September 05, 2019
On the Lookout for Emerging Technologies
by Erin Johnson
The fenestration industry is built on innovation, and that’s why there’s always something new and exciting to see at the annual GlassBuild show. Whether it’s new ways of manufacturing, new component technology for enhanced thermal performance, or something else, checking out what’s on the horizon for the industry is one of my favorite parts of any calendar year.
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The past several years have seen GlassBuild headlines dominated by automated equipment and the new manufacturing strategies that equipment makes possible. I expect that trend to continue this year—for window and glass fabricators, automation has revolutionized how we do business, and many are prepared to make further investment.
What else can we expect? I think attendees at GlassBuild this year can anticipate some significant innovation in the glass space as some emerging technologies begin to gain greater traction in the marketplace. Here are a few of them:
Skinny triples. “Skinny” or thin triples are triple-paned insulating glass units with a very thin center lite that can deliver outstanding energy performance, and there’s been some intriguing chatter about their potential impact on the window industry so far already this year. USGlass detailed a meeting of the California Energy Commission where their use was discussed to meet stringent statewide thermal performance standards, and my colleague Ric Jackson discussed some implications in the residential market for DWM Magazine, too.
If embraced by the industry, their impact could be dramatic. Skinny triples have the capability of dramatically improving thermal performance, like traditional triple-paned IG, but without the additional weight and design concerns of traditional triples. And as codes continue to demand greater thermal performance, the industry needs innovative technology to make it happen.
Smart glass. Electrochromic, or “smart,” glass is another emerging technology that can have a major impact on how windows can contribute to heightened indoor comfort for occupants. By incorporating a special electrochromic coating inside an insulating glass panel that is charged with electricity, smart glass can help control glare and optimize daylight for indoor spaces.
Like skinny triples, smart glass is a technology that can contribute enhanced occupancy comfort without sacrificing any of the benefits of natural daylight in the interior space. Expect to see it gain greater market traction soon.
Enabling technologies. Of course, cutting-edge solutions like smart glass or skinny triples require complementary, enabling technology and componentry to meet their full potential. High-performance components add value and design flexibility to any glass project, including flexible spacer systems, glass coatings, framing systems and more. Enabling technologies must also be simple and cost effective for fabricators to work with, simple to integrate into automated processes that create efficiencies, boost quality and increase production capacity.
And at GlassBuild, Quanex will be highlighting its range of trusted, high-performance solutions that can do all of those things, helping to enable tomorrow’s glass technology. We can’t wait to show you at this year’s show at Booth #2517.
Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Erin.Johnson@Quanex.com.
September 05, 2019 by Erin Johnson
Filed under: Glassbuild