Volume 40,   Issue 7                                  July 2005

GANA Holds Glass Fab and Contract Glazing
Educational Conferences in Las Vegas
by Ellen Girard Chilcoat

The Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Glass Fabrication 2005: Insulating, Laminating and Tempering Educational Seminars (Glass Fab) and its Contract Glazing Educational Conference are two events designed to educate not only those relatively new to the industry, but also those who may just need a refresher. The event took place April 11-13, 2005, followed by the Contract Glazing Conference April 14-16. Both meetings were held at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

More than half of the 130 attendees were attending Glass Fab for the first time.

“That’s what these programs are about—to get those first-timers here,” said Dow Corning’s Bill O’Brien who also serves as GANA’s insulating division educational committee chair. “Most people here have fewer than five years experience in the industry and that’s who we’re trying to reach with this conference.” 

Glass Fab began with a series of educational presentations that covered a wide range of topics. The afternoon consisted of three breakout sessions—insulating, laminating and tempering. 

Inside the Plant
The day’s first presentation came from Scott Hoover of Pilkington North America who talked about the float glass technology. Hoover provided an overview of the history of glass. 

“Glass dates back to 5000 B.C. when ‘natural glass’ was discovered,” he said. He also discussed glass manufacturing processes of plate glass and sheet glass that led to the invention of the float glass technology in 1952 (it was announced to the public in 1959) by Sir Alistair Pilkington. 

Next, Chuck Beatty of Edgeworks talked about automated glass cutting and edging. His presentation covered types of cutting wheels and which ones are appropriate for different types of glass and thicknesses. 

“If you try to cut thick glass with a sharp angle wheel you have to push harder through the fissure and you could destroy the glass,” he said. “So the wheel you choose is important.”

Cardinal Glass Corp.’s Jeff Haberer provided an overview of how to handle coated glass. His presentation discussed how to determine the side upon which the glass is coated and the importance of always keeping the coated side up. He advised the use of an audit sheet to help ensure coated glass is kept clean.

Bob Lang of Billco followed with a presentation on glass washers. Lang explained there are different procedures when it comes to cleaning different types of glass.

“Cleaning low-E needs a different approach and commitment compared to clear glass,” he said. Cleanliness, he explained is critical. Advice he gave included cleaning the washer once a week, keeping the drying system clean, washing the glass within two hours of cutting and reducing water consumption through a re-circulating system.

A Specific Need
Whether attendees worked on an insulating glass (IG), laminating or tempering line, breakout sessions provided an opportunity for them to learn about their respective area of business. 

The insulating glass session covered topics that included coatings used in IG, spacers, desiccants and gas filling.

In the laminating session attendees learned about quality control procedures, pre-pressing and autoclaving, laminated glass troubleshooting, UV curable glass laminates and glass clad polycarbonates.

For the temperers, topics included glass handling, convection tempering, ceramic rollers and the always-popular “Analyzing Glass Tempering Concepts” from Stan Joehlin of S.W. Joehlin Inc.

It’s Twisted
In his presentation (a two-parter, which concluded the following day), Joehlin explained “what’s going on in the tempering furnace.” 

He talked about the differences in tension and compression, glass stress and glass strain.

“Any time you put glass in the furnace it is stressed,” he said. Stressing the glass is significant to the tempering process to ensure it can withstand impact.

He explained that glass is very strong when compressed and very weak in tension, adding that the reason for glass failure is due to micro cracks in the surface. When glass is compressed (squeezed), he said, the micro cracks are squeezed closed and do not fail.

“But when you put a tension or stressing force on the glass the micro cracks are opened and the failure occurs at the weakest point,” said Joehlin. 

On the second day of his presentation, Joehlin brought in glass samples that were heated to different temperatures. Through this demonstration he was able to show how glass can bow and warp at different temperatures.

Lessons to Learn
On day two, attendees continued their educational journey with additional presentations and discussions.

Valerie Block of DuPont gave an update on codes and standards, providing an explanation of the differences in codes, standards and federal regulations.

Chris Dolan of Guardian next talked about glass coatings. Different types of coatings he discussed included reflectives, hybrids and low irons. 

He also covered trends in the marketplace.

“The commercial use of sputter-coated low-E has increased every year since 1997,” he said. “Even with the commercial market being down, that market growth continued.”

Dolan said the growth was driven by the energy codes. He added that the use of pyrolytic reflective coatings had been relatively flat over the past few years and that the reflective solar market has continued to decline. 

Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia and Sara Theis of Viracon spoke next about North American laminated glass trends. 

“In 2001 laminated glass had a 12 million square feet market penetration. By 2007 we are expecting [that number to be] 22 million square feet. The market is expected to almost double in six years,” said Schimmelpenningh.

Theis focused on energy efficiency in her portion of the presentation, including warm edge technology. 

“Warm edge is the lower the edge of glass U-value, not the overall center of glass,” she said. “Warm edge is more regionally driven [to areas where] condensation concerns are higher.”

She also talked about the growing trend toward green buildings and LEED certification.

She explained that one way companies can earn LEED credits is through specifying at least 20 percent of the building materials from within 500 miles of the jobsite.

The final general session presentation was by Tim Widner of Republic Windows and Doors who talked about time studies and efficiency planning in glass fabrication.

He talked about his company’s shift toward a “lean” production process and how it benefited everyone involved in the operations, including supervisors, plant managers and line employees, as well as customers and suppliers—the entire supply chain.

The Project Manager’s Scene
The day after Glass Fab wrapped, a new batch of glass professionals came to Vegas. This time it was for GANA’s Contract Glazing Educational Conference. Nearly 70 attendees took part in the event.

Day one began with a tour of nearby Desert Glass Products, which has been in operation since 2003. Companies were able to see tempering and manual IG production, as well as different cutting and edging operations. 

The following morning Steve Barber of Arcadia Products welcomed the crowd with words of encouragement. 

“You can make a difference [in your operations] by being here,” he said. “This meeting does not conform to the ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ ad campaign. You’re supposed to bring what you learn here home with you.”

Being Professional
Mike McArdle of Tepco Contract Glazing was the day’s first speaker. He spoke about professionalism in the construction industry.

“It’s a common thread in everything we do,” he said. “How to be the best in class, and not just professional.”

His advice to become the best in class: stay cutting edge.

“Get to know the clients and the key decision makers; never make assumptions; and communicate. Everything has something to do with communication.”

Bill Koffel of Koffel Associates followed with a codes update. He talked about some of the changes in the current International Building Code (IBC). Concerning the use of wired glass, for example, Koffel explained that both the 2003 IBC and NFPA 5000 restricted the use of wired glass in educational occupancies and athletic facilities. Proposition S85, which was recently balloted for the 2006 IBC, expands the restriction to all occupancies in hazardous locations by eliminating the reference to ANSI Z97.1

Koffel next moderated a fire-rated glazing panel discussion. Panelists were Scott Foote of Interedge Technologies (now part of AFG Industries), Aaron Jackson of Technical Glass Products (TGP), Bill O’Keeffe of SAFTI and Gratten Williams with Oldcastle Glass (note: Williams is with C.G.I. of the United Kingdom. Oldcastle Glass distributes the company’s Pyroshield product in the United States). Each panelist began by providing a brief introduction of their company and the types of products they offer. Attendees were then allowed to ask questions. One area they were interested in was types of education being provided to architects on fire-rated glass.

“It’s a slow process getting to the architects,” said O’Keeffe. “Fire-rated glass is a relatively new industry and it takes a while to get out there and inform them.” One way companies are educating architects is through AIA-accredited presentations. Jackson said that last year TGP visited more than 9,000 architects with their AIA presentation.

That afternoon an open discussion forum took place, providing an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues and concerns. Some of the areas covered included project start up and planning and documentation. 

Focus on Quality
Mike McArdle again began the last morning’s discussions. This time he focused on job quality.

“Quality in our products is very important,” he said. “We have to plan quality into our work.” He explained that quality in any job has to begin with management. “Management establishes worthwhile objectives, and quality is fulfillment of these expectations.”

Metal and Glazing
Bruce Olszewski of Alcan Composites USA gave a presentation about composite panel interfaces, and talked about how such products can interface with glass.

“Aluminum composite materials allow the design community to be very creative,” he said.

“It’s very flexible.”

Mike Dalquist of Spider, a division of SafeWorks, gave a presentation about safety equipment. Advice he offered included making sure the suspension point is stronger than the hoist motor, keeping workers tied off until they are on a safe platform, conducting daily inspections of fall protection and protecting safety lines from abrasions.

“Circumstances always change on a job, so plan in advance,” he said.

The day’s three final presentations all focused on glass and ways it can be energy efficient.

Tracy Rogers of Edgetech spoke on improved thermal performance for commercial glazing; Don McCann of Viracon talked about how energy codes are driving many of the glazing trends; and Greg McKenna of Kawneer discussed thermal performance of wall systems.

Overall, the meeting was a positive one for attendees. First-time attendee Andy Robinson with City Glass Co. in Colorado Springs, Colo., said it was very informative and that he learned a lot.

“One of the topics I was interested in was fire-rated glazing. I really wanted to be there for the panel discussion,” said Robinson. “I definitly learned who to call with questions and would definitely attend this meeting again.” 

Need to Know More?
Glass Fab 2006 will take place April 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Plans for the Contract Glazing Educational Conference are still in the works. To learn more about the meeting or other GANA events visit www.glasswebsite.com 

Photos by Brian Pitman, GANA 

© Copyright 2005 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.