Before insulating glass became common place, many of the producers where small family-owned companies. The reputation and continued operation of those small shops depended on the quality and durability of the units they produced. This is still true of the larger manufacturers with production facilities throughout North America, and why not also for the rest of the world. Quality is still high on manufactures priority as competition demands longer life and longer warranties. Therefore, it is important to know standards, regulations, and other safety measures within insulating glass industry.
In addition to quality, safety has also always been important in the insulating glass industry. Most managers and owners recognize that glass can be dangerous, and workers can never let down their guard. Although there are still accidents, continued safety training, safety committees, and government regulations have helped keep the losses low. Trade organizations like the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) review incidents and near misses for the member companies. It is the hope that these discussions will cause the manufacturers to look for similar circumstance in their own facilities and take corrective action to prevent future accidents.
There is always room for improvement, eventhough important steps have already been taken. For a long time there has been an important commitment by most manufacturers to build insulating glass units which met or exceeded the current standards for finished IG units. This commitment continued as the standards were improved from CBA testing with ASTM E773 and E774 though the North American Harmonized Standard (HIGGS) to today’s ASTM 2188.
In brief, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) uses committees to develop fair unbiased methods to test and evaluate insulating glass units. Committees, task groups and subcommittees write standards, which are reviewed by ASTM and sent out for consideration and ballot by industry members. Existing standards are updated on a regular basis and new standards are developed as new equipment or products are produced.
The following specialist interview was written to further discuss standards, quality control and safety measures mainly within the North American construction and insulating glass industry. This article was written based on an interview with Mr. Mike Burk, who has been working in the technical and training areas of the insulating glass industry for over twenty-five years. Mr. Burk’s introduction to the insulating glass industry was as a field service technician, installing automated manufacturing equipment. Furthermore, Mike Burk has the experience and skills to develop a world class quality management and continuous improvement programs. He is also the chair of the IGMA Glass Safety Awareness Council, and served as a member of the Technical Services Committee and a past chair of the Certification and Education Committee. In addition to many IGMA presentations, Mike Burk has presented glass safety seminars and webinars for GANA, Fenestration Canada,NGA,GED Integrated Solutionsand Quanex Building Products. Mr. Burk have worked as North America Technical Representative for Sparklike Oy.