Volume 44, Issue 3 - March 2009

Feature

IG Know-How
IGMA Meeting Marked by Mergers and Technical Presentations
by Megan Headley

Among the items covered at the annual meeting of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), which took place in February in San Diego, was no less serious a topic than the future direction of the association. IGMA members heard a status report on the potential merger with the Glass Association of North America (GANA). 

At GANA’s Fall Conference in September, the associations announced their interest in closer collaboration that would essentially merge IGMA with GANA’s Insulating Glass Division. To gauge interest in these efforts, IGMA distributed a survey late last year to solicit member feedback on various aspects of collaboration between the two organizations. Members were asked to identify other areas that may not have been addressed in the survey and for input regarding what this collaboration could look like as the two organizations move closer together.

During two sessions held at the IGMA annual meeting, IGMA executive director Margaret Webb listed some of the responses received to the member-wide survey. Among the most common concerns were maintaining a balance between U.S. and Canadian representation since GANA is primarily made up of U.S. members; maintaining a balance between residential and commercial insulating glass (IG) producers since GANA focuses primarily on commercial products; and what might happen to IGMA’s surplus funding at the time of merger. To maintain the Canada/U.S. balance, the IGMA board of directors would remain in place to oversee all division activities; the board is divided evenly in its geographic representation. The IGMA “division” of GANA would be strictly technical and focused on research, Webb stressed—anything educational or marketing in nature would go to those respective GANA committees. 

Ken Brenden of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association broached one concern about the merger, noting that IGMA’s current size and focus allows it to quickly accomplish a number of items. “One of the beauties of IGMA is the speed at which you get things done,” Brenden said. Webb pointed out that that’s why the aim is to retain the current IGMA structure as closely as possible.

While IGMA still is working to address all members’ concerns, both organizations are proceeding in outlining how this potential merger would be undertaken. The boards of both IGMA and GANA reviewed a merger status update during a closed meeting in San Diego. A two-year timeline has been set, at which point a proposal will be sent to the IGMA membership to vote on whether to proceed with this merger. 

IGCC Harmonization
Mergers were, in fact, the hot topic of the event. During a reception held one evening, IGMA president Roger Skluzacek, of Viracon, and Trulite’s Ray Wakefield, president of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) signed the licensing agreement that officially brought the two groups together under a single certification process (see August 2008 USGlass, page 38, for related story).

“What I’m so impressed with is that we did it so quickly,” commented Webb of the signing. The harmonization began in June 2004.

Under the agreement, IGCC will license the use of the IGMA mark; the certification program will be governed by the IGCC board of governors and will operate under IGCC bylaws. The IGCC/IGMA mark will go on products to label compliance with both IGCC and IGMA. John Kent, IGCC administrator, emphasized that after initial certification, ASTM E2190 testing shall occur annually after the first two years; if no failures occur then testing may occur once every two years at the discretion of the participant.

Working Groups Update
While there was a forward-looking focus at this meeting, it didn’t stop the working groups from getting down to the business at hand. The Technical Services Committee heard a summary of some of the ongoing activities, before discussing new business. 

Bruce Virnleson of PRC DeSoto International, outgoing chair of the Gas Permeability Working Group, summarized the status of the IGMA research project evaluating the gas permeability of edge seal assemblies. He noted that the request for proposal had been signed and now the laboratory was preparing to get down to work on developing a test protocol for argon permeability through IG units. 

During this meeting the group began recruiting volunteers to supply sealants and spacers to be used in the samples to be tested. Virnleson added that by the next meeting (which had not been announced as of press time) the working group expects to have completed engineering and design of the test cell, what the samples will look like, an outline of the test method and, “with a little luck,” some data to present. Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG, chair of the Glazing Guidelines Working Group, reported that the group primarily worked on research on what information already is available on capillary tubes in its continuing effort to present a document on recommended practices for using capillary tubes. It will be sending out requests for available information to IGMA members as well as members of other organizations. 

Rogers then reported as chair of the Visual Quality Working Group that the Visual Quality Voluntary Guidelines document was waiting to be forwarded to the Technical Policy Committee and then IGMA board for review and approval. 

Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG, chair of the Thermal Stress Working Group, reported that his group had performed some final “tweaking” of its field service inspection form. The form will be used to get additional examples of thermal stress breakage from members of the industry. He also gave an update on the group’s thermal stress bulletin. The group began in February to “flesh out” its outline of “markers for what we want to elaborate on,” Haberer explained. Those outlined markers include factors that can influence thermal stress breakage, such as frame types and interior or exterior building conditions. The outline already has morphed from a list of “dos and don’ts” for thermal stress to document roughly entitled “Design Considerations.” 

Under new business, the committee listened to requests for two new working groups. Kent advised taking a new look at the TM-4000 Insulating Glass Manufacturing Quality Procedures Technical Manual and its tone. “I think it was initially meant as a helping hand,” Kent commented, while advising the group to consider revising it to create more mandatory, rather than advisory, language. The request came as a result of other organizations’ interest in mandating the use of the document.

Virnelson volunteered to chair this new group, as he was involved in the development of the original document. 

In addition, the committee heard a request also from Dave Cooper of Guardian Industries to consider creating a working group to research information on triple glazed IG units. “Is there enough information out there to be referencing triple glazing?” he asked the committee, pointing to examples of documents that do so. This new request is being forwarded to the Technical Policy Committee to determine under which existing group such a task might fall. 

Technical Presentations
Also during the meeting, attendees were treated to a number of technical presentations.

IGMA technical consultant Bill Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services presented an update on his thermal stress research pertaining to insulating glass (IG). “We need to understand why you don’t just jump from monolithic to IG,” Lingnell opened.

According to his presentation, “There is a pre-stress in the IG unit due solely to the temperature difference from outside to inside without the influence of solar intensity.” Lingnell elaborated, “Even before you start putting sun on this, there are some conditions that are happening.”

After walking his listeners through the basics of thermal stress considerations for monolithic glass—ranging from frame type and size to interior and exterior building conditions—Lingnell proceeded to walk through his analyses for addressing the differences that IG gap has on thermal stress reactions. 

While his research provides for “a numerical procedure … that shows the magnitude of thermal stress in IG,” Lingnell pointed out that this is simply the beginning of his research in this area.

“We have some good examples here but that won’t take us as far as we want to go,” he said. His goal is to continue his research with a second phase that will entail creating “dozens of thermal stress charts” to lead to a procedure for predicting thermal stress in IG, and perhaps, down the road, a third phase to address the curves thrown into the mix by the newer triple-glazed units.

Next to take the floor was David Bailey of Bodycote Testing Group along with Virnelson to address ASTM E 2190 by asking: “Has the Bar Been Raised?”

In providing some background on the various IG test methods in use (ASTM E 773/E 774, CAN/CGSB 12.8 and the new ASTM E2190 endorsed by IGMA and IGCC), Bailey happened to address a topic that had been much in discussion during working group meetings: the volatile fog test. While Bailey provided information on how his laboratory follows the test methods, he did comment in regard to E2190, “I think it would be to the industry’s benefit and the laboratory’s benefit to have the light source and the distance and the angle to be very specifically defined.”

Virnelson went on to compare some of the differences between the tests, before providing several charts on failure rates for each test method. 

“As you make a sample long enough, you get better at making it,” he commented in explaining trends. He summarized that while it should be more difficult to get units through the newer method’s way of testing for volatile fog and weathering, “the data seems to suggest … might be a little bit more difficult in the fog … not a lot more difficult in the durability.” 

Next up, Jim Larsen of Cardinal IG presented a talk on the next generations of the Energy Star® program (see September 2008 USGlass, page 36, for related story). Larsen explained of the reasoning for the revisions that the Department of Energy is “thinking Energy Star doesn’t differentiate itself enough from the codes.” He expressed concern that once Energy Star raises it’s bar, so to speak, the model codes would follow. 

“Is this really going to improve energy efficiency?” he asked as he walked his audience through the revised climate zone maps and compliance examples showing that in some areas there aren’t products available to meet the requirements.

Megan Headley is the editor of USGlass.

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