the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Crystal Window & Door Systems and Bob Nyman for his informative tour.
Flushing / Corona Related Info
Click here to see a related report about an LICBDC conference on Solar Energy / Solar Panels in Queens.
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