Volume 16, Issue 4 - July/August 2012

IWFA Update
by John Parker

Safety Film Offers Peace of Mind

As we enter the busy vacation season and the time when many parts of the country experience significant windstorms, we felt this is a good time to discuss the benefits of safety film. It’s also worth noting that the leadership of the International Window Film Association (IWFA) and its many members have worked tirelessly to educate our communities about safety film.

Safety Film
Safety film is a material that is specifically engineered to hold glass fragments together whenever glass breaks during a natural or man-made disaster. Its key advantage is that it can minimize flying glass shards and therefore reduce personal injury and property damage.

By mitigating the harmful consequences of glass that is broken by man or nature and offering the window film’s additional benefits, it can be a smart choice for nearly any application. Safety film is optically clear and highly transparent. It allows visible light to pass through, but unlike glass it is not brittle nor is it easily subject to breaking.

Safety film is an ‘elastometric’ product, meaning it has the ability to stretch. When applied to the interior surface of glass using the correct adhesion and cure time, the combination of the adhesive system and the film itself combine to hold glass together.

As we approach the big vacation season, your customers (homeowners and commercial entities alike) should consider the use of safety film as a deterrent to the ‘smash and grab’ schemes and typical breaking and entering crimes where the burglar breaks a glass pane near a door handle to gain entrance to a home or business.

Creating A Barrier
The preventative benefit of safety film in criminal or vandal situations is that it forms a barrier to delay penetration of the glass. Even if the glass is penetrated the opening is confined to the size of the device that made the opening. Easy access, and speed of entry, which are a thief’s calling card, is left outside the door. Similarly, safety film can be applied to interior surfaces for greater personal protection during bomb blasts.

It is important to distinguish window films intended purely to improve energy performance from films designed for safety applications. Solar control film is generally 1.5- 2 mil thick, while safety film can range in thickness from 4 mil to 14 mil. Some films are designed for both solar control and security applications.

While solar control film is applied only to the part of the window that is visible, security film is sometimes installed into the window system itself by a process known as anchoring. Two types of anchoring, known as wet-glazed and mechanical installations, are available. A wet-glazed installation involves removing the rubber around the window from the gasket and replacing it with a structural silicon sealant that fills the space between the window and the frame. A mechanical attachment involves overlapping the film around the edges of the window and securing the film with bolts to an internal frame. Both methods are meant to ensure that the film will hold glass fragments together and reduce flying glass.

The value of safety film in protecting building occupants has been recognized by the federal government. In areas of the country that frequently experience high winds and severe storms, safety film is recognized for the around-the-clock protection it provides.

To learn more about safety film, its proper use and how the benefits should be communicated please visit the IWFA website, http://bit.ly/MSkUNG, as we’re thrilled to get the word out to help every one of our potential customers understand the many benefits that window film delivers.

The IWFA’s goal is to help bring more business to window film manufacturers, distributors, dealers and installers as a result of the awareness on the many solutions that window film offers today.

John Parker is the president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).

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