Annual Meeting Kicks Off Glass Week
by Megan Headley
Attendees of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance
(IGMA) annual meeting in March at the Paris Las Vegas didn’t waste a minute
of time, putting it to good use whether working on updates to technical
documents or meeting with colleagues in the larger glass industry as the
opener of the joint Glass Week with the Glass Association of North America
As the IGMA meeting opened, the Glazing Guidelines task group made quick
work of approving a number of edits to the section of TM 3000, North American
Glazing Guidelines for Sealed Insulating Glass for Commercial and Residential
Use, on the appropriate height of setting blocks for residential windows
to keep them dry. The group approved sending the document to the Technical
Services committee for balloting and, possibly, approval.
The task group continued its discussion on its joint work with the Glass
Association of North America (GANA) about capillary tubes. Since the last
meeting the group has requested and received information from Guardian
Industries about a proprietary software program the manufacturer uses
to determine whether capillary tubes should be used. Guardian provided
the group with information on “changes in pressure, temperature, volume
and width to height ratio of sealed IG units on stresses,” which will
be incorporated into the guidelines eventually.
The Gas Permeability task group met next with a bit more work ahead of
it. At its last meeting, the task group agreed to end the gas permeability
tests being run by CAN-BEST.
“A big challenge CAN-BEST had was the amount of argon coming through was
so small it was actually lost in baseline noise and couldn’t be resolved,”
explained task group chair John Greenzweig of H.B. Fuller.
At its last meeting the group put together a list of future actions with
an eye toward revamping the research project at the heart of its scope.
This time, they discussed whether or not there was a way to set up an
effective test unit that was an edge-sealed assembly section. Other ways
to reduce costs of the project also were reviewed. Finally, Greenzweig
took a straw poll to determine how much interest remained in pursuing
“Is it valuable trying to continue looking at ... edge seal assemblies
... Or say we don’t think it can be done and move on?” he asked.
A show of hands from the group indicated that there was interest in pursuing
research, if testing a full IG unit. From there, the group agreed to re-draft
its initial request for proposal and has two new laboratories to which
to send it, thanks to member suggestions.
The Thermal Stress task group reviewed language and new additions to its
in-progress matrix on thermal stresses. The matrix identifies conditions,
such as framing systems, building location, etc., as low, medium or high
risk for thermal stress breakage. The group will send the matrix out to
the larger group to review, add cateThe Thermal Stress task group reviewed
language and new additions to its in-progress matrix on thermal stresses.
The matrix identifies conditions, such as framing systems, building location,
etc., as low, medium or high risk for thermal stress breakage. The group
will send the matrix out to the larger group to review, add categories
and offer input in general. In the next round, the group hopes to have
reviewers rank variables and, from that, pinpoint the key areas on which
Mike Burk of Edgetech I.G. is the chair of the new Glass Safety Council
for IGMA. The Council will look at new ways to protect employees, while
also incorporating a “protection component.” The decision to establish
the Council was made after IGMA and GANA aired a joint webinar, presented
by Burk, about Preventing Injuries During Flat Glass Handling, that has
proved hugely popular (the webinar can be found on www.igmaonline.org).
In addition to creating resources for others, IGMA members got some tips
they too could use. Dan Braun of Architectural Testing Inc. offered meeting
attendees tips for successfully testing insulating glass (IG) units. Braun
walked attendees through common failures in IG testing, including handling,
chemical/volatile fog, gas fill and seal durability.
When it comes to handling, Braun pointed out that each lite is handled
about 15 times or more during testing, “significantly more than your typical
production unit,” he said, “so I think it makes good sense to give some
attention to handling.”
He offered quality control suggestions for IG manufacturers, including
inspecting glass edge conditions, polishing the glass edges and, of course,
protecting the samples during shipping and handling.
IGMA Members Hear Tips For Successful IG Testing
Next Braun addressed fog testing.
“One of the tough parts about the fog test is if the fog test fails the
whole test fails,” he began, before discussing “the controversy” with
the fog test. “With the implementation of the harmonized standard in 2002,
the test has become more severe,” Braun explained. The change has resulted
in more failures and lots of discussion. “I think the argument in the
industry is ‘fog failures are not a big warranty issue so why do we have
a test that does not accurately reflect real world conditions?’ Perhaps
a good point,” Braun said. He countered, “My experience is, it’s out there,
you will see it, but it’s not grossly visible so every consumer will look
at it and say it’s objectionable.”
He said one possible solution has been ranking failures and deciding what
A more recent change to the ASTM test procedure for fog testing now controls
the light source used to check for fog, making the test less subjective.
“That was addressed in the 2010 version of the standard that just came
out,” Braun said. “It’s unreasonable to expect this will result in fewer
fog failures; it’s probably reasonable to assume this will result in more
fog failures. Some of the labs that may have been more casual in looking
for fog ... now have a consistent, repeatable viewing area.”
In offering quality control tips for fog testing, Braun has typically
advised manufacturers to complete the fog testing before weather cycling,
noting that it seemed like a commonsense solution to determine whether
the one-week test will be successful before spending the time and money
on a 15-week test. However, he said he was recently told that waiting
and allowing for the linger-cure times might be beneficial—a suggestion
he’s hoping to test in the future.
On argon gas testing, Braun suggested that manufacturers consider the
impact of grids and spacers. He noted one would normally just have grids
and spacers in fog test samples, but should keep in mind these components
can result in dilution of gas mixture and should be considered. He also
advised recognizing the limited accuracy in testing low-fill-level argon
When it comes to seal durability, Braun said, “There is a certain number
of failures that we see occur from corrosion to the low-E coating so,
to me, the answer seems pretty obvious that there should be some consideration
to edge deletion.”
Braun hears similar arguments as with fog testing: these failures don’t
occur in the field, why do they occur in the test? He admitted there’s
not a perfect answer, noting, “It’s unlike the real world where if you
have an ideally glazed channel, let’s face it, it should be fine.” But
test conditions are worst-case scenarios. “If you can make it past the
test you’re certainly going to limit your callbacks in the field.”
Braun concluded by reminding his audience that these issues will only
become more important in the future. “This whole arena of thermal performance
is getting increased attention from the Department of Energy,” he said,
“so it’s a matter of do you want to be riding the horse or be pulled along?”
Megan Headley is the editor of USGlass.
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