Volume 8, Issue 2 - February 2007

OpeningUp 

reader feedback
Dear DWM:

As always, your December 2006 issue was excellent. I do want to comment on your spacer article (Holistic Performance Defines Todayís Highest-Performing Spacer Systems by Jeff Lehman of Technoform on page 48-49). The first thing I do when I see an article of this nature is to look at the end to see who wrote it and for whom they work. Of course, an article written by someone affiliated with one of the players that the article is being written about will have (to some extent) a bias. At the same time, I know that your editorial thoroughness will not allow the publication of something specifically untrue. Still, emphasis can be skewed within the truth.

I have to admit, that as far as articles of this nature go, my views are similar to Lehmanís to a great extent. Therefore, I wonít comment on the majority of areas where we agree.

One marketing ploy used by some spacer companies in their self-promotions is to try to get the buyer to focus on the material and not the performance, particularly regarding sightline temperature. If someone invented an aluminum spacer that outperformed all other spacers, would it be considered bad purely because it was aluminum material? Choice of material is irrelevant in regard to the temperature issue. It is the result that counts.

I would have preferred if the article didnít tie benchmarks to material such as aluminum or steel. In particular, I know that there are newer steel designs that have the same performance as silicone foam, so should we be talking about steel as a low-end warm-edge? Of course not.

I wish to comment about the final points, aesthetics and color. While a point of potential differentiation, rather than an actual performance issue, either is so-called easy manufacturing integration. I can only assume that they are included as something to consider in spacer choice because they are considered positives to the system Lehman represents. While a point of potential differentiation, the color of the spacer is not related to what I would consider normally to be performance. I can think of one spacer that historically hit the market with a bang because it was sold as a low entry cost product, but most of the early users moved on to other warm-edge products when they realized the hidden costs due to durability questions resulting from how they were using the product.

This brings me to the issue of long-term durability of any system. In all fairness, there is little or no hard data beyond the endless stories and urban myths regarding the history of different systems in the field. In many ways though, cracking this mystery is the most important unresolved issue in the sealed unit. The best any manufacturer about to embark on a new spacer can do is to research the field history, good or bad, of a particular product.

Phil Lewin
Vice president of marketing
Vinyl Window Designs, Woodbridge, Ontario 

DWM

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