Strategic Initiatives: Research Efforts to Advance and Improve the Industry

By Margaret Webb

Prior to 2013, IGMA conducted industry research with funds provided from operations. Advancing new technologies and conducting leading-edge research is one of this association’s prime strategic initiatives, and our board of directors implemented a small annual fee of $200 from each manufacturer and supplier member to support our R&D
activities. These funds are managed by the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Committee with approval from the IGMA board of directors.

Past research activities included validation of the spark emission spectrograph (GasGlass), which allows manufacturers to certify their products for gas content in a non-destructive
manner. In addition, the 25 Year Field Correlation Study was completed at the 25 year mark, and the Gas Permeability Study, among a host of smaller projects, was also supported by R&D funds.

Over the past few years, IGMA funded the research to develop the models for thermal stress in insulating glass to the tune of $75,000. This research has been completed and a draft ASTM standard for thermal stress in insulating glass units is under development. Lynn Beason, Michael Brackin and Bill Lingnell are developing a software in conjunction with the standard that will be available as a benefit to all IGMA members.

Currently, we have three major R&D projects in the works. These include
the Field Correlation Study to ASTM E 2190, as well as identifying the causes
and consequences of excess pressure exerted on the edge of an insulating
glass unit when installed in fenestration systems. In addition, IGMA financially supports the Rapid Assessment Chamber (RAC) headed by the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC).

Field Correlation Study

The Field Correlation Study to ASTM E 2190 is similar to the 25-Year Field Correlation Study in that we are determining whether the ASTM E 2190 standard simulates actual field performance. However, in this round we are examining the field performance of both air and gas filled insulating glass units. The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued September 2018 and we received four bid responses. The task group currently is clarifying some of the parameters of the bidders’ understanding of the racking system and anticipates that the study will kick off by mid-summer 2019.

Edge Pressure

The edge pressure project is complex. It originated from the increase in glass breakage in the field as well as the effect on the primary sealant. Current industry practice dictates a 4 to10 per linear inch (PLI). IGMA is investigating whether the edge pressure range is still
valid, including if the lower value of 4 PLI is appropriate for all glazing systems. We are also investigating whether the edge pressure required for air, water, structural performance exceeds the maximum allowed IGU edge pressure and the variation of resistance to edge seal pressure of different spacer and sealant systems. A fixture has been developed and we have received bids on building it. The work to validate the test fixture is complex and will require a full-time individual to undertake this work, well beyond the scope of our volunteers. Due to the complexity and length of time this project will take,
the task group is looking to collaborate with a university graduate student (similar to what IGMA did for the thermal stress modeling). The RFP for this is being drafted and should be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Rapid Assessment Chamber

The primary party responsible for the RAC is IGCC/AMS. The development of this chamber originated with the work of the Advanced Fenestration Testing task group, which investigated three similar but different test methodologies. This task group is now working jointly with IGCC. A prototype was developed, has been modified and is back up and running. We hope to have some data available at the upcoming IGCC meeting in Tampa, Fla., taking place May 7-8.

IGMA continues to look forward and explore new avenues in technology to support the IG manufacturing industry and to improve our processes. As part of IGMA’s commitment to our members and the industry at large, we look for opportunities to proactively support quality manufacturing through our research and development activities. It is a strong component of IGMA’s return on investment for our members.

Margaret Webb is the executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance with offices based in Chicago and Ottawa, Ontario.

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