November 29, 2017

End Unit Performance Starts with Upfront Design

by Guest Blogger

There are many things that go into a high performing finished product. Whether it’s an insulating glass unit, a completed window for a residential application, or something else, the result is composed of highly engineered components that were made to deliver performance for a lengthy useful lifespan.

And it doesn’t happen by accident. Upfront design and planning for finished fenestration products has long been a part of delivering quality to our customers.

But as we’ve seen in recent years, there are some modern-day industry dynamics that have made this—and every—part of the fenestration manufacturing process a bit more challenging. A shortage of skilled labor stretches resources thin across many operations, and it’s important that we don’t let it compromise robust unit design and engineering.

An increasing number of investments in automated technology has alleviated the labor issue slightly. But increased volumes and output further necessitate a strong focus on that upfront work. Our industry needs to be sure we’re living up to that need—both for the customer’s and our own benefit. As a member of Quanex’s Technical Services team, I’ve had countless conversations revolving around product design, and we’ve evolved our services to help meet those needs.     

Meeting Certification.
One reason to place strong emphasis on upfront design and testing is the need to meet certain certifications and performance numbers, particularly as you move from residential units up to higher-stakes architectural and structural glazing.

Take, for instance, the numerous codes and standards that govern insulating glass unit performance and evaluation. ASTM, the International Code Council (ICC), the National Accreditation and Management Institute (NAMI), the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)… the list goes on. Depending on how and where you’re doing business, meeting the performance standards set by one or more of those codes and certifications is an absolute necessity for doing business.

But codes can and do change. And as volumes have increased, making an incremental change to meet evolving performance needs can affect thousands of units. How to know if it’s the right change to make? Doing the upfront work, looking at the data, and working with your suppliers to project how performance will be affected must be one of the most important considerations in the overall process.
Product Tiering.
Elsewhere, many residential window and door makers know that not all customers want the highest level of performance for their purchase. Sometimes, a window is a window.
Whether offering a “good,” “better” and “best” line of window options, or if considering launching a new product to capitalize on an emerging market trend, the same upfront design work must be performed to be confident in the end result.

When making any sort of changes to your product offerings, there are questions that must be asked. Do my current vendors offer what I need to meet my goal? Do the materials I’m working with offer the necessary level of performance? Which changes will be the most cost effective in the long run? The answers to these questions don’t always come easy, and it’s why Quanex’s Technical Services team is constantly working with customers to find the right solutions—from the beginning of process to the end.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at

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Posted: November 29, 2017 by Guest Blogger Filed under: automation, codes, design