Volume 9, Issue 5 - May 2008
Protect the View
It Doesn’t Stick
Chris Barry of Pilkington is considered by many to be the leading expert in the analysis of failed glass and failed insulating glass (IG) units. Barry was introduced during the technical presentation session at a past Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance meeting where he was scheduled to discuss adhesive failure of IG units. After being introduced, he said simply, “If it doesn’t stick, get out of town quick,” and sat down. After the laughter quieted down, he resumed his presentation covering the failure of units due to the loss of adhesion between the glass and the sealant, or between the sealant and the spacer system.
Although Barry’s quip brought laughter to the meeting, its meaning hit home for those in the room. No matter which spacer system or sealant you choose to manufacture insulating glass, if the sealant or adhesive doesn’t stick to the glass or the spacer, the unit will fail prematurely. “It doesn’t stick” or, maybe more scientifically stated, adhesive failure can be caused by poor practices in the IG department.
The insulating glass assembly area and manufacturing equipment must be cleaned on a regular basis. The rollers, conveyors and assembly stations or any surface that contacts the glass or spacer system must be free of dust, dirt or debris. Vacuums with filters and clean, lint-free rags should be used to clean the equipment. The use of air hoses and brooms should be minimal to avoid spreading airborne contaminates.
Training is Critical
The spacer systems, sealant and adhesives must be handled in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Excessive ambient exposure or surface contact by the material may reduce its adhesive capabilities and reduce the life of the insulating glass unit. Quality procedures should describe and document the requirements for storage conditions, shelf life, melt temperatures and required cure time. The adhesive test procedures defined by the product supplier must be conducted on a regular basis. These procedures should physically test for the required adhesion.
Reviewing these steps will ensure that you produce long-lasting, high-quality IG units. You won’t have to “get out of town quick” and your windows will continue to protect the view.
Mike Burk serves as product manager for Edgetech IG. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Burk’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine.