Volume 9, Issue 6 - June 2008

what's news

IG Education
GlassFab Offers Lessons in IG Technology 

A recent Glass Association of North America (GANA) event featured several educational sessions about insulating glass (IG). 

The Glass Fabrication and Glazing Educational Conference, held in Las Vegas, included such topics as: IG Standards, Specifications and Certification; the Future of IG Technology; Gas Filling of IG Units; the Role of Desiccants in IG Units; and IG Spacers. GANA lined up several experts and manufacturer representatives to provide their unbiased views and advice over the three-day event. In a session covering the future of IG Technology, Mike Burk of Edgetech IG, a DWM columnist, said this represents one of the more difficult subjects to report. As in any industry, Burk said IG manufacturers aren’t so quick to illuminate plans and developments for their products. One item Burk was able to share, however, was the eventual presence of translucent IG units. These units, he said, will allow for increased thermal performance, reductions in sound transfer and high levels of daylight transmission, without the need for accoutrements for added privacy.

Another area Burk discussed included sealants. He cited an industry-wide need for new products that are capable of bonding to a variety of materials.

“We’re looking for sealants that are multi-compatible,” he explained. “Sealants have to be compatible with all of the optional components.

”All optional components may be a tough order for one sealant to fill, as Burk explained that, when all optional components and configurations are combined, there are more than 29 million possible IG configurations. Not all of these options, however, have made it into every product sector.

“Warm-edge technology has been prevalent in the residential sector for some time now, but you hardly see it in commercial,” Burk explained. “Go out there and look at commercial units and you’re going to see aluminum-box spacers.”

Put it to the Test 
Tracy Rogers, also of Edgetech IG, gave a presentation focusing on the future of testing and certification, an area he said is growing in importance.

“As of last year, NFRC mandated IG certification,” he said. “By 2010, if you want to put an NFRC label on your units, you will have to have testing.”

But before testing is applied, Rogers said it’s important to know what, specifically, you’re trying to address.

For example, when it comes to acoustical performance, he said it’s critical to evaluate specific needs in order to produce test results that directly pertain to a given situation.

“You have to understand the situation and the entire performance of the product,” he urged. Rogers pointed out that sound frequencies for various intrusions vary and while one product may be effective in blocking some frequencies, it may not affect those most critical to a given situation. Furthermore, he warned that the acoustical performance of an IG unit doesn’t necessarily translate to the performance of an overall window system in which that unit is placed.

Desiccant Don’ts 
“You can fill up the whole window,” Tom Dangieri joked about the use of desiccants in IG units. Dangieri is senior application specialist for UOP, a desiccant provider.

Similar to Rogers’ advice, Dangieri said selecting the proper desiccant requires assessing specific needs carefully. Variables include: water capacity, solvent capacity, air absorption and inert gas fill characteristics. According to Dangieri, a desiccant should not be selected before considering other factors in IG construction.

A recent concern Dangieri pointed out for the industry included the sourcing of foreign materials.

“When you receive desiccants at the dock, every drum should be inspected,” he warned for those sourcing from overseas. Dangieri said manufacturers should inspect seals for damage and drums for possible punctures. He also said damaged bags or drums should never be used and he advised labeling incoming product to ensure inventory is being cycled through properly—the oldest always being used first.

Once product has been delivered in intact containers and labeled with the arrival date, Dangieri suggested testing incoming product prior to use.

“It’s better to test the desiccant and know, than to build a thousand units and find out the hard way [that it was no good],” he said.Dangieri also said it’s imperative that desiccant be stored properly and protected at all times.

“Cover drums when you go on breaks,” he urged. “Make sure your guys understand this.” He stressed the importance of designing workflow and process around desiccant maintenance and further suggested aligning IG construction with quitting times, as unfinished units that sit during down times will inevitably absorb moisture.

However, when the occasional slip occurs and a drum is left open, Dangieri said not all is lost.

“If someone leaves the lid off, the top few inches may be spent, but the lower desiccant may still be fine,” he said, adding, “But the lower desiccant will need to be tested prior to use.”

COMPANY NEWS
RoyalPlast Consolidates Patio Door Operations 
Royal Window and Door Profiles’ RoyalPlast Division has moved all of its patio door operations to a new facility. The move and consolidation of the two plants in Ontario and Quebec took place on March 10.

The new, 140,000-square-foot facility is in Lachenaie, Quebec. The company says it invested in more than $1 million in new equipment for the new facility.

Solutia Breaks Ground at Plant in Springfield, Mass.
Saflex®, a unit of Solutia Inc., broke ground recently for an expansion of its PVB resin manufacturing operations at its plant in Springfield, Mass. The expansion will add 12,000 metric tons of annual capacity, which is planned to come on-stream in early 2009.

“This project marks another major step in Solutia’s global investment program for Saflex,” says Luc De Temmerman, senior vice president of Solutia Inc. and president of the Saflex business. “Despite significant increases in raw material costs, we are continuing to make the investments necessary to help our customers grow their businesses. This expansion, as well as the other previously announced expansions we are making throughout our global asset base, will help meet increasing demand for PVB, and is necessitated by the tight supply conditions in the PVB market.”

ProVia Door Expands into Florida Market 
ProVia Door has expanded its business into the Florida market with its Florida-certified steel entry doors, aluminum storm doors, vinyl patio doors and aluminum storm windows.

The company has divided the state into two sales regions. For the eastern counties, excluding Miami-Dade and Broward counties, ProVia has hired David Devenney, who resides in the Melbourne, Fla., area. Devenney’s background includes residential and commercial sales as well as purchasing for Mercedes Homes.

“We have been taking steps to enter the Florida market for a couple years,” says Randy Albaugh, the company’s regional sales manager. “We are extremely committed to providing top-quality Florida-certified products and are now ready to serve this market the professional way.”

Atrium Announces Consolidation of Arizona and California Facilities
Atrium Cos. Inc. recently announced that it will consolidate its Tolleson, Ariz., and Anaheim, Calif., manufacturing facilities, effective September 1. The Dallas-based company plans to create a dedicated vinyl window facility at the California site, which will serve the company’s vinyl door and window customers throughout the southwestern United States, including Arizona, southern Nevada and California, for all new construction, as well as for remodeling and replacement vinyl products.

“We believe this consolidation will result in a full and exceptional vinyl offering that will help us grow our market share and allow us to be the best supplier of products in that category in the region,” says Peter Venerdi Jr., president of Atrium’s Western Region.

The Arizona facility, which manufactured both vinyl and aluminum doors and windows, will close. The vinyl portion of the business will move to the California facility.

“As building codes change and the construction industry fluctuates, vinyl has moved ahead of aluminum in sales,” said Bob Burns, Atrium’s chief operating officer. “This adjustment to our manufacturing strategy lessens the prominence of aluminum in our southwestern markets’ product line-up, while positioning Atrium to meet short- and long-term sales plans moving forward. Our current vinyl window and door customers in this market should experience no supply interruption at all.”

KUDOS
Product Design & Development Celebrates 30 Years

This year will mark York, Pa.-based Product Design & Development Inc.’s (PDDI) 30th year in business. The company was founded in 1978, and its founders started a sister company, York Tool & Die Inc., in 1980. Since then, PDDI has acquired a number of other companies, including an injection-molding company, and, most recently, Lowell Manufacturing.

The current owners, Larry Mitzel and Mike Brezler, have been associated with the company for all of the 30 years.

PPG Researchers Honored with 2008 Carnegie Science Award
Three senior research associates at Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, Paul Medwick, James Thiel and Andrew Wagner, were named winners in the Advanced Manufacturing category for the 2008 Carnegie Science Awards.

The researchers were recognized for their leadership and research oversight in the development of Solarban 70XL solar control low-emissivity (low-e) glass by PPG. They accepted a $1,000 award to support PPG’s ongoing development of energy-efficient glasses in a ceremony May 9 at Carnegie Music Hall in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh. 

DWM
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