GlassBuild Draws the Latest Options for Window Shopping

November 2nd, 2023 by Drew Vass, Executive Editor

GlassBuild America is underway in Atlanta this week, where after the deployment of new Energy Star requirements manufacturers continue to promote products and materials to help meet the new criteria. Exhibitors came prepared with “menus” of insulating glass, low-E coatings and new profiles to help last-minute shoppers update their door and window products. In many cases, “They’re trying to find a way not to go to triple-pane glass,” said Darlene Aldred, business manager for Guardian Industries Corp.

Guardian displayed a chart of Energy Star requirements including which of its ClimaGuard products meet the criteria across climate zones.

To answer that call, Guardian displayed a spread of options for its ClimaGuard low-E coated glass and a chart showing which versions meet each of Energy Star’s climate zone requirements. The product is capable of meeting requirements across the North-Central, South-Central and Southern zones, as well as prescriptive options for the Northern zone in double-pane formats, Aldred said. The company also used an innovative booth design with a ceiling of simulated clouds and daylight to demonstrate how each of its insulating glass products looks from interior and exterior perspectives.

Veka hosted a presentation in its booth for door and window companies, showing how they can utilize glass technologies and the company’s profiles to formulate products for Version 7 criteria.

“There is no one-size-fits-all option,” said Joe Peilert, the company’s president and CEO. “We have a solution for everybody, but it’s a matter of figuring out which platform works for each customer,” he said.

The company had a spreadsheet on display, showing various combinations of coatings, spacers and other components that can be combined to meet the requirements of each climate zone.

Steve Dillon, corporate marketing director for Veka, explains how door and window companies can use the company’s spreadsheets to “shop” alternatives for meeting Energy Star 7 requirements.

“One thing that’s important to me is that we’re easy to do business with based on our business model,” Peilert said.

Vitro used the event to tease one of its upcoming coatings, Sungate Therml, which is set to arrive early next year. The coating was developed specifically for Energy Star 7, said Mark Seeton, vice president of sales, helping windows with double-pane glass to achieve U-value ratings of 0.19 and solar heat gain coefficient ratings of 0.27.

While Deceuninck brought its usual display for Innergy, a polyurethane resin-based material that’s designed to replace aluminum, the company debuted another feature for its door and window profiles that helps window manufacturers to avoid the need for touch ups after welding. While the company has leaned on laminates to produce doors and windows in black, its latest offerings include profiles that are extruded in a solid color.

By offering colored extrusions, manufacturers can not only avoid the need for touch ups after welding, but, “Whatever happens to that window, it’s still going to be black,” said Joren Knockaert, Deceuninck’s president and CEO. While capstock materials might be subject to scratches and chipping, revealing their core colors, solid-black extrusions aren’t subject to those same issues, said Greg Koch, vice president of sales and marketing. Solid-black materials also help to alleviate worker shortages in Deceuninck’s plants, Koch said. As the company has worked to beat the labor shortage and keep production flowing, often employees have worked long shifts, he said. By extruding in solid black, the company can speed up production while eliminating one phase of production.

The company has spent much of its time in recent years dealing with labor and supply chain issues, but the period of “playing defense is over,” Koch said, as the company finds itself on better footing.

Others looked to speed up and aid production via software and machinery, using the show’s lineup of equipment as an opportunity to plan facilities. David Barnes, owner of Viwinco Windows, said his company was at the show to shop technology.

“We have 60,000 square feet of space to play with, so we’re having a look,” Barnes said.

In its 41st year in business, “Now the young guys are running the place,” he added. “They’re utilizing things that we didn’t have available to us, in terms of technology.”

Reaching for his phone, Barnes demonstrated how, these days, his company uses proprietary software and large displays to monitor every aspect of production. Management can keep an eye on processes via cameras on the floor, while using a remote app to monitor every detail for output.

“I can get a lot of info directly to my phone,” said Zach Kauffman, director of manufacturing operations. “To have all of that information available to you is really incredible.”

The company is just one of many looking to move the ball forward by shopping the latest technologies.

GlassBuild lasts through Thursday, November 2. Look for additional coverage in [DWM]’s newsletter.

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