IGCC Eyes Faster Certification and Quality Prediction of Insulating Glass

Glass Magazine
June 18, 2018
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION

Officials from the Insulating Glass Certification Council announced the organization is working to create a path to faster certification and quality prediction for insulating glass unit performance, according to a June 18 IGCC release. The primary focus of IGCC’s efforts has been to define a path to Provisional Certification, which would better predict IG unit quality and allow a manufacturer to certify compliance of an IG product, pending the outcome of full ASTM retesting. 

“The ASTM E-2190 Standard (and its predecessors) has done an excellent job for many years of providing the definition of insulating glass unit quality,” IGCC officials said in the release. “However, the IG test standards and specifications were first established over 40 years ago, when there were limited IG unit designs. The technology of materials and manufacturing processes has advanced significantly during that time, and the edge design configurations have become much more complex.”

The previous test standard also requires ample time. “It can take up to 6 months for IG manufacturers to work through the entire process including the 15-week independent laboratory testing. In this fast-paced world, a six-month lead time for a manufacturer to learn if they can continue production (especially of a previously certified product) might as well be a lifetime,” IGCC officials said in the release.

Current test standards are unable to meet shifting market demands, including the need for faster results, higher levels of performance and more repeatability in results. For certain applications, the user community needs better data (or metrics) to make informed application and design decisions, according to the IGCC release.

To meet the needs of manufacturers and the industry at large, the IGCC embarked on a mission over five years ago to develop a process that would achieve better results, faster. Several pilot studies have been conducted over the past five years. The studies have utilized shortened E-2190 type exposure testing, along with additional quality assurance criteria, and the results compared to full E-2190 test results. In the most recent pilot program, additional units were tested in two other types of accelerated weathering chambers, as well as the E-2190 type chambers, and the results were compared to each other as well as E-2190.

There is known variability in E-2190 results, some of which is likely due to differences in the design, construction, and interpretation of operation of existing E-2190 chambers. Therefore, 100 percent correlation to E-2190 is probably not realistic, according to the release. 

The goals of the PC program are as follows:

  1. Accelerate the path to certification
  2. Produce conservative results (more false failures than false passes)
  3. Generate data so the program can be refined and improved
  4. To be a benefit to the IG industry, providing a tool that can be used for R&D
  5. Create a tool to better define IG unit performance and provide metrics for specifying units

The results of the pilot studies also led to the decision by the IGCC Board to approve and fund a new research and development initiative to develop an economical accelerated weathering chamber which will create cycles to stress the sealants, different from the current high and low temperature cycles in ASTM E2188, which are very time consuming. 

A prototype chamber is currently under construction. An initial R&D program is being developed to verify the capabilities of the chamber, and to establish viable parameters for the environmental cycling.  This R&D program will use advanced capability sensors from FDR Design (iTig sensors) to continuously monitor the conditions inside the IG units during the R&D process.  IG test units with reduced desiccant and/or defined defects will be specially fabricated for this R&D effort, in order to accelerate results, and to reduce or eliminate the tendency of the desiccant to mask or delay the detection of moisture inside the IG units.

The goal of this R&D project is to produce a simple, rapid, flexible, and repeatable method to evaluate the durability of IG units. If the R&D effort yields promising results, IGCC plans to build more chambers, place them in independent labs, and conduct a new pilot study to test IG units in parallel with E-2190 testing to compare results. 

“While exact correlation to E-2190 is unlikely, it is hoped that a simpler, more economical weathering chamber will produce more reliable results in a shorter time, with much less cost and effort than current testing methods,” according to IGCC officials. “Another anticipated benefit of this simplified testing chamber is that it will allow the flexibility to test to much higher standards, for applications such as structural or commercial/high rise use where IG failures may result in much higher risk and cost than in the typical residential application.”