Volume 42, Issue 9 - September 2007

Company News        

AAMA Contributes Funds 
for Hurricane Research Equipment

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is contributing funds to support the efforts of wind engineering researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The researchers are examining wind-driven rain at structural height during hurricane landfall. Rich Walker, president and chief executive officer of AAMA, says the organization’s donation of $60,000 will go to purchasing a precipitation imaging probe (PIP), which was manufactured by Droplet Measurement Technologies. 

“Approval was expedited through AAMA’s board of directors during its National Summer Conference so that a critical measuring instrument would be in place for recording hurricanes in the 2007 season,” Walker says. 

The probe is designed to capture high-resolution measurements of rainfall intensity. Forrest Masters, Phd., assistant professor of civil and coastal engineering, will deploy the instrument on a specially designed, rugged tower, hours before a hurricane’s landfall to capture the storm’s worst conditions. Using real-time cellular and satellite uplinks, data from the PIP also will be available in real time to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologists and state and federal emergency managers. 

“Beyond the ability of a building to physically withstand hurricane winds, water intrusion through windows, doors and walls remains a recurring issue,” says John Lewis, AAMA technical director. “Although most residential and commercial buildings built to recent codes will survive structurally, rain penetration often causes significant interior damage, occupant displacement, business interruption and extensive restoration expenses.”

He adds that, “Code officials, architects and manufacturers of exterior building products are questioning the real-world effectiveness of water intrusion test standards under hurricane conditions as referenced by modern building codes.”

In addition, AAMA’s Southeast Region is developing a voluntary specification for rating the Severe Wind-Driven Rain Resistance of Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights.

“Instead of the usual pass/fail measurements, this AAMA specification applies a spectrum of pulsating pressure and rain loads and determines how well a product performs in severe wind-driven rain,” Lewis says. “The research, underway at the University of Florida, will further the value of the AAMA specification by quantifying hurricane-driven rain and its effects on residential and light commercial construction,” he adds.

Data from the PIP devices collected during this and upcoming Atlantic hurricane seasons will be used to establish a catalog of “wind-driven rain scenarios” for different storm intensities impacting various terrains. The information will be used to calibrate the rain field produced by the University of Florida’s mobile windstorm simulator to recreate hurricane-force winds and wind-driven rain at sufficient scale to test low-rise components and cladding systems. Utilizing four 700 hp Detroit Diesel engines and hydraulic drive units to power eight 54-inch vane axial fans, this apparatus will produce hurricane force winds and wind-driven rain at its 10- by 10-foot exit. Actual full-size structural mockups will be evaluated in realistic hurricane conditions, according to Lewis. www.aamanet.org

Kawneer Opens New Facility to Service California, Arizona and Nevada 
Kawneer Co. Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Ga., has opened a California distribution center that will service California, Arizona and Nevada. The facility offers Kawneer’s full line of frontline entrance and framing products, as well as order and delivery options that can help customers save time and money.

According to the company’s announcement, the order and delivery system is designed for speed and convenience, so the new distribution center can provide “store to door” service. In other words, the requested product is delivered quickly and on time, so there is no “will call” process. Customers can place their orders online or via phone; engineering support and shop drawings are also available to customers, as well as fabrication experts.

For new Kawneer customers, the center also features a streamlined credit program that enables new accounts to be set up quickly and in many cases, approved in as little as 24 hours.

“Kawneer’s California distribution center provides the people, resources and flexibility to meet the needs of glazing contractors throughout the region,” says Norris McElroy, Western region general manager. “We’re committed to serving customers across California, Arizona and Nevada by providing quality products at competitive prices, delivered quickly and on time.” www.kawneer.com

New Laminated Glass Consultancy Opens in New Jersey
Consulting company LamGlas Engineering LLC recently opened for business in Newark, N.J. Operated by Thomas J. Fitzgerald, the company is focusing on commercial lamination.

“I worked in PVB [polyvinyl butyral] at DuPont,” says Fitzgerald, who was senior technical consultant for DuPont’s glass laminating solutions business. “I helped the customers with use of the product, I increased the yield and I made sure the lamination was done correctly.” 

Fitzgerald has held manufacturing, sales and technical positions in the glass industry since 1978. He retired from DuPont on June 30, to start his new consulting business in July.

“At this point I’m just starting, but I have a couple of good leads and I know I’ll keep busy,” he says.

InterEdge Technologies Changes Name in Light of Asahi Ownership
InterEdge Technologies in Sausalito, Calif., has changed its name to AGC InterEdge Technologies. InterEdge has been a wholly owned subsidiary of AFG Glass for the past two years, involved in the fire-rated glazing market. According to the company, its name change came in response to the global unification of Asahi Glass companies across the world, which includes Asahi in Asia, Glaverbel in Europe and AFG in North America.

As a result, AFG Glass will become AGC Flat Glass North America. 

“InterEdge will continue to maintain its strong focus and position in the fire-rated glazing market with the continued backing and strength of Asahi Glass,” says Tim Andersen, manager of fire-rated glass products for AFG Industries. All fire-rated operations will be maintained at the Sausalito office. 

“The global branding strategy is to be completed by September, in conjunction with Asahi’s 100th anniversary,” says Andersen. www.firesafe-glass.com

Vitro Increases Its Ownership Stake in Vitro AFG 
In July Vitro’s subsidiary Viméxico, S.A. de C.V. (Viméxico) notified AFG Industries, Inc. (AFG) that it would be exercising its right to purchase the 50-percent stake in the Mexican joint venture Vitro AFG, S.A. de C.V. (Vitro AFG), currently owned by AFG.Vitro AFG, a 50/50 joint venture between Vimexico and AFG Industries, is a float glass manufacturer located in Mexicali, Baja Calif., México. 

The joint venture was established to supply the United States and Mexican construction markets with a wide range of flat glass products, and began operations on November 18, 2003, with a co-investment of approximately $100 million. 

Within the terms of the joint venture agreement signed in June 2001, AFG recently notified Viméxico that it wished to exercise its option to purchase Viméxico’s 50-percent stake in the joint venture company for $6 million. Viméxico, in turn, decided to exercise its right to purchase AFG’s 50-percent stake in Vitro AFG at the price offered by AFG, according to the terms of the joint venture agreement. www.vitro.com 

Viracon’s MinuteClinic Treats Employees’ Aches and Pains
Making a doctor’s appointment will become a whole lot easier for employees at Viracon, who now can visit the doctor right outside their office doors. In July, Viracon’s Owatonna, Minn., facility opened its own health center called the MinuteClinic.

According to Viracon, the MinuteClinic health care center is staffed by certified family nurse practitioners who are trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions (when clinically appropriate) for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. The health care center also offers common vaccinations, such as flu shots, tetanus, MMR and Hepatitis A and B.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to make health care more convenient and affordable for our employees and their families,” says Russ Huffer chairman and chief executive officer of Apogee, Viracon’s parent company. “Now employees can help reduce health care costs for themselves and the company by using MinuteClinic instead of the ER when it’s not an emergency.”

In addition to Viracon employees, the new clinic also will serve employees of nearby Wenger Corp. and Viracon’s sister-company, Tru Vue. www.viracon.com

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