Ply Gem recently opened the Insight Center in Durham, N.C., near the Research Triangle Region. The nearly 60,000-square-foot center was designed to increase the potential for research, testing and innovation for Ply Gem’s business units and is also the home of Foundation Labs, a Ply Gem division that was established in 2013 to  produce innovative solutions for building products.

The Insight Center aims to identify, prototype and launch opportunities across material science, advanced manufacturing and user experience. The co-development space allows for small-scale manufacturing, weathering and material testing and features a simulation and analytics lab. The company says the technology center also encourages open innovation and the collaboration of ideas to foster creativity.

“The Insight Center is Ply Gem’s investment in innovation for our industry, customers and homeowners,” said Gary Robinette, Ply Gem’s chairman and CEO. “It is important we have a dedicated space to ensure we continue to challenge the industry through new innovation and demonstrate Ply Gem’s forward-thinking approach toward growth and industry leadership.”

“The Insight Center also provides a collaboration space for existing businesses to maximize R&D (research and development) efficiencies and further advances in the current portfolio of products,” said Lee Clark-Sellers, Ply Gem’s innovation officer and head of Foundation Labs. “Foundation Labs ensures the company continues to deliver on our promise of building products and building success for our customers.”

Foundation Labs is looking at the entire life cycle of a product, taking into consideration the removal of the product at the end of its usable life cycle.

Two products have been launched as a direct result of testing and research through Foundation Labs. Engineered Slate Roofing, a roofing material made with 100 percent recycled resins, was launched in 2014. The same technology was used to create Engineered Cedar in 2015.


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