Volume 12, Issue 9 - November/December 2011

feature


Best in Show
DWM’s First Annual GBA Award Winners
by Tara Taffera

With hundreds of organizations exhibiting their products at GlassBuild America (GBA) in Atlanta, companies have to do something pretty special to stand out. DWM magazine was on-hand and we have compiled our best of the best from GBA. If you missed our online coverage, including three days of videos, two days of blogs and several stories detailing products, you can still access it at dwmmag.com.

Most Passionate about Saving Companies Money
OptiGas/Praxair
“In our industry people look at better extrusions and better spacers, but they don’t look at gas-filling,” said Mike McHugh, president OptiGas. But if they did he said there are efficiencies that may be realized and a great amount of money to be saved. This was the message McHugh took to GlassBuild while promoting the OptiGas 500 filling machine and the newer 1000 model.

“For every liter of krypton that goes in an insulating glass (IG) unit a liter ends up on the floor,” he said. “We think that’s a conservative number.”

The company teamed up with Praxair to study the filling process in the lab, and to discover how the OptiGas could benefit window manufacturers and save them money. Researchers found that to get the best performance, the OptiGas machine uses both argon and krypton in a unique way.

“Stop thinking about argon and krypton as different,” said McHugh. “Think about it as gas-filling.”

And when it comes to gas-filling, the age-old question continues to be asked: is it in there?

That’s where ThermalCERT comes in. This verification process is a new addition to the OptiGas, that takes actual thermal conductivity measurements after the gas is inserted. Companies then get a certificate to verify performance. McHugh described ThermalCERT as statistical process control.

“There is a science to it,” he said. “It’s reading the thermal conductivity of the gas mix and that’s what the OptiGas does.

“If you buy my competitors’ windows, I’m not saying the gas isn’t in there,” added McHugh. “But I’m saying you don’t know.”

Though McHugh says manufacturers can receive maximum benefits by using an argon/krypton mix, some companies like the ThermalCert feature so much that if they want to use the OptiGas for only argon they can. McHugh agrees that, yes, the machine is expensive.

“But the very first moment a company puts this on the floor it’s a positive cash flow,” he said. “I have companies that use this that have saved a few hundred thousand per year in gas costs.” As of September, the company had shipped eight machines but McHugh expected that to change.

“I believe there is going to be a flood of people buying this,” he said. “I make IG [he also serves as president of Integrated Automation Systems], so I understand what’s important.”

Most Innovative Company
Deceuninck North America

As housing starts are down, companies are searching for ways to be innovative and ride out the housing recession. Some are finding opportunities for growth, forging partnerships and continue to move forward. Deceuninck North America is one of these companies and its chief executive, Filip Geeraert, is excited about the future. When DWM magazine spoke to him at the show, he pointed out that the company has three main messages: innovation, design and sustainability.

Showing its commitment on all three fronts, the company announced that it has partnered with Bayer MaterialScience LLC to introduce Innergy™ Rigid Thermal Reinforcements.

“Innergy is truly the next generation of thermal reinforcements. It offers the same strength and durability of aluminum, but with unprecedented levels of thermal performance,” said Geeraert. Developed as a better-performing alternative to aluminum reinforcements for PVC windows and door profiles, Innergy also contains 20 percent bio-based resins, and offers superior thermal performance, which helps manufacturers achieve improved energy efficiency ratings.

The company also launched its Revolution tilt-and-turn window. The product features a seven-chamber thermal structure, the Innergy Rigid Thermal Reinforcements and the capability to achieve an R-value of 7+. The window also is designed for a C-50/DP-80 rating.

The company also has partnered with JP Industrial to launch a recycling program for its fabricators.

As part of the program, JPI, a GreenCircle-Certified company, collects end cuts and other scraps from Deceuninck’s fabricators and provides the recycled content to Deceuninck so the company can reintroduce it into the manufacturing process.

“We provide an incentive for fabricators as we provide a premium based on what we get back,” said Geeraert. “We have a zero-waste goal, and our partnership with JPI will help us meet this goal by reclaiming unused product that might have otherwise ended up in the waste stream.”

Geeraert says the company is not done innovating. “I have a great team who is energized and we have designs ready now for 2012,” he said.

Most Innovative Way to Showcase a Product
Lauren Manufacturing

Lauren Manufacturing took a unique approach to showcasing its sealing solutions, including their patented iDea® Seal. The result was an eye-catching display that drew people into the booth. Employees were then able to talk about the product’s capabilities, as well as application engineering and design assistance solutions offered by the company.

Most Innovative “Machinery” Display
It’s not uncommon for a machinery supplier to exhibit at a trade show yet not display its machines. Sometimes the cost of setting up equipment causes some companies to simply set up a booth with some literature and talk to attendees about their product offerings. MECAL USA didn’t bring its machines to the show, per se, but they were on display.

The company set up a large television—but it wasn’t just a video of a machine. The TV was connected, via Skype, to the company’s plant in Rockford, Ill. Attendees could see the machines running in the plant and talk to plant personnel to ask questions. The company also had a staffer in the plant tweeting throughout the show.

Most Innovative Machine
GED Integrated Solutions ATLAS

With the goal of helping manufacturers become more efficient while reducing the cost of manufacturing triples, GED Integrated Solutions unveiled the Automated Tri-Lite Assembly System (ATLAS). The glass fabrication system produces triple-pane insulating glass units (IGUs) in 20-second cycle times.

“Manufacturers who have seen it are astounded,” said Bill Weaver, GED’s president.

“The GED Triple Assembly Unit was the best piece of equipment I saw at the 2011 Glass Build Show in Atlanta,” agreed Dean Tascarella of Serious Energy.

The machine can adapt to unique IGU combinations, including small and large units, both dual- and triple-glazed IGUs and in any order or combination. This is made possible through GED’s new Win IG-5 software and the “no-touch” Vortex vacuum lift technologies.

Operations can now schedule each unique IGU in a one-piece flow manner as the visual software interface provides grid, spacer and glass alignment.

“Our visitor report logs indicate we had 85 percent of the show’s attendees visited our exhibit to see firsthand how this revolutionary glass fabrication system produces triple pane IG units in only 20 second cycle times,” added Weaver, following the event. “We have every confidence that ATLAS is quickly becoming a true game changer within our industry.”

Best Glass Innovations
Guardian Industries, ClimaGuard, 62/27 PPG Industries, Dynamic Glazing

Sometimes glass is the sleeper of the GBA show, as, traditionally, few glass companies show their wares. But this year, two of the major glass manufacturers showcased their newest products, gaining the attention of window companies.

First, Guardian unveiled an addition to its ClimaGuard line—62/27: a triple-silver low-E, which Andy Russo, director, residential market segment, said offers energy savings and an improved solar heat gain coefficient. The 62/27 indicates that 62 percent of the sun’s visible light shines through the glass, while 27 indicates that only 27 percent of the sun’s heat makes its way through.

“Thanks to three microscopic layers of silver, Guardian ClimaGuard 62/27 low-E glass helps meet Energy Star requirements in all U.S. climate zones,” said Russo. “This newest addition to Guardian’s residential glass series delivers clear, crisp views with plenty of visible light and an improved solar heat gain coefficient of 0.265. ClimaGuard 62/27 delivers what homeowners want: lower cooling bills when it’s hot outside and lower heating bills when it’s cold.”

While companies are looking for energy savings, another category seeing growth is dynamic glazing. Following that trend, PPG has partnered with Pleotint, a producer of thermochromic film. PPG’s Glenn Miner said he’s particularly excited about incorporating this particular dynamic product with PPG’s Solarban 60 into an insulating glass unit because, as the sun heats the interlayer, it gradually changes from transparent to opaque, rather than an abrupt transfer at a certain temperature. Miner says that after about a year of working with Pleotint, he’s found the product to be an economically feasible option that performs well and offers good color, for introducing dynamic glazing into retrofit or new construction projects. The product can be used in custom, high-end homes as well as commercial applications.

Best Use of the iPad to Design a Window
The Optimizer Quanex Building Products

While the iPad is increasing in popularity and being used more frequently by door and window companies, Quanex Building Products Corp. introduced ‘The Optimizer’ U-value calculator for glazing systems. The program estimates total window U-values via a specially designed electronic application that works well on the iPad.

“As the demand for energy-efficient systems continues to grow and energy codes become more stringent, it is becoming increasingly important for architects and glazing fabricators to understand and manage the variables of insulating glass systems,” said Joe Erb, commercial sales specialist for Quanex Engineered Products Group. “The Optimizer is an invaluable tool that saves significant time and money during the specification and product development phases.”

Each Quanex salesperson is equipped with The Optimizer in the field via their iPad® devices, enabling an instant U-value assessment of various combinations of framing materials from its Mikron division with all common North American IG spacers, glass packages, low-E coatings and gas fills. In total, Quanex says the program can assess 45,000 combinations “to help users find the right balance between cost and performance.”

Tara Taffera is the editor/publisher of DWM/Shelter magazine. Follow her on Twitter @dwmmag, read her blog at dwmmag.com and like DWM magazine on Facebook to receive updates.


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