Volume 2   Issue 2               Summer 2001

United We Stand
IGMA Comes Together for First Meeting
by Debra Levy

It would be inaccurate to call the first-ever annual convention of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) a birth—that had taken place nearly four months before the late February meeting on Sanibel Island in Florida. But if not a birth, then surely it was a christening, with two distant relatives joining together to pledge their future to the spiritual and physical well-being of their relations. 

This was the first convention-ever and the first joint meeting of the newly-combined Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada (IGMAC) and the Sealed Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association (SIGMA). It was a great success judging by all indications including attendance, enthusiasm and a commitment to the future of the insulating glass industry.

IGMA week in Sanibel began on Tuesday, February 28 with a meeting of the new association’s board of directors, followed by technical meetings in the afternoon. Even the registration desk had an air of buoyancy to it when it opened in late afternoon, as nearly 150 attendees lined up to register. A welcome reception and dinner at the Sundial Beach Resort (the site of the entire conference) opened the full program on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday began with a welcome from IGMA president Frank Caporiccio of PPG Canada, who spoke about the insulating glass industry’s desire for one unified voice throughout North America. Codes consultant William (Bill) Lingnell discussed a variety of topics, including some of the ways in which the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) work with long-term energy ratings would affect the insulating glass (IG) industry. 

“We were pretty worried that the composition of those groups working on these standards would not be representative,” said Lingnell, “but that has not been the case. It’s pretty well-balanced and insulating glass works really well through NFRC.” Lingnell says NFRC is beginning to look at how a product performs now and how it will perform in future years. “It’s not just what your energy usage is using the product today that matters,” he said, “but what will the product’s energy usage be ten years from now?” 

Lingnell also reminded his audience of something everyone in the room undoubtedly knew: that NFRC ratings continue to evolve to meet consumer demand for standardized and simple ratings. 

“The consumer wants something very simple for windows,” he said, “something like a simple number system 1-10.”He also talked about a newly-formed Comfort Subcommittee within NFRC to begin the process of reviewing and rating the comfort level of windows. 

“This group will have important implications for the gas-filling part of our industry,” said Lingnell. A report about the work of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) was also provided. Lingnell reported that AAMA has formed a glass materials council to work on issues related to glass and that the work it and SIGMA were doing on acoustics has been updated and will be available as an IGMA document. He then spoke about AAMA’s Glass Deflection Task Group and its proposal to change deflection limits. “This is a very important issue and no one really knows how it will go. There are two groups within AAMA. One wants it and one doesn’t, and it is far from settled.”

Lingnell also provided progress on an international insulating glass standard through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the work of the newly-formed Fenestration Alliance. “IGMA wants to work with major industry groups, so it is working very closely with AAMA and the Glass Association of North America (GANA),” he added.

Lingnell was followed by Dr. Hakim Elmahdy, president of IRC/NRC in Canada, who discussed his group’s work and provided an expanded explanation of the codes as they currently exist in Canada. He also talked about some of the projects upon which his group is working including the evaluation of the effect of muntin bars on the thermal performance of IG units. John Kent of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) followed Elmahday with two presentations. 

The first was an extremely detailed and cogent overview of the IG certification processes currently underway in both the United States and Canada, including their similarities and differences, administration, testing, certification and enforcement. “It is a testament to both SIGMA and IGMAC to see this new group together and to see how hard both groups are working toward harmonization,” he said.

Kent also provided a report on the Canadian General Standards Board voluntary safety glazing codes and the work of the ANSI Z97.1 committee in the United States.

A presentation by Dr. Joseph Minor, research professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla’s Graduate Center for Materials Research, was the last scheduled part of the morning session. He talked about the research that has been done on glass breakage in hurricanes. 

“We found that when a window breaks, usually something has hit it—it’s usually not a pressure issue,” he said. Minor added that there are four products that will currently meet the new hurricane-resistant standard. 

They are:

Minor also said he expects big changes to come in the hurricane provisions of the codes, starting with the new Texas hurricane codes and progressing to other states. A short series of presentations about “What’s New” in the insulating glass arena began at the conclusion of Minor’s presentation. Chris Barry of Pilkington announced some new tools now included on his company’s website at www.pilkington.com/sunmanagement

Barry said the company’s popular thermal stress calculator and windload calculators can both be accessed online) and that the Pilkington Interactive will now print information in Master Spec format. Barry was followed by Gerhardt Reichart of Edgetech I.G. who discussed a new pro-duct soon to be avail-able in the United States that measures and reports the Argon and Krypton content in insulating units in mere seconds. He also noted that his company now offers a simulated divided lite system, among other new offerings.

The day was then open to a series of social and “team-building” events including IGMA beach Olympics and an Everglades Pirate Party.

The association’s first annual meeting was held Friday. President Caporiccio complimented the members and the association management firms for IGMAC (managed by the Canadian Lumberman’s Association) and SIGMA (managed by Smith Bucklin Associates) for their work to bring both groups together. “It’s a difficult thing to do as once the merger occurred only one management company would be chosen, but both groups worked together professionally and in a cooperative spirit to get it done,” he said. 

The new association had received three bids for management services—one from CLA , one from Smith Bucklin and one from Association Services Corp., the firm managing GANA and a number of other glass-related groups. (The Canadian Lumberman’s Association was eventually chosen.)

Dr. Peter Andersen of Andersen Economic Research Ltd. provided the event’s keynote address with a detailed look at the economic forecast for both the United States and Canada. “There is no shame in erring on the side of being too cautious right now,” he said, but allowed as he did not expect a cumulative downtown in the economy, such as the one which occurred in 1990-91, to occur this time.

The afternoon brought the highly-anticipated IGMA golf tournament, which proved to be a big success. Saturday bought a series technical panel presentations. Topics included software, film, laminated glass and argon filling techniques. The day ended with a cocktail reception and awards dinner, as the first ever IGMA convention became history. 

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