Volume 38, Issue 5, May 2003

Glassfab-ulous
Educational Seminars Tackle Issues 
Covering Three Industry Segments
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

Tom DangieriWhether it was tempering, laminating or insulating glass they were interested in, more than 150 attendees found an educational outlet at Glass Fab 2003, which took place April 1-2 in Chicago. The event was co-sponsored by the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), and was geared specifically toward those in the industry with only a few years’ experience. It provided a general session of seminars, followed by break-out sessions that focused on one of three specific areas: tempering, laminating or insulating.

Paul Carroll of Viracon was one of the first-time attendees.

“I’m fairly new to the glass business, so I hoped to learn more of the basic technology, terminology and maybe something that I could use to improve our process,” Carroll said. “Turns out that either the material covered was basic or I know a little more about the business than I thought.”

According to GANA tempering division educational seminar chairperson, Tom Noe of Glasstech, the attendance at this year’s conference represented a vast diversity of backgrounds. 

“I’m impressed by the number of new people thirsty for opportunities to learn from industry experts,” Noe said.

Noe credited the program’s success to the speakers. 

“From an educational standpoint it’s been my charge as the chairperson to try and design a program that addresses timely industry issues,” he said. “The speakers make the program a success.” 

Starting Point
At the start of day one, Noe shared the podium in welcoming the crowd with Margaret Webb, executive director of IGMA.

“This is my first Glass Fab,” said Webb. “And I’m pleased to be here.”

In his welcome, Noe next asked how many were attending the event for the first time and an overwhelming majority of hands were raised.

“It might be better to ask who isn’t here for the first time,” Noe joked.

The first general session speaker was Mitch Edwards of Guardian, who discussed glass technologies. The seminar covered a brief history of glass, how it’s made and different types of glass.

“Glass is one of the oldest, natural materials used by man,” Edwards said. Obsidian glass, he explained, is formed by volcanic action. “I would have had a piece of obsidian with me, but with the heightened security I couldn’t get it through the airport,” he said.

He also looked at the evolution of glass manufacturing, from sheet glass to plate glass to float glass.

Edwards was followed by Chuck Beatty of Edgeworks, who talked about glass cutting and edging techniques. His presentation covered different topics such as cutting tools and how different types of glass (i.e., coated glass) can complicate cutting.

Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG was the next presenter. His talk focused on handling coated glass. He addressed proper steps and procedures for such matters as glass storage, handling, cutting and washing.

Good, Clean Glass
“Mitch told us how to make glass, Chuck told us how to cut it, Jeff told us how to handle it and now Bob is going to tell us how to wash it,” said Noe, as he introduced the next presenter, Billco’s Bob Lang. Lang discussed how to understand and maintain glass washers.

“Safety is extremely important,” he said. “And over the years glass washers generally have not received enough maintenance. The main goal to achieve clean glass is maintenance.” Topics Lang covered included maintenance, daily start-up procedures and detergents.

The last general session presentation, which covered glass breakage, came from Bob Maltby of First Solar LLC.

“I’m here to tell you how to break glass,” Maltby said. “Has anyone who has ever been in a glass plant not seen broken glass? It’s a brittle material and it breaks.”

Glass breaks, he explained, from tension and from flaws.

From left to right: Mark Abbott, Bob Maltby and Alex RednerDistortion, Specifications and Technologies
The general session continued the next morning with a panel discussion that included Mark Abbott of LiteSentry Corp., Bob Maltby and Alex Redner of Strainoptic Technologies. They made presentations on optical distortion in heat-treated, insulating and laminating glass.

Rick Wright of Oldcastle Glass next spoke on standards and specifications. He updated attendees on some of what is happening with a number of glass-related standards, including ASTM C1036-01 (annealed glass), ASTM C1172-96 (standard specifications for laminated glass), ASTM E1300 (glass strength) and several others.

Alison Tribble with the Alliance to Save Energy next talked about glass technologies and efficient windows.

She was followed by Solutia’s Julie Schimmelpenningh who discussed safety and security glazing applications. 

Breaking Out 
The tempering break-out session by far drew the biggest crowd, with 75 of the attendees taking part. 

“Today’s commercial architectural glass products are dynamic, and the tempering process is more critical and complex than ever before,” said Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius McDanel, who also serves as the tempering division chair. “The GANA educational seminar provides a comprehensive one-stop shop that addresses the key components of the fabrication and heat-treating processes.”

Bartoe also credited the meeting’s success to Noe for organizing such distinguished speakers “considered experts in their respective fields.”

“Attendees are exposed to the fundamentals of glass fabrication, leading- edge technologies and the most recent trends in specifications and measurement techniques. Where else can a freshman class sit with some of the most respected masters such as Stan Joehlin, Dr. Bob Maltby and Alex Redner (just to name a few) and get real answers?” Bartoe added.

The first tempering presentation was led by Dick Ford of George Ford & Sons and Bartoe. They discussed ceramic rollers and maintenance for maximum performance and the relationship to roller wave distortion. Topics they covered included causes for roller wave distortion (overheating, eccentric roll, a loose end cap) and roller maintenance.

The two were followed by Tom Noe, who spoke about new developments in glass heating technology and Chuck Wencl of Viracon, who led a roll-wave measuring demonstration.

Stan Joehlin, of S.W. Joehlin Inc., began a two-part seminar on analyzing glass tempering concepts (the second part was presented the following day). The presentation covered the basics of the thermal tempering process, including types of failures and the relationship between the different heat-treated products and stress levels. In his presentation, Joehlin heated several pieces of glass to varying temperatures to illustrate how if not heated or cooled uniformly different areas of the glass will have different final lengths, causing warp. The demonstrations showed how even small changes can cause warp. In one instance you could actually hear the glass “pop” when it was torqued.

Other tempering presentations taking place on day two included a look at convection tempering by Raimo Nieminen of Tamglass and measuring and controlling glass temperature with infrared thermometers by Vern Lappe of Ircon Inc.

John Mulvanerty of FLT Glass provided a review of GANA’s Engineering Standards Manual and tempering division technical committee activities.

“There’s three decades of information in the Engineering Standards Manual,” he said. “Read it. You’ll be so far ahead of those [competitors] not here because you’ll understand. It’s tough to read, but I urge you to do so.”

Laminating Session
A number of speakers also took part in the laminating session. According to Solutia’s Dan Laporte, who is also the laminating division educational seminar chair, the sessions were very well received.

“I thought the presentations went extremely well and the feedback we’ve received from people has been excellent,” he said. He added that some people even said they wanted to come back next year to learn more. “We also got some feedback for next year’s program, which I’d like to see expanded,” he said.

Laporte also said he thought the lower attendance in the laminating sessions was likely due to the location. 

“We’re trying to cover all three, laminating, tempering and insulating, and in the Chicago area there’s a lot more [involved in] tempering and insulating glass.”

Included in the presentations was one from Kevin Reynolds of DuPont on pre-pressing and autoclaving. Among the topics Reynolds discussed were reasons to autoclave. Reasons to autoclave, according to the presentation, are the need for less equipment when compared to prepress, residual air dissolves into PVB, PVB relaxes and flows and PVB bonds to the glass.

Dan Laporte next talked about troubleshooting laminating problems. According to his presentation the most important step in solving such a problem is to ask the following questions: What is the problem? When did it occur? Why did it happen? How are you going to resolve it? The most important tools for the troubleshooting process are a PVB supplier laminate testing service, in-house quality testing and a troubleshooting checklist.

Next, Michael Burris of UCB Chemicals Corp. discussed ultraviolet (UV) curable glass lamination. The technology, he explained, consists of a liquid that turns into a polymer through exposure to UV light. UV lamination involves a single component polymer interlayer that is cured by UV light in 20 minutes.

The next presentation was from Pete Anderson of Viracon, who covered glass-clad polycarbonates. He explained that a glass-clad polycarbonate consists of a 1/8- ¼- or 3/8-inch polycarbonate between .050-inch polyurethane and 1/8- or ¼-inch glass, either heat-strengthened or chemically strengthened on each side. Glass-clad polycarbonates are commonly used in detention centers, embassy buildings, banks, federal courthouses and in the high-end hurricane market.

Other presenters in the laminating sessions included Mark Gold of Solutia who covered quality control testing of laminated glass; Barnabas Greenyer of Benteler Glass Processing Machinery spoke about pre-press and heating technology for the PVB laminating process; Sara Perron of Viracon discussed the hurricane market and hurricane-resistant glass; and DuPont’s Kevin Reynolds spoke on laminating hurricane glass.

Insulating Session
In the insulating sessions several topics were on the agenda, including gas-filling, sealants, desiccants, spacers and coatings. Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director, was pleased with the overall insulating sessions.

“The level of expertise [among presenters] was impressive,” she said. Webb said she’d been in presentations during different conferences in the past where the speakers were “talking over their heads,” but these were good because they kept it interesting. “It’s a credit to the presenters when they can keep the people in their seats,” she said.

The following were presenters: Randi Ernst, FDR Design Inc., gas-filling of insulating glass units; Bill Lingnell, IGMA technical consultant, IGMA information and services; Bruce Virnelson, PRC DeSoto International Inc., insulating glass sealants; Tom Dangieri, UOP Molecular Sieve Dept., desiccants in IG units; Dave Talcolt, Dow Corning Corp., silicone sealants; John Greenzweig, H.B. Fuller, desiccated matrix materials; Yuan Boudreault, Allmetal Inc., insulating glass spacers and muntin bars; and Ed Bator, Viracon, coatings used in insulating glass units.

Next Year
Plans for the 2004 Glass Fab are presently in the works. No dates or location had been announced at press time. 


Ellen Giard Chilcoat is the editor of USGlass magazine.


USG

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