The Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) 2024 Annual Conference hosted various industry professionals at the Omni Amelia Island Resort near Jacksonville, Florida. The three-day event ends on Feb. 22, 2024. Among the many topics covered were discussions centered on how changing demographics impact the glass industry, Building Information Modeling and the importance of surface preparation.

Demography is Destiny

Change comes in many facets for the glass and glazing industry, including changing demographics. The glass industry must realize it is tied at the hip with the population.

The U.S. population is changing, said Ken Gronbach, a demographer and president of KGC Direct. Companies also need to change and embrace diversity. It’s a significant issue because people don’t like change, but they need to, said Gronbach. The glass industry must realize it is tied at the hip with the population.

“If you’re not thinking outside of the box, you’re cooked,” said Gronbach.

Change comes in many facets for the glass and glazing industry, including changing demographics. For example, the largest housing and construction market is on the horizon. That’s because more than 170 million people under 40 need housing, said Gronbach. This will be a boon for the glass and glazing industry, but only if it can handle the expected demand.

Baby Boomers also remain a vital cog. They are aging, retiring every eight seconds. To accommodate them, more condominiums, hospitals and retirement homes are needed, said Gronbach. This means more glass and doors.

“The U.S. is about to become a nation of Floridas,” he added, referring to the many Baby Boomers moving to the Sunshine State.

The glass industry needs to be prepared.

Building Information and Modeling Explained

Dan Luoma, president of Jailen Inc., said companies in the construction industry have readily adopted Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. Jailen invested in BIM technology in 2008 after company officials learned about it at an FGIA conference.

Luoma explained that BIM has undergone several iterations, including Building Description Systems and Building Product Models. The idea of moving out of the two-dimensional (2D) realm began in the 1960s, but technology wouldn’t develop until the 1980s when rudimentary parametric software became available.

Today, BIM uses a visual programming environment to generate and simulate the construction process. Luoma said the BIM process includes pre-design, schematic design, design development and construction documents. Manufacture applications include frame profiles with 2D profiles, glass types and thickness, projection lines, or any fenestration product.

Though the technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, Luoma said storage remains an issue.

Importance of Surface Prep in Long-term Performance of Coatings and Sealants

According to Aaron Blom, a technical training specialist at FGIA, glazing surfaces must be free of moisture, dirt, grease, oil and other contaminating materials. The benefits of a properly prepared surface in a finishing line are smooth and even finishes, time and money, long-term performance and better adhesion.

Generally, edge seal failures come from poor or inadequate proofing of the glazing cavity, insufficiently sized weep or vent holes, faulty glazing techniques, and excessive edge pressure, among others.

Blom said five steps are needed for proper joint prep and sealant application during field installation: clean, prime, pack, shoot and tool. However, it’s challenging to control surfaces in the field. Dirt, dust and debris are everywhere, said Blom. There are even contaminants that you don’t see that can cause just as much harm, such as fingerprints, dirty water and frost, among others.

It’s also difficult to measure the surface quality of the product you are working with. It’s not something that a person can eyeball, said Blom. He added that many factors contribute to what seems like a common problem.

The last step of surface preparation is testing. This involves the implementation of a pre- and post-quality control system. Of course, the most essential rule is always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *