IG Updates on the Horizon: Improving Quality Management for Insulating Glass Fabrication

Insulating glass (IG) is the heart and soul of an energy-efficient window, and is also essential for sound transmission control and impact resistance when configured properly. Several Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA)—now Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance (FGIA)—standards provide guidelines for the manufacturing of durable, long-term performing IG units. Several updates are coming soon in 2021. Let’s preview what those documents will offer users.

Quality Procedure Manual

IGMA TM-4000, Insulating Glass Manufacturing Quality Procedure Manual, is undergoing a major rewrite so it’s more comprehensive and user friendly. The goal is to achieve uniformity in the process between individual operators and work shifts. The new document will be in three sections:

• Manufacturing quality (calibration, process control, inspection and testing, storage and handling);
• Maintaining quality (training, quality audits and statistical techniques); and
• Aftermarket quality (glazing instructions and field service).

It includes example procedures, work instructions, forms, manufacturing recommendations and an audit checklist that an IG manufacturer can use as-is or adapt as a framework for a documented quality program.

The manual also discusses suggested formats for training personnel responsible for implementing the program, and use of statistical techniques such as control charts.

The current IGMA TM-4001, Preventing Insulating Glass Failures, is being updated for inclusion as an appendix to the new manual. This material provides IG manufacturers with best-practice recommendations for fabricating, shipping and glazing IG units, particularly techniques for glass washing and cutting, handling of components and proper use of sealants.

Cavity Pressure Compensation

A new document, slated for release in early 2021, is IGMA TM-3200, Design Considerations for IG Cavity Pressure Compensation. It addresses the problem wherein, as the IG temperature increases or barometric pressure increases, such as when the installation site elevation is higher than at the point of manufacture and the volume of gas inside the IG increases. This causes outward deflection of the glass lites. Conversely, if
the temperature decreases or the installation elevation is lower than at the point of manufacture, the volume of gas inside the IG decreases, causing inward deflection.

This technical manual will provide details for design or fabrication alternatives for cavity compensation at some point during or after fabrication, including tube insertion; post fabrication holes in the sealed cavity that are permanently sealed upon installation; pressure adjustment via desiccant absorption/desorption; pre-inflating/pre-deflating, or temperature manipulation; and a relief system. It will give advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives and offer manufacturing guidelines and workmanship considerations.

Plant Safety

Also under development is the new Do’s and Don’ts of Glass Safety, IGMA TM-5000, which recognizes that dealing with the shattering potentialities of glass mishandling is of special importance in IG fabrication.

The guidelines will include recommendations for personal protection equipment, material handling techniques and dealing with various shop floor mishaps for each operational section of the plant. This information will be presented in a format that allows it to be posted in the appropriate departments of the fabrication facility.

Marg Webb is the glass products and Canadian industry affairs director for the Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance.

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