The Building Envelope Contractors Conference and Glass Performance Automation Days event for glass fabricators joined together last week for a special Bridging the Supply Chain crossover educational and networking event. The conferences, both hosted by the National Glass Association at the Grand Hyatt Nashville, combined on March 29 for a half-day of solution sharing sessions and networking that straddled BEC and GPAD.
“The programming is about sharing, listening and looking for new, longer-term solutions within our supply chain,” said NGA CEO and President Nicole Harris.
The Bridging the Supply Chain sessions began with discussion of three emerging glass technologies in the Future-Ready Facades presentation. Attendees from all segments of the industry took in fast-paced, information-packed mini sessions on non-invasive insulating glass retrofits, antenna glass—specialty glass that allows mobile communication signals to pass through the building envelope unattenuated—and transparent solar energy windows.
The joint sessions also included presentations on Key Pain Points for Glaziers and Fabricators that took a deep dive into three glass fabrication challenges that impact glaziers and fabricators. “Our new ‘pain points’ sessions [let] glazing contractors and glass fabricators and other suppliers talk through shared challenges,” said Harris of the presentations.
Representatives from three industry suppliers addressed problems and solutions to three common challenges: color shift, heat soaking and sealant compatibility.
Michael Saroka, CEO of Goldray Glass, discussed the challenges of color. “When we’re talking about color, we’re talking about perceived color. This is not measurable. It’s not quantifiable.”
What can glass companies do when it comes to conversations about glass color? According to Saroka, first, make agreement about standards at the start of process. Second, get samples. Third, view samples in outdoor environment similar to final project. And finally, understand glass can look different throughout the day & variance of glass types on façade can occur “and that’s OK,” he said.
Tara Brummet, chief of staff, Vitrum Glass, answered several frequently asked questions about heat soaking tempered glass.
First, why heat soak? According to Brummet, the goal of heat soaking is to subject fully tempered glass to sustained heat to accelerate breakage caused by potential inclusions and reduce future breakage in the field.
Second, should a project team heat soak all lites of tempered glass on a project? Brummet said it's common to heat soak all lites. However, some manufacturers use a statistical process in which they heat soak a statistically significant portion of lites.
Finally, is there a standard for heat soaking? According to Brummet, there is no North American standard for heat soaking. Some manufacturers rely on European standards, which require heat soaking of all lites. Additionally, a new NGA technical task group is developing a document on best practices for heat soaking.
Closing out the panel, Abel Macias, application development engineer, Momentive, addressed sealant compatibility. “There is a misconception that adhesion and compatibility are the same thing.” Incompatibility problems can cause adhesion issues, but may lead to other problems, such as cure inhibition, discoloration, staining of masonry, could impact interlayer performance, etc., said Macias.
He added that NGA offers a number of resources on sealant compatibility, including the GANA Sealant Manual and the document, Assessing the Compatibility of Glazing Materials and Components. Check out the NGA Store for more.
Keys to persuasive communication
Bridging the Supply Chain also included a dynamic keynote from speaker and author Brian Ahearn, who drove home the point that communication is key, especially when it comes to delivering products and projects on time and on budget.
The session, “Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical,” offered insights and advice on how to ethically influence and persuade people to develop and sustain trusted relationships across the supply chain.
Solutions share lunch
The crossover conference closed out with a luncheon designed to bring all segments of the supply chain together for networking and solutions sharing.
The lunch included a special panel presentation, Global to Local Impact: Supply Chain Perspectives. Tight supply, rising costs and long lead times continue to challenge glass and glazing businesses around the world. Panelists included NGA Board members Courtney Little, president and general counsel of ACE Glass, and Tim Kelley, president, Tristar Glass; as well as Birgit Horn, director/global head for glasstec, and Nicole Harris, NGA president and CEO.