Volume 43, Issue 3 - March 2008
Making the Map
by Megan Headley
“The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) held its 8th annual conference 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 toward future projects. For the Visual Quality Working 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 September 2007 USGlass, page 108).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 IG units for both residential and high- to mid-rise buildings. 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?”
The next step was to look at where the differences lie in the document between residential and commercial visual quality. For example, installation was seen 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. 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 send a revised draft around for a second review.
Certification and Education
“This thing has been stalled for basically two years,” Webb said. At a previous meeting the preparation of this seminar had been assigned to an outside group, who has since withdrawn. Webb added, “I personally think we need to do this. The most common question we get is on quality procedures.” “This has been talked about in China and other places and all around the world now,” added IGMA technical consultant Bill Lingnell. According to Webb, one of the things that makes the development of this potential seminar so tricky is that it isn’t just teach a skill, it’s teaching a way of thinking. “One of the things you actually have to transfer is a different way of thinking; a different commitment,” Webb said. “The biggest problem is not how to run a desiccant test but why to run a desiccant test,” said John Kent of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC).
Webb added, “In the long haul what it means is you’ll have better performing IG units.”
Webb and Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG agreed to work on putting together an outline to distribute; Rogers is aiming to get an introduction to the seminar out by the next meeting.
With regard to harmonization of IGMAC and IGMA certification procedures, Kent said, “We’re not quite there yet but we’re a lot closer than we were three or four years ago.” Kent also provided information about current participation levels and IG certification activities. Kent noted that in August the first non-North American lab, in Beijing, was approved to participate. Kent said this lab would be able to test product sent to them from other countries.
In other certification news, Webb briefly noted that Keystone Certifications has terminated its relationship with IGMA. “The only administrator for IGMA now is IGCC,” Webb said.
Glazing Guidelines Working Group
Shelbourn had made additional comments throughout the document, which the group addressed. With the question of closing the tubes answered, the group asked if a note should 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.” “Any gas content will change if capillary or breather tubes are used,” Lingnell added.
“We’re not a group that gives permission,” said Chris Barry of Pilkington. “It physically can be done.” That the instruction should say not to use capillary tubes with gas-filled units was the prevailing recommendation.
Once the capillary tubes are inserted, 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.
Gas Permeability Working Group
This will create a test for the industry if they want to qualify and create new materials, Virnelson explained. 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.”
The group will aim to get additional proposals in for consideration before the next meeting, and to have time to “really digest these proposals” made in Florida. The next IGMA meeting will be held June 16-19, 2008, at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler, British Columbia.