Many in the glass industry may think of nail fins as merely those annoying flaps around the edges of aluminum and vinyl windows. However, they do serve the important purpose of holding the window in place when it is installed. But transporting a window with a nail fin from the manufacturing site to a warehouse, reseller or installation site, is a different story. The nail fins can cause major packaging and shipping problems.
Anyone who has worked with glass knows that it should be transported on end. If it is shipped flat you should make sure a broom is readily available because the vibration will crack the glass into a thousand pieces. Windows are in a similar situation. If they are shipped flat the vibration from the truck often causes the glass to break inside the window frame. As with glass, windows need to be shipped on end. The problem is the nail fin gets in the way.
Imagine placing the entire weight of a window on a nail fin that is usually less than 1/8-inch thick. During transportation, the weight of the window often causes the nail fin to bend or break and makes the window unusable. The window must either be replaced, or time must be taken to attempt to bend the nail fin back into an upright position.
What can be done to protect the nail fin from bending and breaking, as well as protect the glass in the window from shattering? Typical packaging does not work. Boxes, die-cut corrugated, corrugated boots and foam blocks may give some protection to the window itself, but the initial problem still remains. When shipped, all of the weight of the window is still on the nail fin.
The best scenario for protecting and shipping a window with a nail fin is to ship the window upright, but suspend the nail fin so that all of the weight is not supported by it but by the window itself. At first, this sounds impossible, but the answer is simpleas simple as a corrugated block with a groove.
Our company, SUS-RAP Protective Packaging, a division of Menasha Corporation, recommends that its customers use grooved pads to protect windows with nail fins. Grooved pads are built-up corrugated pads that have a groove or route. Imagine a small corrugated block with a thin groove down the length of the pads. The pad is typically a few inches long and the same width as the window itself. A thin groove, the same thickness as the nail fin, is cut down the length of the pad. The groove will hold the nail fin, but it is slightly deeper than the nail fin is long. It is important that the groove be deeper to protect the nail fin. The grooved pad slides on the nail fin and the top of the pad rests against the window. Since the groove is deeper than the nail fin, the nail fin is suspended in the pad. All of the weight of the window is resting on the grooved pad. Since the pad is build-up corrugated, if there is movement during shipment the pad cushions the window, protecting the glass. Likewise, the extra space in the groove (remember the groove is deeper than the nail fin) allows for some movement and protects the nail fin from damage.
Michelle Papiernak is the marketing specialist at Menasha Corporations SUS-RAP Protective Packaging Division, located in Danville, PA.
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