Volume 43, Issue 8 - August 2008

NewHeights IGMA Members

Make Progress in Whistler
by Megan Headley

If the lofty heights of the mountains in Whistler, B.C.—the faces of which Olympic athletes will ski down during the 2010 Winter Games—wasn’t enough to inspire the members of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) toward progress during their June meeting— then there was always the low twilight temperatures reminding those attendees of the importance of good insulating glass (IG) units.

Not that a reminder was necessary. Attendeesof the summer meeting quickly picked up where they had left off in January (see March 2008 USGlass, page 56) and were soon making progress on a number of items.

Visually Speaking
At the January meeting the visual quality working group had resolved to keep its visual quality guidelines document as one document that would address differences in commercial and residential visual obstructions, rather than separating it into two distinct documents addressing these variations. The document had been distributed for further review and, at this meeting one negative and several “approved with comments” were reviewed.

In explaining his negative, David Modtland of Pella Corp. said that when  he put the document to the test and actuallyapplied it, he found that the inspection distance “creates a level of confusion.” To begin with, Modtland proposed changing the inspection distance to two meters instead of three. He also said that the document still need wording stating that if an obstruction is detected at that distance, then the viewer would need to measure to see if it meets the conformance requirements.

That confusion brought the group back to the differences between inspecting residential and commercial IG units.

Cliff Monroe of Arch Aluminum and Glass commented that residential customers are far more diligent in their inspections than would be someone who worked in a commercial building—and they wouldn’t be backing up three meters to inspect. “Using that document for residential glass will create a problem,” he said.

Ultimately, though, the motion to move the inspection distance was not approved in order to keep the document similar to the language and requirements of existing standards.

Modtland also suggested that the document should not be limited to an installed IG, a suggestion that made for fruitful discussion.

Providing a guideline for manufacturers alone wouldn’t work either, the group agreed. As Ray Wakefield of Trulite Industries pointed out, some of the visual obstructions discussed in the  document, such as seal failures, wouldn’t happen in IG units right off the line, so the document would necessarily apply to manufacturers and to installed units.

This discussion naturally led into another question about whether to address uninstalled units. This question revolved around an appropriate definition of a “sightline,” and, specifically, whether the document’s definition referred to an installed IG unit’s sightline or that of a standalone unit. Ultimately the question was resolved by adding a definition for “daylight opening” as a reference to the installed units. The language for the definition was drafted quickly during the meeting to help move the document along; this language and other editorial changes were re-balloted.

Gas Permeability Group Accepts Research Proposal The gas permeability working group agreed to recommend to the board to accept CAN-BEST’s request for proposal (RFP) to develop a test protocol for argon permeability through IG units. In addition to choosing a test lab, the group also made decisions on which sealant and spacer types to study, as well as a decision to focus on 6-inch samples.

“We want a reasonable cross-section of what’s available on the marketplace,” noted chair Bruce Virnelson of PRC DeSoto International.

To show the extremes of permeability, the group decided to test a variety of sealants. The research will address warm-edge spacers and aluminum spacers in a variety of finishes and profiles.

“We’re only looking at surface chemistry,”Virnelson reminded group members as they narrowed their selections. Ultimately the research will include approximately 60 samples. All samples will be tested at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a selected number tested at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Following the board’s approval and final “tweaking” of the request for proposal, the group expects to move forward on this research.

And who will do the testing of these units? As Wakefield later told the technical services committee, “We’ll have a list of people that can help make the samples when the time comes.”

How Much Guidance Can A Glazing Guideline Give? The glazing guidelines working group, chaired by Ken Shelbourn of Truseal Technologies, looked at the early work of a joint task group between IGMA and the Glass Association of North America (GANA) toward the development of guidelines and recommended practices for capillary tubes. The goal of the joint document is to address the “when and the why” of using these tubes, noted Tracy Rogers of Edgetech, who chairs the task group.

During the summer meeting the group added categories to consider on its preliminary chart on identification of the conditions for the use of capillary tubes.

Among the categories added to the matrix were types of unit fabrication as well as packaging (glass-to-glass versus glazed). Bob Spindler of Cardinal IG noted that the committee also will have to consider seal systems and the stress level of different manufacturer spacers.

Brad Austin of Viracon pointed out that he felt the guideline still needs to offer some “direction on what to do on when it arrives to your customer.” The specific instance he brought up involved how to treat the tube that is shipped to a company that builds a unitized unit—that is then shipped to a jobsite. If the unit makes two trips before installation, when would that tube be sealed?

“We have to do some case-by-case studies,” agreed Bob Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services.

Shelbourn and Rogers stressed that the group must stop at creating only a general guideline.

“These are guidelines. The biggest focus right now is looking at all the information that’s out there and putting it under one umbrella … this isn’t a specification,” Rogers said.

Upon further fine-tuning, the document was passed along to GANA technical director Greg Carney for input from that organization’s task group.

Certification and Education
During the certification and education committee meeting, IGMA—which is the sponsor and program administrator for the IGMAC certification program— approved changing the test method used for the IGMAC program-CGSB 12.8-to ASTM E 2190, effective October 1. IGMA currently tests to ASTM E 2190 so the change will allow both the IGMA and the IGMAC certification programs would be testing to the same standard.

John Kent of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) explained that the boards of both organizations agreed, “we’ll eventually be melding the two programs … for the E 2190 standard.”

Kent explained that products will be listed as certified under the “IGCC/IGMA program,” giving a product the value and recognition of both marks—but the new system will have the benefit of requiring only one test and one set of fees.

Since the two groups had different testing requirements, a compromise was made: there will be one initial test, two annual tests and then, after having successfully passed the tests consecutively, companies will be tested only every two years.

The new system will go into effect January 1, 2009.

The committee also made progress on its IG manufacturing quality procedures educational seminar, which it’s developing to help companies that are beginning to focus on quality control. The group discussed how best to create a session that would be educational for both large and small IG manufacturers.

“I see something like this being a tool used across the industry,” commented Rogers, who chairs this group.

Some group members expressed concern that this presentation goes well beyond typical quality control requirements.

“Do we think there’s going to be an audience for this that justifies the work we’redoing?” Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG asked.

Group members seemed to agree that many companies implement quality control measures in order to meet—but not surpass—certification. As such, they felt a simple presentation on the importance of quality control would be most beneficial at present, and perhaps
even encourage these companies to strive beyond the requirements.

“If they don’t understand what the benefit is for them, [this] will actually
make their job more difficult,” says IGM A executive director Margaret Webb.

Technical Services Proposal is a Gas
In addition to hearing reports from work groups, the technical services committee met to vote on the formation of a task group addressing a proposal that had been resubmitted to evaluate the GasGlass device. According to Webb, Bodycote Testing Group had submitted a proposal “that is on the dollar amount a lot more palpable.”

The proposal is for research to validate the use of the handheld GasGlass unit in the field as a viable way of checking gas levels in installed IG units. The group had previously declined to take on the research project due to its considerable proposed cost.

Webb reported that some initial data has been collected and has shown that “if you couldn’t control the light you couldn’t get a reading,” indicating that there would be some benefit to members in evaluating the tool and how best to use it. While the committee approved a task group to review this more closely, it was also noted that the proposal should be adapted in some part to tighten the research and better reflect IGMA’s needs.

Mark Your Calendar The next IGMA meeting will be held February 2-6, 2009, in San Diego.

© Copyright 2008 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.