Volume 36, Issue 7, July 2001



                            latest news developments

Pilkington Announces Self-Cleaning Glass Available in the United States

Surrounded by 43,600 windows—600,000 square feet of glass—at Windows on the World restaurant in the New York City World Trade Center, Pilkington North America announced Tuesday, June 26 that it is now developing, producing and shipping its new Activ™ self-cleaning glass in the United States.

Activ uses a proprietary mixture of chemical precursor materials and a proprietary chemical vapor deposition to form a pyrolytic coating, and uses a two-part process to clean glass. First, it must be exposed to the sun’s ultra-violet rays for several days, which breaks down organic dirt through a continuous and gradual photocatalytic effect. Second, the integrated coating reduces the surface tension of water on the glass surface, which is known as a hydrophilic effect. In this step, water sheets on the surface, preventing the formation of separate droplets and ensuring loose dirt and particles wash away with rain.

Ultra-violet rays, however, must be able to penetrate through the dirt particles to work. In other words, Activ does not work on large clumps of mud or other heavy matter. Pilkington adds for very dry areas that receive little rain Activ windows can be sprayed with a garden hose from top to bottom to carry out the cleaning process. 

Activ must be placed on the outside glass lite, and can be tempered, laminated, insulated and cut through standard float techniques. No edge deletion is required. And, while Pilkington officials say it is possible to combine Activ with other coatings, they must be placed on inboard lites. “Other coatings can be used with Activ, but must be placed on the second, third or fourth surface,” said director of marketing Jim Gildea. “While low-E works equally well [on an inboard lite], any reflective or solar control coating works better the closer it is to the sun.” So long as it’s not applied on the Activ side, window film can also be used.

Activ has been in research and development stages for almost four years, and was introduced on a test basis in homes in Ireland earlier this year, and later branched out to include homes in Austria. Gildea said since the press conference Pilkington has already received orders for Activ.

Extra care is necessary when handling Activ glass, and excessive contact with the coated surface should be avoided. Pilkington advises handlers to wear clean gloves and to be cautious to not contaminate its surface with cutting oils or fingerprints after it has been cleaned. Hand-cleaning after installation or to remove the accumulation of dust or fingerprints can be done with common household 

products such as Windex®. If spot cleaning is necessary to remove markings caused by waxy materials, Pilkington says products such as Acetone can be used. But adds, however, after being cleaned with detergents may need the sun’s exposure for several days to break down detergent residue fully and re-activate. In addition, Gildea says scratch removal systems should not be used. Since Activ looks like clear glass, a scratch wouldn’t be very noticeable, he said.

Eight window manufacturers and glass fabricators currently are carrying Activ, and the product is scheduled to be widely available later this year. Current Activ customers are: J.E. Berkowitz L.P. of Westville, N.J.; Champion Window Mfg. Co., Cincinnati; Downey Glass, Los Angeles; Floral Glass, Hauppage, N.Y.; Hartung Glass Industries, Tukwila, Wash.; Hoffer Glass FAB, Schofield, Wis.; Pacetter Corp., Omaha, Neb.; and Arch Aluminum Glass Co., Kansas City, Kan. 

“We worked with those who were familiar with Pilkington … and those who were used to handling coated products and those who would progressively promote the product,” said Gildea. “We want to use this time as a test-market period, with a controlled group in terms of quantity.” 
Pilkington guarantees Activ to last ten years, but tests indicate the product will last longer. The cost of Activ windows is estimated to be about 20 percent more than those with standard, clear glass.

Oldcastle Purchases Assets of S&S Glass Specialties

Oldcastle Glass Group based in Santa Monica, Calif., purchased selected operating assets of Wauseon, Ohio-based S&S Glass Specialties at the end of June. “We are committed to acquisitive growth, and this investment will expand our tempering and insulating glass manufacturing capacities,” said Ted Hathaway, chief executive officer. He added that S&S will become part of Oldcastle Glass Group’s Tempglass operation and will operate as a satellite manufacturing facility.

At press time S&S was unavailable for comment. 


Arch Aluminum Acquires Assets of D&S Insulated Glass

Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. has announced that it has completed the acquisition of certain assets of the former D&S Insulated Glass in Dallas, including two custom tempering furnaces and an insulating glass line. Arch Tempered Glass Products will begin supplying tempered glass and insulated glass units in the North Texas and Oklahoma markets on August 13, 2001.

“We are very excited to enter the Dallas area with this acquisition. This action fits well in our North American strategic growth plan,” said chief executive officer Leon Silverstein. “We have already begun investing in additional new equipment to complement the assets acquired from D&S. These include a new polish/miter edger, a laser hole drill, CNC cutting table, spandrel line and a new fleet of trucks.”

When Arch Tempered Glass Products of Dallas opens, Arch will operate 15 tempering furnaces, 12 insulating glass plants, three mirror plants, two laminated glass facilities, 11 architectural aluminum fabrication operations and an aluminum powder coat plant.

Carolina Mirror Sells Mirror Distribution Business to Gardner

Carolina Mirror Co. LLC of North Wilkesboro, N.C., has agreed to sell its mirror distribution business to Gardner Glass Products, also of North Wilkesboro. Carolina Mirror will continue to operate its decorative business, which includes decorative mirrors and framed artwork, its decorative hospitality contract business and its fabrication business. The purchase agreement was signed June 28. 

According to senior management from Gardner and Carolina Mirror, “the acquisition makes a lot of sense for both parties since the two companies have different core strengths and marketing strategies. This transaction enables both to focus upon their respective goals and direction. In addition, there are substantial manufacturing efficiencies to be gained due to the acquisition and as a result, both companies will be strengthened.” 

In addition, Gardner added that John Matthews, vice president of Carolina Mirror, will be working with Gardner to help ensure a successful transition. “John Matthews has a wealth of knowledge, experience and relationships in this industry,” said Gardner flat glass sales vice president John Myers. “He is highly respected in the marketplace and I look forward to working with him,” he added.



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