Volume 37, Issue 2, February 2002
Is It Possible?
Enhancing Thermal Performance
with Minimal Headaches
by Joe Almasy
There is no topic in the fenestration industry that is talked about more than this one. To achieve maximum thermal performance, manufacturers are combining warm-edge technology with high-performance window elements such as energy-efficient frames, low-E glass and, most notably, Argon and other gas-fills. The topic of gas fill and the filling process has become vitally important to manufacturers because a warm-edge system must retain gas in order to deliver high-performance windows.
As the consumer demand for high-performance windows increases and the industry shifts to more automated methods of insulating glass (IG) manufacturing, the need for faster and cheaper Argon gas-filling techniques and equipment is growing. In addition, many manufacturers only produce windows with low-E and Argon. Argon is a natural add-on to a low-E window sale because it improves thermal performance significantly and adds incremental material cost; however, it often becomes a manufacturing headache.
Solving the Filling Dilemma
To meet this demand for more efficient gas-filling systems, a new and unique technology has been developed—liquid gas filling. Liquid-filling technology brings gas filling into a serial operation and no longer requires off-line filling. This gives the manufacturer a competitive advantage since off-line filling is close to double the cost of liquid filling. Liquid filling offers many additional benefits including:
• Reduction of labor components;
• Maintenance of high volume and T.A.P.E. automated application cycle;
• Maintenance of flexible spacer systems, high level of throughput and labor efficiency;
• Reliable performance data due to the ability to see Argon enter the unit, allowing instant feedback on machine function.
Most importantly, however, gas filling an IG unit with liquid material dramatically reduces filling cycle time. Gas filling within established automated IG manufacturing (T.A.P.E., Intercept, TPS, Lisec, Lenhardt) cycle times are typically less than 30 seconds per unit. This is dramatic when compared to the 124-second cycle of the timer fill system and the 90-second cycle of some commercial systems. Liquid filling also helps customers meet state codes, in addition to ENERGY STAR® and National Fenestration Rating Council ratings.
Realizing this need for an efficient liquid-filling system, our company and Besten has partnered to develop Quik-Dose™ GF. This patent-pending technology rapidly fills IG units with liquid gas filling (Argon, Krypton, etc.) for better thermal and sound attenuation properties than an air-filled unit (For more info, see January 2002 USGlass, page 44).
Quik-Dose from Besten and TruSeal is a new method for Argon gas filling.
The Future of Liquid Gas Filling
To remain competitive in this tight market, manufacturers must meet the demand for high-performance windows. To produce a high-performance window, the manufacturer must include additional components such as Argon gas, and embrace more efficient filling methods such as liquid gas filling—an emerging trend that will only continue to grow in the fenestration industry.
Joe Almasy serves as product specialist for TruSeal Technologies Inc., based in Beachwood, Ohio. Fenestration Focus appears monthly with rotating columnists.
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