Volume 9, Issue 3 - March 2008

Making the Map
IGMA Working Groups Seek Direction During 8th Annual Conference  by Megan Headley

“One thing I want to come out of this meeting with is a little direction,” said Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG during the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) 8th annual conference. While Rogers’ comment referred specifically to the Visual Quality Working Group meeting he was chairing at the time, much the same could be said for other group and committee meetings during the conference held January 28-31 at the Sundial Beach Resort in Sanibel, Fla. 

Whether considering a drastic turn for a document, introducing an old document to a fresh set of eyes or growing ever closer to completion of a long-term project, these matters had IGMA members looking in a new direction for future projects. 

For the visual quality group, it was a new twist to an old document. The June meeting had seen a motion to revise the visual quality guidelines draft document to reflect the differences between residential and commercial insulating glass (IG) units (see July/August 2007 DWM, page 56).

A “what if” document had been produced since the last meeting to show what a separate commercial document might look like.

Bob Spindler of Cardinal IG pointed out that window manufacturers present at the meeting manufacture both residential-and high to mid-rise buildings. Rogers, in fact, took an “unscientific” survey of who in the room manufactured 100 percent residential products, 100 percent nonresidential and those who produced a blend of both; hands were scarce on the first two options. The idea, presumably, was that when manufacturers produced a blend of both, the document should reflect the same. 

“Having two documents gives a wrong impression of what the glass manufacturer can and cannot produce,” Spindler said. “From an architect’s standpoint, why would you have two documents? Does that mean you can do something better for one application than another?”

Rogers suggested that the next step would be to look at where the differences lie in the document between residential and commercial visual quality. A few were pointed out in the draft document and addressed during the discussion. For example, installation was moved as a much more important qualification to the commercial product’s visual quality than residential products, since once the commercial units are installed some obstructions at the edge will no longer be visible. 

“Back to the original question … what’s the direction that we wish to take based on what we looked at here?” Rogers said at the end of the run-through.

One document, with sections that reflect differences between visual quality for residential and commercial IG units, appeared to be the consensus. The group agreed to have a revision and draft sent around for a second review.

Glazing Guidelines Working Group
The Glazing Guidelines Working Group continued its discussion on capillary tubes, but this time had a guideline in front of it. Per the June meeting, Bill Lingnell and group chair Ken Shelbourn of Truseal Technologies combined their research on closing capillary tubes to include in a guideline (see September 2007 USGlass, page 108)

Shelbourn explained the verdict on sealing tubes after their research: “If you’re going to seal a tube in the field, you crimp or snip it with wire cutters … but then put a little dab of sealant on the end of that which will give you a 100-percent seal.” Shelbourn had been charged with drafting a guideline on capillary tubes, but instead he brought to the table a guideline for use of capillary and breather tubes from the former Sealed Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (SIGMA). 

Shelbourn had made additional comments throughout the document, which the group addressed. 

With the question of closing the tubes answered, the group asked whether a note needed to be added to its document cautioning individuals not to use capillary tubes in gas-filled units. Spindler noted that it does happen that people use tubes in gas-filled units.

“The intent is that the claim cannot be made that the unit has a specific performance,” Spindler said.

“Any gas content will change if capillary or breather tubes are used,” Lingnell added.

“We’re not a group that gives permission or not,” said Chris Barry of Pilkington. “It physically can be done.” The instruction should not use capillary tubes with gas-filled units was the prevailing recommendation.

Once the capillary tubes are in, Greg Carney of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) said that it’s not unlikely that glaziers will try to take them out. “I have seen situations where they are in the way and they cut capillary tubes, altering them dramatically,” Carney said.

Section 6.0 on glazing thus gained a recommendation that capillary tubes not be shortened or removed during glazing. Rogers next brought up the joint IGMA-GANA working group and its goal of developing guidelines for use of capillary tubes. Rogers said customers are asking for guidance: “When do I use capillary tubes? What are the rules for capillary tubes?”

“It was asked that the two associations create a standardized recommendation,” Rogers said, adding, “To date we haven’t come to terms as to how.”

Webb and Carney agreed to further discuss the joint work and develop the “how.”

Gas Permeability Working Group
The gas permeability working group continued its discussion on its research project, which is growing ever closer to completion. 

“We now have the executive summary, it’s been circulated, but you haven’t seen the completed document,” said chair Bruce Virnelson of PRC DeSoto International. “That now will be the final document for that test protocol.”

This will create a test for the industry if they want to qualify and create new materials, Virnelson explained. “Again the purpose of this was to have all the testing done, same place, same time, so it’s apples to apples, and I think we’ve done this pretty well,” Virnelson said.

The group then turned to its request for proposal seeking a lab to develop a test protocol for argon permeability through IG units. To date, the group had received proposals from two different test labs, while a third lab had expressed interest and requested an extension.

Speakers from TNO and CAN-BEST were at the meeting to offer presentations on how they would conduct the tests, as well as the approximate costs of each step.

Following the big numbers, a member of the audience asked whether there was someplace else from which some of this test data could be pulled rather than seeking funding for testing. “This will be the first time it’s broken down into a small component,” Virnelson responded. “We’re pioneers.”

He explained that if the test provides good data, “then other people who want to qualify for gas fill would run this method.” The group will aim to get additional proposals in for consideration prior to the next meeting, and to have time to “really digest these proposals” made in Florida. The group plans to make a decision in time for its next meeting.

Thermal Stress Working Group
The Thermal Stress Working Group still had no responses to its survey on thermal stress breakage case studies, Webb reported. “I think some people got a little conservative,” Carney said. “If you start having problems, you don’t necessarily want to report them to others.” However, the group noted that case studies could be reported anonymously.

The group is still looking for data to proceed on its thermal stress guideline. “If you want to be a member of this committee you need to provide at least three examples,” Barry suggested. “One would be great—that would be more than we’ve got now,” said Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG and group chair. 

The group is considering how best to send out its survey. Meanwhile, the “Recommendations to Reduce Instances of Thermal Stress” technical bulletin is being sent back to the group for comments.

The next IGMA meeting will be held June 16-19, 2008, at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler, British Columbia. 

Want More News from the IGMA Meeting?
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