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The Engineer: Top Glass takeaways

I’m excited to talk to exhibitors, catch up with friends and hear from the great lineup of speakers.


May 1, 2020
By David Heska

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As the Top Glass conference approaches I was recently reminded of one of the sessions from last year. A colleague and I were talking about curved glass, so I found the notes I had taken during Top Glass 2019. Last year Elie Alkhoury shared with us about a hotel project in Australia where his company provided testing for the large, curved IGUs. The IGUs were approximately two-by-four-meters in size, manufactured outside of Canada and shipped to the lab in Ontario. Mr. Alkhoury shared about how he was able to successfully adapt the ASTM E2188 standard test method to evaluate the full scale curved panels here before the glass was shipped and installed in Australia. The setup was particularly challenging because it included all phases of high humidity and weather cycling with dew point measurements taken periodically. In addition to the standard weather cycling parameters of E2188, wind load pressures were superimposed on the typical cycle and applied in both positive and negative directions. The challenges did not stop there; the test panel was subjected to prescribed bending prior to cycling and assessed in the bent configuration.

My colleague had been speaking with an architect about some design options for an upcoming project and when he came back to the office we got talking in the lunch room. The architect had shared an article with him about a different curved glass project in Germany. Without going into all of the details of the concert hall project in Germany, I think it’s worth mentioning that a combination of glass types were used including both flat and curved IGUs for the windows, and triple-laminated curved single glazing. If you have not read an article about this project, I encourage you to search and find one online.

We all know that most projects do not have the budget or profile of these two examples in Australia and Germany. But as advances occur in the market bent glass is increasingly being included in projects by designers and manufacturers who are also more willing to modify their production facilities to accommodate the increased demand. No one anticipates bent glass will ever reach the substantial market share of flat glass, but keep your eyes open as its popularity rises.

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Looking ahead to this year’s Top Glass conference in September, I’ll be excited to talk with exhibitors, catch up with friends and hear from the great lineup of speakers. The morning Young Executives Panel is one that should not be missed. Each of the panelists has a wealth of experience and will discuss how our industry is changing and what new technologies are on the horizon. Knowing their backgrounds I am eager to hear their comments about new curtainwall products and insights into the strategic decisions that Fenestration Canada and the Ontario Glass and Metal Association are making.

I’ll sign off this month with three quotes on the importance of learning:

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

On Sept. 29, I hope to see you at the Paramount EventSpace in Woodbridge, Ont., for Top Glass as we can keep leading and learning together.