Fabricating a quality insulating glass unit (IGU) requires strict attention to a number of processes and procedures as well as quality control. Even for well-seasoned manufacturers, it’s a lot to track. Doing so doesn’t have to be difficult, as all the information required to fabricate a quality insulating glass unit successfully is available in one location.

The one-stop info source, a full binder developed by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), includes all active IGMA Technical Bulletins, Technical Reports and Technical Manuals. In the webinar, “An Introduction to the IGMA Technical Binder,” hosted by the Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA), Bill Lingnell, FGIA technical consultant of glass products, gave an overview of the important material included in the binder.

Lingnell explained that while the IGMA Technical Binder contains valuable information, the technical documents it contains are not always up-to-date with codes. He pointed out that it’s important to go to the appropriate code/regulatory body to make sure a project is in tune with current codes.

The design and development category of the binder includes the following documents:

  • Preventing Insulating Glass (IG) Failures;
  • Design Considerations for Multi-Cavity IGUs;
  • Guidelines to Reduce Thermal Stress;
  • Guidelines for Use of Capillary/Breather Tubes;
  • Guidelines for Insulating Glass Dimensional Tolerances;
  • Unsupported Edge Conditions of IGUs;
  • Technical Manual for Acoustical Glass Design;
  • Design Considerations of IGU Cavity Compensation (coming soon);
  • Voluntary Guidelines for IGU Cavity Width Tolerances; and
  • Glass Design for the Canadian Market (software program).

Lingnell highlighted TM-1500, Guidelines to Reduce Instances of Thermal Stress, which provides direction to ensure that glass and shading devices provide enough clearance to allow natural convection to prevent thermal stress breakage.

Another binder category, voluntary test methods for components, includes the following test methods:

  • Recommended Voluntary In-Plant Test Methods and Performance Criteria of Desiccants for Sealed Insulating Glass Units;
  • Test Methods of Insulating Glass Sealants;
  • Voluntary Test Methods & Voluntary Performance Quality Assurance Criteria for Two Component Polysulfide Sealants Used in Manufacturing Sealed Insulating Glass Units;
  • Sealant Adhesion Test;
  • Voluntary Test Methods and Voluntary Performance Quality Assurance Criteria for Spacers for Sealed Insulating Glass Units; and
  • Guidelines for the Testing of Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR) and the Presentation of the Results.

Lingnell said that while some of the test methods have been around for a while, the methodology still works. Others are new.

“A newer voluntary test method for components is TB-2700, Sealant Adhesion Test, where you have to actually break some glass and then do a test for adhesion. You need to make sure sealants actually do what manufacturers say they will do,” he explained.

The binder also includes an insulating glass manufacturing quality procedure manual, which is part of the IG Certification Program (TM-4000-02 (07), and follows the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems (QMS). This manual includes four other documents:

  • TM-4500, Quality Manual for the Fabrication of IGUs to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard;
  • TM-4510, Quality Procedures for the Fabrication of IGUs to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard;
  • TM-4515, Quality Work Instructions for the Fabrication of IGUs to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard; and
  • TM-4520, Quality Forms for the Fabrication of IGUs to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard.

“A lot of failures could have been avoided with a good quality program. For that, we have the IGMA quality procedural manual. You can even take forms out of these manuals and post them around your plant,” explained Lingnell. “That way, workers can see some of the things they have to follow to meet the standards you’re meeting when fabricating insulating glass units.”

Lingnell emphasized that quality control is so important because it can take years for a company to build a reputation but it can be lost by just one problem job.

“A lot of plants are following these guidelines very strictly and this will make their products last for a long period of time, certainly past what their warranties call for,” he added.

TM-4000 covers the quality systems manual, designating a quality assurance person, process control, inspection and testing, GCIA inspection, calibration, non-conforming products/corrective action, storage/handling, expiration dates, field service, internal quality audits, training, statistical techniques, checking for unauthorized use of certification labels, permanent labels and validated last inspection issues resolved.

Reports and SIGMAgrams in the binder include:

  • 25-Year Field Correlation Study (TR-4000);
  • Vacuum Insulating Glass (VIG) (TB-2600);
  • Language of Sealed Insulating Glass Units (TR-1400);
  • Structural Limitations of IG Units Under Uniform Loads (SGram);
  • Making a Difference In Glass Deflection/Image Distortion (SGram);
  • Exterior Condensation on IG Units (English & French) (IGMAC); and
  • Insulating Glass Manufacturing Guidelines: Important Considerations (SGram).

The IGMA Technical Binder can be purchased here.


  1. How does one procure this binder?

  2. Making triple glazed with leaded glass inside, I don’t see any ideas/rules in there for that. Any would be helpful.

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