Dow Sealant Batch Causes Problems for Viracon, Glazing
In early June, certain glazing contractors received in
the mail a notice that they may have installed products using a defective
batch of sealant.
According to a letter sent out by Owatonna, Minn.-based Viracon on June
8, Dow Corning “received reports from the field of insulating glass units
with air in the secondary seal” in units using batches of 982 silicone
insulating glass sealant delivered to customers after March 10, 2010.
Dow Corning provided USGlass with a statement ten days after the initial
letter. The statement said the company had “conducted a comprehensive
investigation and found this intermittent and isolated issue was likely
caused by a failed seal in a drum off pump, but only when certain environmental
and/or processing conditions were also present. The failed seal was immediately
repaired upon discovery. Dow Corning has implemented engineering and process
controls to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
The company further stated, “The drum off process is dedicated to Dow
Corning® 982 Silicone Insulating Glass Sealant base. No other products
are affected due to this issue. Based on the investigation to date, the
potentially affected sealant is only present in a small percentage of
batches within the batch range 5944452 to 6010209. The time period for
this batch range is limited to material manufactured between March 10,
2010 and May 3, 2010.”
A follow-up letter signed by Viracon president Greg Silvestri on June
18 stated, “We have been heavily engaged in identifying specific projects
and customers with suspect IG units so we can work to ensure product safety
and uphold our customer service commitment. We have inspected thousands
of units within our inventory and in customer supply as recommended by
Dow Corning and, along with Dow Corning’s investigation and review, believe
the scope of this issue has been substantially narrowed.”
In addition, Viracon said its investigation and testing “determined that
IG units for installation into four-sided mechanically captured glazing
systems need not be inspected for micro bubbles and may be installed.”
Glazing contractors around the country found themselves asking questions
about how they might be affected by potential problems with IGUs using
the affected batches.
According to one contract glazier, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
“I have no idea based on the information provided if this is a major concern
for Viracon and Dow … Nowhere in the documentation that was sent to us
do I find a statement that tells anyone what may or may not result from
the use of what is, for all practical purposes, being referred to as defective
sealant. Will the units fail prematurely? Will they come apart? Or do
they just look bad?”
Neither Dow nor Viracon has released information as to the total number
of installed projects have been affected, or whether the sealant has been
used in structurally glazed applications, which could pose a safety risk.
AAMA Launches Certification
Program for Commercial Window Installers
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has developed
a Commercial InstallationMasters program for installers of doors and windows
rated for commercial, industrial, large multi-family and institutional
buildings. The program, administered by Architectural Testing Inc. (ATI),
is based on the industry consensus document AAMA IPCB-08, Standard Practice
for the Installation of Windows and Doors in Commercial Buildings. This
standard covers the installation of aluminum windows and doors in punched
openings, including specialty shaped, horizontal ribbon and vertical stack
openings for both new construction and replacement projects.
Course material includes: accepted installation techniques; proper material
selection; the proper installation and sealing of panning, receptor systems
and subsills; jobsite safety; quality control; and product care, adjustment,
cleaning and more.
As a licensed training provider, ATI offers the two-day training classes,
administers exams and issues photo ID certification credentials to commercial
door and window installers who seek validation of their expertise. Certified
installers also may choose to include their name on a web-based listing
of certified installers for reference by customers, and are allowed to
use the InstallationMasters™ logo in their advertising.
The program offers several participation options:
• Accredited Instructor: Persons with five years industry experience may
apply to become an accredited instructor and attend an intensive four-day
instructor’s course. Prospective trainers take an examination and are
evaluated for their ability to teach the course materials to the installers;
• Certified Installer: Installers with at least five years of installation
experience may attend the two-day class with one of the accredited instructors.
If they pass the written examination, they are approved as a certified
• Installation Company Certification: Installation companies that employ
at least one certified installer and have a documented quality control
system that meets program requirements may apply to become a certified
installation company. ATI then performs periodic audits to verify that
the quality system is being followed;
• Non-Certification Participant: Those lacking the required installation
experience, but who wish to learn (e.g., sales or administrative personnel)
may attend an installer training class and receive a certificate of completion.
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