Managing change: Top Glass positions you for the future
New technology, new science and new ideas set the tone for Top Glass 2018.
By Patrick Flannery
If everything always stayed the same there would be no need to come out to trade shows. Instead, we are inundated with change. Tightening energy efficiency standards are entering the market unevenly across the country, challenging contractors and fabricators to maintain esthetics and margins as designs adjust.
The trend toward larger, unbroken glass panels marches on, forcing new approaches to every aspect of fabrication and installation. Commercial products and designs are getting more popular in luxury custom homes while vinyl and hybrid vinyl products are knocking on the door of multi-unit high-rise projects. Environmental concerns about bird safety, internal daylighting and reflectivity are driving innovation in window/wall ratios, glass marking, spandrel design and colour. Advances in automated motion control continue to make manufacturing faster and more efficient, with the possibility of automation in information processing and even decision-making on the horizon. A strong market is exposing structural deficiencies in Canada’s skilled trades development market, challenging the industry to find new ways to attract and train workers, or do with fewer of them.
A quick look at our exhibitor showcase on page19 shows how Top Glass suppliers are offering to help you meet some of these challenges. Window systems with hybrid designs and improved thermal breaks can help you meet those energy efficiency targets. Innovative glass and IG options can help address some of the special requirements of today’s facade designs. How about a better saw, or a sealant system designed to handle larger glass sizes?
As always, the Top Glass education program presents some of the latest thinking to prepare you for the future. The North American Fenestration Standard has upped the demands for air/water tightness in facade design and is now part of the National Building Code. Al Jaugelis of RDH Building Science explains how architects can design around this standard. Chris Fronsoe of ICD Coatings talks about those needs for innovative solutions to glass opacifying and what can be done beyond traditional ceramic frit. Cody Thomas of Glass Renu knows a thing or two about how to fix scratched glass to help you rescue those big panels rather than throw them out at a cost of thousands. And for a look into the far future, we have Chuck Black of Brookhaven National Laboratories presenting new etching techniques that might revolutionize what is possible with glass.