As children, our parents asked us, “So what did you learn in school today?” Math, history, science, literature, grammar; each day was a new lesson and each day we had a new fact or figure about which to tell our parents. Just because we’re now adults, that doesn’t mean we stop learning. We should never stop learning—learning is what keeps us going, keeps us productive, keeps us striving to do better. Today I had the opportunity to learn more about a glass industry company, products, building codes and trends. I’m in Snoqualmie, Wash., home of Technical Glass Products (TGP), and I have to admit the visit has been a great opportunity for education; not just about the company, but design trends and changes as well. Here’s a quick look at some of the learning highlights.
1. TGP’s offices are not like any office in which I have seen before—glass industry or otherwise. The floor plan is very bright and open and many of the company’s products, from steel curtainwall to the Pilkington Profilit line, are in use throughout the building, which is LEED Gold Certified. Even in the production area, I noticed the Profilit in use. This helps bring in an abundance of natural light. The company has embraced the idea that by making employees comfortable in their work environment they will, in turn, be more efficient and productive.
2. The production floor has to be one of the cleanest facilities I’ve ever seen; this is something, Jeff Razwick, TGP president, told me in which they take great pride. Also, the offices on the production level are all glass enclosed, so they are open and almost a part of what’s taking place in the facility.
3. You may or may not know it, but traditional wired glass is still in use today—though most often a special safety film is applied. One other detail that was interesting: though the 2006 IBC banned the use of wired glass in hazardous locations, the city of Chicago is not enforcing this code. That’s right, traditional wired glass can still legally be used in Chicago.
4. Ceramic glass fire-rated products are not really glass—they are clear ceramic. No float line; no molten tin bath. These fire-rated products are ceramic (like the bowls you may have made once in an art glass) that are crystalized and baked so they are ultimately unaffected by heat.
5. One other product that TGP fabricates and distributes is lead glass for use in x-ray shielding applications. It is 57-percent lead, which makes it heavy.
6. While you may think of TGP as a fire-rated glass supplier, the company is also focused on serving the various architectural design needs. In fact, the company offers a steel curtainwall system, which allows architects to design with tall spans and thin profiles. Not only that, it can accommodate glazing infills up to 3 inches. So, for example, as the desire for, say, triple glazing increases, it could work well in a steel frame, given the higher weight of a triple-glazed unit compared to one that is double-glazed.
I hope that you take the time to go out and learn something new today, glass related or not. Once you do, take a minute and post a comment to tell me about what you learned. Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.