Presenting the 35th Annual Guide to New Products & Services
The USGlass Magazine 35″‘ Annual Guide to New Products & Services contains some of the newest and most innovative products for the glass and glazing industry. From machinery that makes manufacturing faster and more efficient to the latest in fire-rated glass, the guide has something for everyone looking to update their offerings and supplies. In addition to all of the latest industry-specific new products, there are other technologies that are also having a growing impact on the glass industry. Read more about the increasing use of drones as well as 3-D printing in the special sections throughout this feature.
Machinery and Equipment
1 Streamlined Application
Diamon-Fusion International’s fully-automated hydrophobic coating machine, the FuseCube, utilizes a proprietary chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process to streamline the application of its coating on both sides of glass efficiently and accurately. Spacious configurations also allow fabricators to coat large numbers of shower doors, insulating glass units or any type and combination of glass, according to the company.
The FuseCube also has a unique set of design features, including a load-and-go cartridge system, touch screen panel and built-in evacuation system that neutralizes any chemical vapor as harmless.
2 Grind with Quality and Speed
Bavelloni’s VDM 1636 NC and NRG 330/420PJ CNC working center are some of the company’s newest innovations. The VDM 1636 NC is a vertical drilling and milling machine equipped with one double drilling head (1+1 opposing spindles), each provided with a rotating tool storage that holds eight positions each. The user-friendly design ensures accuracy. Milling is performed while the glass is in a fixed position in order to achieve high levels of grinding quality and speed. The control device combines an NC with the convenience of a PC working in a Microsoft Windows environment.
The NRG 330/420PJ CNC working center has a fully automatic up-and-down sliding door (patent pending) and an 11 kW electro-spindle that was de-signed and built in-house. The Power Jet provides consistent and accurate water placement to the tool contact point with the glass by rotating the water jets from zero to 360 degrees. The NRG can fabricate edge work including drilling, milling, beveling, grooving, straight, oval and circular cuts with a straight or convex saw. It can also handle fl at edge polishing with cup wheels on glass sizes up to 90 inches by 165 inches.
3 Double-Sided Drilling
DRILL 1600 from Skill Glass is a five-axis CNC drilling machine designed for producing holes, inserts and countersinks on rectangular fl at sheet glass with a thickness of 3 mm to 20 mm. The machine is composed of five axes – X, Y, V, Z and W – and two electro-spindles which, with opposite drilling heads, create a double-sided drilling system that drills perfect holes.
4 The Lightning Cut and Denver Advance
SALEM Flat Glass & Mirror offers both the Lightning Cut and the Denver Advance. The Lightning Cut is a core drill requiring little to no maintenance or dressing. With a ratio of life that is four to one in comparison to standard core drills, and fast cut speeds, the Lightning Cut reduces production costs and downtime and requires fewer drill changes, according to the company. Featuring thin walls and an even wear pattern, and slotted for high chip removal and uniform water dispersion, the Lightning Cut produces high-quality holes throughout the entire life of the drill.
The Denver Advance is the company’s most compact, high-tech vertical CNC work center. This all-in-one, true vertical alternative to horizontal work centers features a HotZinc-coated structure and a user-friendly software interface. Featuring automatic rotating tool magazines with 12 positions for the front electro-spindle and ten positions for the rear, the Advance possesses a working envelope of 118-1/8 inches by 59 inches and is capable of edging, notching, countersinking and polishing (optional). This zero set-up machine has 100-percent up-time with its continuous flow capability.
Handling and Lifting Equipment
5 Handling the Situation
All of Wood’s Powr-Grip P1 vacuums are now equipped with Intelli-Grip technology, which, according to the company, represents a new standard in vacuum handling. The system monitors the lifter continuously to reduce human error, diagnoses needed maintenance and repairs and anticipates threats to ensure a safe work environment. Intelli-Grip automatically runs equipment tests so the lifter is always ready for immediate use, while its color display offers a breakdown of helpful information at a glance. It allows more work to get done without compromising safety.
6 High-Capacity Crane
Manitex Valla 19 E Series crane is a new addition to Manitex Valla’s pick-and-carry cranes. It boasts a maximum capacity of 1,990 pounds while still capable of lifting its boom over 15 feet with a capacity of nearly 900 pounds. The 19 E Series crane features an LMI system to ensure safety, and a high speed winch to improve efficiency at the jobsite.
7 Need a Lift?
The MAVLift glazing robot is a mobile vacuum lifter featuring a boom that telescopes, lifts, tilts and rotates a battery-driven vacuum unit. Designed and built by the German company KS Schulten, the MAVLift may be used to transport glass or materials and can turn the load sideways +/- 90 degrees for easy transport through doors or narrow spaces. Once inside, the MAVLift can be positioned to set the glass using its precision wireless remote control. The MAVLift is capable of lifting more than 3,080 pounds.
8 Fire-Resistive Butt-Glazed Walls
Clear, fire-resistive butt-glazed walls up to two hours are now possible with SuperLite II-XLM by SAFTI First. Instead of vertical mullions, SuperLite II-XLM uses a slim, 6-mm butt-joint between the fire-resistive glass panels to allow as much transparency as possible while still meeting the ASTM E-119/UL 263 wall requirement. It also meets CPSC Category II impact safety requirements. SuperLite II-XLM is listed and labeled by UL and Intertek/Warnock Hersey.
9 Glass with a Microfloat Process
Pyran Platinum is SCHOTT’s newest fire-rated glass ceramic. It is available in 51-inch by 99-inch panels and offers a mirror-like surface quality. According to the company, the manufacturing process eliminates the amber tint typically found in some fire-rated glass ceramics. The glass-ceramic offers a true color rendition, allowing more blue-green light to pass through and present a more natural appearance.
Pyran Platinum is available in three formats, all certified by Underwriters Laboratories, and passes positive pressure test standards UL 10C. The monolithic glass-ceramic, available in 3/16-inch sheets, is intended for use in non-impact, safety-rated locations such as transoms and windows with fire-rating requirements up to 90 minutes. Pyran Platinum F, also available in 3/16-inch sheets, has a surface applied safety film. Pyran Platinum L, available in thicknesses of approximately 3/8 inches, is a laminated safety glass. Both are for use in safety-rated locations such as doorlites, transoms or sidelites, and windows with fire-rating requirements up to 90 minutes (up to 180 minutes in doors).
10 Through the Threshold
Quanex Building Products’ new Core Threshold system is a high-quality composite product for the general market, delivering ideal performance for entry-level applications and more, according to the company.
The Core Threshold features a rot-free composite base, solid aluminum deck, variety of natural-looking woodgrain rail options and exposed screws for easy adjustment and minimized damage to door sweeps.
11 Sustainable Performance
YUW 750 TU is YKK AP America’s new thermally-broken, unitized curtainwall. It is built to deliver a high level of design versatility and performance, regardless of climate or location. The captured frame features a 2 ½-inch sightline while the four-sided structural silicone glazed frame features zero sightline. Both framing options offer a high level of structural soundness. The YUW 750 TU offers maximum thermal performance with a U-value of 0.41 BTU/HR/FT²/ºF or less, and easily interfaces with sun shades to achieve even greater sustainable performance. YKK AP’s ThermaBond+ process enhances the adhesion of polyurethane material to aluminum extrusions, helping improve adhesion and preventing dry shrinkage. In the case of extreme surface temperature (180 degrees F/82.2 degrees C), the thermal movement avoids buckling stresses on glass, joint seal failure, undue stress on structural elements, damaging loads on fasteners and performance reduction.
12 Door Hardware That Fits
Midwest Wholesale Hardware’s Falcon SC60A Series closer is designed for light- or medium-duty commercial applications such as a small boutique or office. It is ideal for interior use with aluminum storefronts and mixed-use complexes, and offers ANSI Grade 1 durability backed by a ten-year warranty. According to the company, the SC60A has the most common hole pat-tern in the industry, making it a versatile and easy choice for retrofit.
13 The Kings of Rixson
Access Hardware Supply (AHS) recently expanded its lines of Rixson floor closers and pivots for exterior and interior, high-traffic heavy doors. According to the company, the floor closers are ideal for historical buildings, as they have a long service life and are out of view. www.accesshardware.com
14 An Enticing Solution
The Entice panic device by Blumcraft (a division of C.R. Laurence) features a patent-pending design with an independent, ultra-narrow horizontal crash bar that’s designed to attach to the vertical panic component easily and securely. This two-piece system results in effortless alignment and single-person installation, lowering labor costs and expediting job completion time. The two-piece system also means that the Entice panic can be packaged into a smaller, narrower container to reduce shipping and handling fees. The Entice panic can be mounted onto both monolithic tempered glass and double-glazed insulating glass using precision-engineered through glass fittings.
15 A Hands-Free Experience
SDC’s Auto EntryControl low-energy swing door operator has been updated with a 1-amp, 24 VDC internal power supply for true plug ‘n play integration with a number of access and egress control system components. It provides hands-free, low-power point-of-entry door control to help meet all Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requirements for door installations in retail storefronts, office buildings, campuses and healthcare facilities. The microprocessor-based unit is self-tuning and self-learning while offering non-handed operation, full mechanical stops and a variety of interface options for sensors, push-plates, fire alarms and electrified locks. It has a slotted back plate for easy mounting. The Auto EntryControl auto-senses the degree of door swing and has adjustable hard stops if needed.
16 Dark in Less Than Three Minutes
Kinestral Technologies Inc., is now offering Halio smart-tinting glass in sizes up to 5 feet by 10 feet. Halio smart-tinting glass looks like ordinary clear glass until it tints to cool shades of gray. Achieving its darkest tint level in less than three minutes, Halio eliminates the need for blinds and shades, while still meeting energy efficiency targets. Switching begins within 15 seconds of receiving a command, and transitions occur within three minutes, regardless of the window size. Switching between clear and dark can be automated in response to the weather, time of day or the sun’s position. While Halio integrates with building management and home automation systems, facility managers and homeowners never cede control. All automation can be overridden using a number of manual control options: a mobile app, desktop, wall-mounted tint selectors and even voice commands.
17 A Switchable Glass Interlayer
SWM (formerly Argotec) now offers EVA optical interlayers. Increasing demand for privacy and energy efficiency has driven the growth of switchable glass installations. Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) inter-layer films work for this application due to their high transparency, good strength, long-term reliability (heat, humidity and UV durability), low-temperature lamination and broad compatibility with other materials. EVA interlayer films bond aggressively to glass, PET and many other substrates. Their low melting point allows EVA interlayers to be laminated and cured simultaneously at temperatures that accommodate the low temperature limitations of the switchable film laminates.
18 See the Sky
Glass Flooring Systems’ new SkyFloor Series 2000 ultra-high performance walk-on skylights feature a patented internal gutter system with weeps. The SkyFloor Series 2000 includes triple-insulated glass with a low-E coating, and a mechanical glass hold-down to re-strict uplift pressures. A fully structural Insulbar thermal break and fitted EPDM setting gaskets are other features of the skylights. The system has a U-value of 0.32 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.27. Glass Flooring Systems offers more than 23 tested anti-slip textures.
19 A Simple Fix
The Simple Fix Panel Replacement Kit from SAF Fabrication enables quick replacement of a single, damaged RainScreen panel in the field, without having to remove surrounding undamaged panels. The kit works with new and existing SAF C4000 or M4000 RainScreen System Panel installations. Traditionally, when a single panel in a RainScreen building panel system became dam-aged, disassembly and removal of several adjacent wall panels is required. With the kit, a contractor only has to work with the damaged panel, saving time and jobsite complications.
20 More Than 45 Colors
Petersen Aluminum Corporation’s complete line of PAC-CLAD products is offered in more than 45 colors. Products include column covers, corrugated panels, metal composite panels, metal plate panels and custom heavy-gauge fabrication. Headquartered in Chicago, Petersen maintains full production facilities in Maryland, Texas, Arizona and Georgia, plus a regional sales office in Minnesota.
21 Light the Way
The new Lumenpod 28 from Wagner is designed for pathway illumination. It’s available in symmetric and asymmetric output versions and is produced using the latest LED technology and manufacturing techniques.
Lumenpod 28 is a high-performance, compact, point-source LED luminaire designed specifically for handrail and guardrail applications. It is ideal for stairs, ramps and site navigation with features and options to address variable widths, curves and elevation changes, and is now available in specific optical packages.
The environmentally friendly Wild-life Amber output option is available for projects near protected coastal wildlife areas. Wagner received an official certification from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which monitors activities involving marine turtles in Florida under authority granted to the state through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
22 The Right Sliding Door Roller
Strybuc’s Sliding Door Roller Assembly Identification Selector helps customers find the sliding door roller they are looking for. It’s available in counter-top and floor model versions. Each display has a variety of patio door rollers as well as multiple wheel choices. Both models come complete with assembly instructions and a sign and spinning display. Each roller assembly is individually labeled with the company’s part number for easy ordering.
23 Enhancing Energy Efficiency
PRL has added a new thermal break design feature on its Max Multi Sliders, which makes its high-performing aluminum sliding doors energy-efficient. Fabricated with heavy aluminum extrusion and low-E tempered insulating glass, the Max Sliders are strong, durable and provide air and sound insulation. The new thermal break extrusion provides two new advantages: it enhances the door’s capacity to keep extreme temperatures outside and allows PRL to offer differing finishes inside and out, according to the company.
24 Easy Rider
F. Barkow Inc. has introduced the Easy Rider, designed to help load and unload glass onto an interior rack. The roller attaches to an existing or new interior rack with all stain-less steel hardware for extra strength. The 9-inch polyurethane-coated steel roller is abrasion-resistant, and the quiet-rolling precision bearings are maintenance free.
Shower Door Systems
25 Convenient Entry
The Verona Series Bypass Shower Door System by US Horizon combines contemporary aesthetics with highly functional features such as a unique, 73-inch “I Beam” header that enhances stability and durability. The header also offers door height adjustment for precise alignment. The system’s double bypass configuration allows convenient entry from the left or right side.
The Verona Series features two stainless steel hangers—four rollers total—per door that offer smooth operation. The sliding doors use minimal hard-ware to produce clear all-glass visuals. The system is compatible with 5/16-inch or 3/8-inch monolithic tempered glass.
26 Less Metal, More Glass
The new Titan series Phantom from 310 Tempering was developed to meet the ever-growing demand for less metal, more glass. The company first introduced a double rectangle bar that structurally carries the load of two panels with no deflection. The only issue was that it started reverting back to the “big metal” look. The company decided to create a similar designed header, but with tempered and laminated glass instead of metal. The outcome is the company’s first-ever patented design, the Phantom.
27 This is Sparta
CGI, a brand of PGT Innovations, offers an expanded option for impact-resistant windows. CGI’s Sparta line provides non-stop protection from hurricanes and extreme weather without the burden of cumbersome plywood or shutters. Sparta Series products are de-signed specifically for South Florida with a 2-inch depth and laminated glass only. The 2-inch depth is thin and allows for easy installation in both new construction and retrofit markets where removal of existing windows and substrate material can be cumbersome. Less frame and sash material and laminated glass only allow for a lightweight product for easier trans-port and install. The optimized design pressure allows for a minimum amount of installation anchors. Also, less material allows for reduced costs.
28 Old Feel and New Performance
Winco Window Company’s 3250 Series historic steel replica windows make replicating the historic look of buildings in coastal areas a breeze. Capable of withstanding up to 200-mph hurricane winds, Winco’s 3250 Series steel replica windows are hurricane-impact tested to meet AAMA certification criteria, as well as cost efficiency, energy conservation and property protection. For hospitals, schools, shelters and public buildings where performance is mandatory and aesthetics are important, Winco’s 3250 Series steel replica windows provide the look and feel of old with the strength and hurricane performance of new.
29 Streak-Free Shine
Spray-X has introduced two new sizes to its product line-up: the 15-ounce and 10-ounce foaming glass cleaner. Spray-X is non-ammoniated, so it’s safe on plastics and window tint. The new sizes include the ability to spray in any position, resulting in a crystal clear, streak-free shine, according to the company.
Personal Protective Equipment
30 No Marks
Banom’s Stikless gloves are designed to not leave any marks on glass. Butyl caulk will not stick to them, and they were tested on ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 at cut level A4. According to the company, the gloves are ideal for making insulating windows and handling raw sheet glass.
31 Achieve Any Color
Fenzi North America recently introduced Aquaglass NG.X, a revamped version of its one-component decorative paint. The product is designed and developed for the decoration of large sheets as well as custom sizes of glass with an endless series of colors and customizable effects. It is ideal for contemporary design and decor in the furniture industry, kitchens, bathrooms or decorative office applications, according to the company.
Aquaglass NG.X paints are applied using different techniques (spray, roller and curtain coating) to optimize investments and productivity.
It ensures adhesion to the glass surface, heightened chemical resistance, improved mechanical properties of the painted film and coating power. www.fenzi-na.com
32 Sit Under the Skyshade
Engineered for long spans, high winds and snow loading conditions, Exterior Technologies Inc. (EXTECH) has introduced the Skyshade 8000 standing seam canopy system. It is suited for commercial and industrial canopies, pavilions and walkway covers. The aluminum-framed system’s patented design offers continuous mullions that rigidly clamp translucent, structural cellular polycarbonate glazing (CPG) panels. The system’s translucent, continuous runs provide daylighting, UV screening and impact resistance. It also withstands extreme windloads, which allows it to be used in hurricane-prone areas. The canopy’s long panels – up to 54 feet – also eliminate the need for horizontal interruptions in the glazing.Optional coatings for the glazing panels enhance solar heat gain management and diffuse lighting without glare. It can accommodate slopes as low as 2:12. Skyshade 8000 meets loads in excess of 160 psf at 8-foot spans. Its rafters manage water with an internal guttering system and have been tested per ASTM E-331 to 12 psf. The rafter-to-panel connections successfully passed large missile impact per ASTM E1996 and E1886 protocols, as well as Florida Test Protocols for High-Velocity Hurricane Zones per Testing Application Standard (TAS) 201 and 203 to 8-foot spans.
33 Stronger Glass
MetaShield’s patent-pending MetaShieldGlass coating has been shown to significantly increase the impact-resistance of both tempered and untempered aluminosilicate glass in independent testing. The results were achieved using a coating thickness of approximately 90 micrometers.
In a series of dynamic impact tests performed by Intertek, it increased the impact resistance of both tempered and untempered aluminosilicate glass.
In a series of “drop-ball” tests, the coating improved break resistance 83 percent in blunt impacts and 100 percent in sharp impacts on 0.55-mm untempered glass coated with MetaShieldGLASS. It is transparent, thin and simple to apply, according to the company.
34 Bird-Friendly and a VIG
Guardian has three new glass products: Guardian SunGuard SNX-L 62/34 HT, Guardian Bird1st UV and Guardian Vacuum Insulating Glass (VIG). Guardian SunGuard SNX-L 62/34 HT coated glass combines triple-silver low-E technology with frit patterns to mitigate bird collisions. Guardian Bird1st UV coatings will soon be available, and can be combined with SunGuard coated glass. The Bird1st glass coatings work with laminated glass to break up the reflectivity, allowing the glass to be more visible to birds, but very subtle to the human eye.
Guardian’s bird-friendly solution incorporates a frit pattern with Sun-Guard SNX-L 62/34 coated glass to de-liver the solar control architects expect from SunGuard coated glass.
Using a vacuum between two panes of glass that prevents heat from escaping to the outside, Guardian VIG is designed to insulate like a wall. The product provides transformative thermal insulation with an R-value of up to 12 for 8-mm thickness, com-pared to single-pane glass at R-1. Because Guardian VIG uses tempered glass, the product is suitable for use in commercial buildings. VIG performance is enhanced by pairing with Guardian SunGuard coated glass to create a hybrid, low-E VIG glass product that delivers the light transmission, reflectivity and color they need for new construction or retrofits.
35 Affording Clarity
Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) will introduce Acuity low-iron glass in September. Customers can pre-order sample kits for the product on the company’s website now. Acuity glass is engineered as an affordable complement to Starphire Ultra-Clear glass in the Vitro Glass family of low-iron glasses. The glass is designed to eliminate the green cast inherent to conventional clear glass to create a clearer aesthetic without compromising project budgets or energy performance, according to the company.Acuity glass can be ordered through Vitro Certified Network members with Solarban 60, Solarban 67, Solarban 72, Solarban 90 and Solarban R100 solar control low-E coatings. It is also avail-able in 6-mm thickness for monolithic spandrel glass applications and can be paired with a low-E coated lite in an insulating glass unit.
36 Safer Schools
As school officials across the country look for ways to improve safety and security in their facilities, glass fabricator Global Security Glazing is working to educate them about the capabilities of specialized glazing solutions, such as Childgard security glazing. Childgard glazing is a laminated security glass construction that’s designed for use in school and educational facilities to withstand forced-entry scenarios. Available for both new and retrofit applications, Childgard glazing can be used in insulating glass units and paired with high-performance, tinted and other glass options to meet safety, energy and other design goals. It is designed to withstand an extensive physical attack in a forced-entry scenario.
Drones Use Is on the Rise
Drones area powerful tool for the glass and glazing industry. Drones equipped with high definition cameras can gather information about the jobsite to help plan and analyze an installation to ensure the work is done correctly without the need for costly fixes. It is also helpful in assessing project status and estimating.
Glass and glazing companies are helping to lead drone use among companies with revenues of $50 million or more according to a report by Blue Research on behalf of Skyward.
The 2018 State of Commercial Drone Use Report focuses on how companies use and adopt drones and potential return on investments (ROI) across all commercial industries.
The companies surveyed for the report said they are using drones to capture more information, be more efficient and save time.
According to the report, 10 percent of Companies that Plan to companies are already using drones. Another 2 percent plan to start using drones before the end of 2018 and another 7 percent plan to use drones in the future. Drone use could grow from 10 to 19 percent among large companies.
Adoption was the highest in the construction and engineering industries, with 35 percent of companies using drones. Only 6 percent of manufacturing companies use drones.
Close to 40 percent of companies outsource their drone program with a fifth outsourcing with respect to flights, 16 percent outsourcing the data processing and nearly a quarter of respondents outsourcing data analysis. Sixty-three percent are not outsourcing any of these activities.
The amount of time to see a positive ROI was a year or less for 88 percent of companies. Of large companies already using drones, 46 percent reported that their bottom line would suffer if drones were taken away.
Almost all the companies said that drones allow them to capture more information, save time and increase efficiency. Seventy-five percent of companies said drones allow them to increase worker safety and 71 percent said they have gained a competitive advantage.
Karas & Karas Glass C0. in Boston uses drones to update an owner or general contractor on the status of a job. Currently, the company rents a drone from a professional service.
“Instead of a photo, we can send an aerial video,” says Joe Karas, president and owner, who adds that drones could be used for laser measuring in the future.
Merle Glaser, lntegro Building Systems’ vice president of sales, believes drones have a bright future. At both lntegro and in the industry, he sees them being used for installation inspection and virtual tours.
“Imagine being able to inspect the exterior of the building without staff actually having to go up the outside of the building,” he says. “This tool will offer excellent efficiency, helping to hold down costs.”
The key challenges of implementing a drone program are staying up-to-date on laws and regulations. ensuring internal policies/procedures are followed and obtaining access to controlled airspace quickly.
3-D Printing Evolves Beyond Prototypes
3-D printing is changing the way glass companies develop and create products. This evolving technology allows companies to test their product ideas quickly and cost effectively.
At EDTM, an inspection tools company, 3-D printing isn’t just used for research and development purposes. The company uses it to create production-ready parts in products sold to customers.
“The cost per part dropped substanstially from $25 a piece for one part to 25 or 30 cents. And it’s a better part,” says Mark Imbrock, vice president. “The major cost of 3-D printing is maintenance.”
According to Imbrock, 3-D printers can print configurations that can’t be manufactured any other way.
“There’s tons of variability. Almost every one of our products has a 3-D printed part in it,” he says.
The printer is also a game changer for creating prototypes. Companies can print, tweak and print another iteration of a design all in the same day, rather than waiting for the prototype to be made elsewhere and delivered.
“Before, you had to take your best shot with a drawing and hope you got it right,” says Imbrock. “That’s the beauty of 3-D printing. You can make sure you have the drawings right. It allows for more trial and error and risk-taking with elaborate designs. You don’t have to be so particular with your design approach.”
Crystal Window & Door Systems uses 3-D printing solely for product development, especially of custom components. The company bought its first machine around eight years ago and considers itself to be an early adopter of the technology.
“It’s helped the company to expand its markets,” says Bob Nyman, executive consultant at Crystal. “We work directly with architects to do mock-ups and models of designs. We use it every day and should be acquiring more printers.”
Nyman cites cost reduction and ease of use as a major advantage of the technology, though he says it requires a dedicated staff to use effectively.
“Between glass and metal fabricators and manufacturers, it’s already widespread in the industry,” he says.
EDTM started 3-D printing six or seven years ago. The company currently owns three printers. Imbrock is always watching the market and evaluated the progress in materials, which he calls the key to the technology.
Once the market is able to create temperature-stable and resistant materials for use in 3-D printing, Imbrock expects to use the method more often.
“We might see temperatures from 20 below to 160 degrees in a vehicle in the summer. Whatever materials we use need to cover that temperature range,” he says.
According to Imbrock, high-precision materials aren’t as temperature-stable, which isn’t an issue when creating prototypes, but could be an issue for parts used in the field.
“Some equipment in the six-figures range can print up to 1/100,000-inch accuracy, but they’re still developing the materials used in these printers to be temperature-stable,” he says.
Nyman says that material science development is required for 3-D printing to grow in the industry.
“It could be possible to print a vinyl or metal window,” he says. “It could revolutionize the manufacturing process.”
Imbrock expects EDTM to print the majority of its enclosures with 3-D printing in the next five to ten years as the technology evolves.
Eventually, printing with metal could be a viable way to create door hardware or other extrusions rather than just design concepts. Concrete is already being used by some companies. There has also been experimentation with 3-D printing and glass. Imbrock, though, is concerned about the melting points needed for this.
According to the Smithsonian, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany used powered glass suspended in a liquid polymer to print small objects that are then placed in a high-temperature oven to burn the polymer away and fuse the glass particles.
However, the materials used for 3-D printing need to be developed further before manufacturers are able to print architectural glass lites.
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