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What the trend for bi-folds means for insulated glass unit manufacturers

As published in Glass & Glazing Products Magazine – December 2016

 

Chris Alderson, Managing Director for Edgetech UK, talks about the continued trend for bi-folds and wide span sliding doors and the impact they have for insulated glass unit manufacturers.

Manufacturing oversized insulated glass units for Bi-fold Doors - Image Credit: AluFoldDirectWhat the trend for bi-folds means for insulated glass unit manufacturers

Talk to anyone in the industry, and they will tell you that bi-folds and wide span sliding doors remain the biggest growth area. The latest Palmer Report predicts that this will continue to increase, and that aluminium doors are growing faster than PVCu – although both are up.

When we talk about bi-fold and wide span doors, it’s easy to think only about the frames. Systems companies promote the extra height and width they can squeeze out of each leaf, and bigger is better.

Door manufacturers have been looking at ways to improve the thermal efficiency of bi-fold and wide span doors. While Building Regulations require a minimum U-value of 1.8 W/m2K for doors, we are seeing more claims of 1.6 and even 1.4 and it’s the glass units that play a big part in delivering thermal efficiency.

Triple glazed units can be used to increase energy performance, but the extra weight of the glass can be problematic in these oversized units. A 6mm pane of glass in a 1.8m x 2.1m door could add up to eight and a half stone. The alternative is to choose better performing ‘clever doubles’ using warm edge technology. Using double rather than triple glazed units makes door leafs lighter so they’re easier to handle and makes them the first choice for most fabricators and installers of bi-folds and wide span doors.

Weight is an important consideration during the manufacturing process too. Automation reduces manual handling, which is a big benefit for heavier insulated glass units. It also maximises speed and efficiency in production.

However, it’s not just making standard glass units bigger, these oversized IGUs can’t be treated the same as smaller ones. To start with there’s the issue of deflection. A large rigid spacer bar frame is likely to bend and even a small variance could cause the spacer bar to protrude into the sightline. Super Spacer® is designed not to move, the acrylic seal on either side of the bar creates a strong bond with the glass which keeps it in place during manufacture. And Super Spacer references the glass edge as the unit is made so it is perfectly level.

This bond counteracts another possible issue with IGUs. Glass units are subject to cavity expansion and contraction as temperatures rise and fall, and this is exaggerated in larger units. Super Spacer’s flexibility means it can allow for movement which prevents the glass cracking under stress, whilst maintaining its exceptionally strong adhesion to the glass. It does not set under compression, so it maintains its structural integrity in pressure glazing situations and will always look to return to its original shape and dimension.

Customers tell us that large glass units are now making up a bigger percentage of their production. As well as supplying the right products, Edgetech has the technical expertise to support insulated glass unit manufacturers who are facing this change.

As you would expect from the driving force for energy efficient glazing, the Edgetech range of warm edge spacers includes a product that was developed as the ideal system for manufacturing larger units. Super Spacer Premium Plus has led the way in commercial structural glazing. It has been proven in IGUs of up to 15 metres in length without issues of movement or deflection and comes with an industry best 40-year guarantee.

If, as predicted, numbers of bi-fold and wide span sliding doors continue to grow, the importance of delivering large, high quality, energy efficient glazed units will become even more important. Super Spacer Premium Plus offers IGU manufacturers, fabricators and installers complete peace of mind.

 

Proven system

Royal Alexandra Hospital
Royal Alexandra Hospital

Super Spacer Premium Plus is not a new product. It was actually the original version of Super Spacer introduced in 1985 and has shown exceptional performance for large glass units. It’s been used continuously over the last 32 years and has been fitted in massive projects throughout the world.

In 1992, 25 years ago, it was chosen for a new glass atrium of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Canada. The city often experiences heavy snowfall, severe storms and temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, but inside the humidity is kept at 50 percent to reduce the risk of infection.

For the project, more than 13,000 metres of Super Spacer were processed and to date no glass unit has had to be exchanged, nor any condensation formed on the windows. Super Spacer was specified for another development at the hospital in 2005.

You can read the full project case study here: Royal Alexandra Hospital Case Study

Super Spacer: Warm Edge Spacer Bar

When insulated glass units (IGUs) use aluminium spacer bars, which are thermally conductive, 80 percent of window energy loss occurs at the edge of the glass. Edgetech offers a wide range of warm edge spacer bar products for the best perimeter insulation of IGUs.

Our Super Spacer® flexible spacer technology brought warm edge technology to the forefront of the market and its clever design and manufacture can help simplify the process of manufacturing sealed glazing units.

Super Spacer is much less conductive than aluminium. Preventing heat loss at the perimeter of the window helps to achieve higher Window Energy Ratings and lower energy costs.

Super Spacer is a flexible, silicone foam spacer. Desiccant-filled with pre-applied side adhesive, Super Spacer is easy to apply and a high-speed, fully automated line can manufacture up to 1400 insulated glass units in a single 8-hour shift.

IGU manufacturing lines and machinery (manual, semi-automated, fully automated and high-speed fully automated) are supported by Edgetech’s technical division. Technical support from Edgetech includes support during installation, training sessions for your team and troubleshooting help.

Edgetech offers a range of Super Spacer warm edge spacer bar products to its customers to suit different applications. Here are the main benefits of each Super Spacer product.

Warm Edge Spacer Bar – Flexible Spacers by Edgetech UK

Super Spacer® Premium

Super Spacer Premium Warm Edge Spacer BarSuper Spacer Premium offers proven performance.

The dual seal insulating glass spacer system uses high-performance acrylic adhesive and is backed by a multi-layer moisture vapour seal.

It reduces window U-values by up to 0.2W/m²K and noise pollution by up to 2dB.

Super Spacer Premium reduces perimeter condensation and typically lasts twice as long as dual seal systems and 5 times as long as single year systems: it carries a 40 year performance guarantee.

There’s no need for Super Spacer to be cut into bar length form, have a PIB primary seal applied or be filled with desiccant which speeds up insulated glass unit manufacture, significantly saves on labour costs and massively increases productivity for IGU manufacturers.

There are three application options for Edgetech customers. Manual application allows a three man team to manufacture up to 250 units in an 8 hour shift. Semi-automated increases this to 400 and fully automated machines can produce up to 960 units in a shift. For high-speed lines this goes up to over 1400. Automated Super Spacer application also means that there is no wastage – reducing production costs even further.

Super Spacer is also ideal for manufacturing triple glazed units. Machines designed for manufacturing triple glazing have two spacer head applicators, for applying two different widths of Super Spacer to a unit. Fully automated lines with two spacer applicators can also be set up to manufacture double glazed units with different widths of Super Spacer for simple and speedy switching to increase efficiency.

Super Spacer Premium is certified by Passive House Institute’s energy efficiency stamp of phA+.

Super Spacer Alpha

Award winning warm edge spacer bar Super Spacer AlphaAward-winning flexible spacer bar, Super Spacer Alpha is the most thermally efficient flexible warm edge spacer bar.

Reverse engineered by the Edgetech team, it achieves exceptional thermal performance and its sculptured shape enables sealant cost savings of up to 20 percent.

Based on 25 years of proven field performance, Super Spacer Alpha comes with a 40-year performance guarantee, has excellent UV resistance and enhanced sound dampening.

It is manufactured from superior silicone foam to offer extreme temperature performance. Its unique dual-seal design allows for enhanced gas retention and immediate unit handling.

Super Spacer Heritage

Super Spacer Heritage for traditional rebateSuper Spacer Heritage is an innovative warm edge spacer bar that answers an age-old issue. It is specially designed to meet the needs of retrofit, restoration and replication projects where the final aesthetics are of paramount importance.

It maintains the high Super Spacer performance but because it is only 3mm deep it replicates single glazed units with ultra slim sightlines and a traditional putty line or glazing bead rebate.

It’s available in unit cavity options of 4mm, 6mm and 8mm and applied using Edgetech’s special Heritage Shuttle. It references the glass edge for a precise line and its flexibility allows sharp 90 degree corners or unusual shapes for a flawless finish and is still quick and efficient to apply.

Super Spacer Triseal™ and T-Spacer

Super Spacer TriSeal Warm Edge Spacer bar is certified by the Passive House Institute.Super Spacer® TriSeal™ Premium is the flexible warm edge spacer bar which has been specially designed to beat the challenges of commercial glazing, including silicone structural glazing.

With a unique, triple seal design it reduces energy consumption in curtain walling systems by up to 15 percent and 29 percent across glazing systems. It has passed the toughest tests in the industry and offers a warmer sightline with up to 8°C improvement.

TriSeal and T-Spacer offer enhanced sound dampening and extreme temperature performance to help customers meet the comprehensive specifications often set in the commercial glazing market.

TriSeal and T-Spacer have been accredited with the Passive House efficiency stamp with phA standard. It reduces condensation and virtually eliminates the potential circumstances in which mould grows.

Click for further information on our Super Spacer warm edge spacer bar product range, or call us on +44 (0) 2476 639931.

For Large Format IGU, Super Spacer and sedak Set a New Standard

The huge fully automated line at sedakEdgetech, a Quanex company, and sedak, a Germany-based glass manufacturer, have broken boundaries for large format insulating glass unit (IGU) production with sedak’s innovative, large-scale fully automated line, utilizing Edgetech’s Super Spacer ® T-Spacer™ warm-edge technology.

With cutting-edge production techniques, sedak enables groundbreaking architectural designs that require large scale, high performance glass to come to life successfully and efficiently. The line, completed in 2015, has significantly enhanced productivity and has allowed sedak to go beyond the limits of what was previously physically and technologically possible for specialty architectural projects.

The enormous units produced—up to 15 metres in length—come with significant challenges for transportation along the line, particularly when it comes to the application of spacers. For its flexibility, performance and aesthetic benefits, sedak uses Super Spacer T-Spacer for large format IGUs. With its superior durability, the Edgetech solution effectively eliminates the potential for thermal stress drops along the edge seal and minimizes tension on the edge sealant. The spacer’s discreet appearance, along with the robotic precision of sedak’s manufacturing process, guarantees flawless edges without unsightly transitions or joints, contributing to sedak’s trademark transparent aesthetics.

The Super Spacer T-Spacer triple-seal system meets the most stringent commercial requirements, including Silicone Structural Glazing (SSG), enabling sedak to deliver the highest level of IGU performance no matter the design demands. As sedak continues to serve forward thinking architecture and design products with superior insulating glass, Edgetech’s Super Spacer T-Spacer will continue to be a critical part of the manufacturing process, boosting efficiency and performance without sacrificing aesthetics.

Click here to view a video of the how sedak’s fully automated line comes to life, visit .

Click for more information about Edgetech Super Spacer T-Spacer

 

Triple Passive House Certification for Edgetech UK

Edgetech UK, the leading voice for energy efficient windows, has been accredited with Passive House certification for three of its Super Spacer® products, reflecting its total commitment to energy performance in buildings.

Super Spacer Premium has been certified with the Passive House Institute’s best available energy efficiency class stamp of phA+ whilst Super Spacer TriSeal/T-Spacer Premium and Super Spacer TriSeal/T-Spacer Premium Plus have both been accredited with phA standard.

All three of Edgetech’s spacer bars significantly exceeded the required minimum specific edge resistance and were certified for the Arctic climate component efficiency class stamp, as well as for all climate zones with lower demands.

Alan Fielder, Sales & Marketing Director at Edgetech UK said: “I’m delighted to hear that the Passive House Institute has recognised that these spacer bars are eligible for use under the Passive House standard – a simple approach to building super energy efficient homes.”

While Passive House only accounts for a small percentage of buildings in the UK, many more developers and specifiers look for products that offer top thermal efficiency.

The Passive House Institute also considers hygiene when certifying spacer bar components.
By reducing condensation and maintaining comfortable humidity levels, Super Spacer can
virtually eliminate the potential breeding ground for mould growth and associated health
problems. Super Spacer’s qualities have made it popular for hospitals and medical facilities
all over the world.

Alan continues: “This acknowledgement from the Passive House Institute further secures
Edgetech’s place as the leading voice for energy efficient windows.”

Future Products switches to all Super Spacer manufacturing

Sales growth in new build and triple glazing has seen a rapid increase in glass unit manufacture at Future Products Ltd. To manage its expansion in IGU production, one of the Midlands’ largest fabricators turned to long standing supplier Edgetech UK, a Quanex company for support, switching to Super Spacer® warm edge spacer for all glazed units and door panels.

“We’ve worked with Edgetech for over 15 years and have always used Super Spacer in the manufacture of our door panels,” explains Dennis Thorpe, Chairman at Future Products Ltd. “As we expanded into new markets and more customers started ordering triple glazing we had to increase productivity whilst still achieving our high quality standards. Edgetech is a professional supplier to deal with and were able to advise us on the best machinery to support our plans for growth.”

Future Products installed a Forel fully automated Super Spacer IGU line optimised for triple glazing and are now manufacturing 3,500 units a week. Dennis continues, “We chose Edgetech because they lead the industry where warm edge technology is concerned and have always invested in producing top performing products.

“We’re now adding a second shift in the factory and will be launching an all new range of aluminium windows later this year featuring Super Spacer glass units.”

To find out more about Edgetech’s IGU solutions call 02476 639931 or visit https://www.edgetechig.co.uk.

For details on Future Products Ltd, call 01623 635 171 or visit www.futureproductsltd.com.

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