2018 Readers’ Choice AwardsJuly 12th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
Applause Gathers Around the Year’s Best Products
From components and glass, to tools and add-ons—every year, our editors gather and report on the products they feel every door and window company should know about. Each fall we put those selections to the ultimate test, when we ask DWM’s readers to weigh in.
Gathered from every issue, we organized products into 22 categories, then summoned our readers via email and social media to participate in a digital survey, selecting those they feel are most noteworthy and significant. In addition to their votes, respondents were also encouraged to provide feedback, informing us of what they see as the most important factors for our editors to cue in on going forward.
As a special thank you for their participation, we awarded one lucky respondent, selected at random, with a $100 gift card.
And now, without further adieu, the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards go to:
Doors: Quanex Top-Drain Sill
If history has taught us anything, it’s that any product preventing water intrusion is one that’s going to be of interest to door and window dealers and contractors. This year, it was Quanex’s new Top-Drain Sill that fetched a major vote of confidence. Designed by engineers at the company’s Homeshield Engineered Components division, this new entry-way component eliminates water intrusion via two layers of protection—a primary seal, that company officials say stops more than 99 percent of water, and a secondary channeling system.
Decorative: Therma-Tru Geometric and Pembridge
Therma-Tru recently broke the mold for decorative glass by introducing two new products aimed beyond modern and transitional. DWM readers clearly took notice of that change, voting this the most significant decorative glass product that we covered in 2018.
Pembridge features a diamond theme that comes with three caming options: black nickel, brushed nickel or brass, while the Geometric series leans more modern, with small cubes designed to deliver multidimensional effects. Encouraging factors may have also included the wide range of doors these products cover, as both work with the company’s Fiber-Classic, Smooth-Star, Pulse, Profiles and Traditions product lines. Geometric is also suited for Classic-Craft products.
Insulating: Guardian Vacuum IG
As one of DWM’s 2018 Green Award winners, it came as no surprise to us when Guardian Vacuum IG garnered more votes than any other glass product. With R-12 performance in an 8-mm-thick format, it’s easy to understand why this vacuum-sealed technology is considered somewhat of a marvel. And because the company uses tempered glass, Guardian Vacuum IG is thin enough to serve in everything from commercial to residential applications—including those requiring single-pane thickness (like historical renovations).
Windows: Deceuninck Rovex Xtreme Fiberglass
With performance that company officials say is as much as 700 times better than other materials, chances are it was thermal performance that made Deceuninck’s Rovex Xtreme Fiberglass window mullions a key choice among readers. With the same technology that goes into its Innergy rigid thermal reinforcements, company officials say its new mullions provide an excellent alternative to aluminum.
Profiles: Deceuninck Revolution XL
Of all the door and window profiles we wrote about in 2018, none received more votes than Deceuninck’s Revolution XL. Whether it’s the wide range of available products, including tilt and turn, and tilt and slide configurations, or the product’s ability to cover remodeling, replacement and new construction, Revolution XL was voted the most significant option among door and window profiles. Company officials point to the system’s compression seal technology for its ability to resist air and water infiltration, while also providing high thermal, acoustical and hurricane performance.
Frame, Moulding and Millwork: Cascade Wood Products Poly-Classic Frame Defence
Cascade has offered its Poly-Classic window parts for more than 20 years, but in 2018 the company announced it would offer the same rot-free, wood-like material in exterior door frames. Frame Defense adds the well-known protection against water absorption and rot where door frames need it most: the bottom end. This new option was a clear winner among DWM’s readers.
Spacer Product: Tremco EnerEDGE
While researching for our November issue, DWM editors dis-covered a way for insulating glass (IG) manufacturers to double the coverage allowances they receive for warranty issues on Tremco’s EnerEDGE warm-edge spacer system (by combining with the company’s EnerSEAL 332 hot-melt). Could that have been a deciding factor? We’re unable to say.
We suspect that EnerEDGE is a favorite partly based on performance, but also its suitability to such a wide range of insulating glass applications, as a pre-desiccated, ready-to-apply, cellular silicone warm-edge spacer.
Adhesives, Tapes, Seals, and Sealants
For Manufacturing: Ultrafab
In DWM’s November issue, Ultrafab announced that it plans to introduce a new flexible, adhesive-backed dust plug at WinDoor 2018. Less than a month later, the product nabbed an award, proving that readers must have been anticipating its arrival.
Company officials say its new plug offers a unique solution for products carrying specific requirements for sealing, while also providing a flexible base material that allows it to fit over uneven surfaces.
For Application: DAP Dynaflex Ultra Advanced Exterior Sealant
When we found an acrylic latex-based sealant for door and window installations that’s paint-ready in just one hour, we immediately inquired farther for DWM’s readers. We like to think that we did our jobs well, when they later voted DAP Products Inc.’s Dynafl ex Ultra Advanced Exterior Sealant a fan favorite.
The product is designed to provide strong adhesion to a wide variety of building substrates, including fiber cement, vinyl, aluminum, wood, stucco, brick and masonry, without cracking or fading. Be forewarned that the company does not suggest applying this product to house wraps, such as DuPont’s Tyvek, and other fluoropolymer-based substrates, like Teflon.
Machinery and Equipment
For Handling: Bystronic Easy-Lift
Bystronic’s Easy-Lift proves that a product doesn’t have to be new in order to garner readers’ attention. This product proved a fan favorite as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Two decades and 2,200 sales later, company officials say the product remains a top-selling option for glass-handling. For door and window manufacturers, Easy-Lift Window offers a safe, simple and functional design that provides accurate positioning via step-less, adjustable lifting speeds and adjustable suction pads.
For Prepping and/or Finishing: AquaSurTech FlamePro
We’re guessing that speed and automation were the deciding factors for AquaSurTech’s FlamePro automatic door cleaning machine. Company officials say this machine cycles in about 30 seconds, reducing the time for cleaning and prepping doors down to around a minute. In a time of labor shortages, readers may have been drawn to the product’s ability to eliminate overhead tied to labor and chemical washes, we suspect. It doesn’t hurt that FlamePro offers the flexibility of substrates ranging from smooth and textured fiberglass to primed and polytex steel, as well as PVC and other composite materials.
General: Stürtz Compact Sash Line SMI-HSM-20/20-Turbo
With labor shortages bearing down on door and window manufacturers in 2018, DWM’s editors found a lot of interest in the topic of automation. And that might be why, among all of the general machinery we covered, readers’ selected Stürtz SMI-HSM-20/20-Turbo.
This sash welding and cleaning line can run approximately 350 double-stack cycles in a standard shift. Combined with a four-head pass-through sash corner cleaner, the company says fabricators can produce up to 700 welded and cleaned sashes per shift with just a single operator—all while taking up less than 900 square feet of floor area.
Glass Assembly and Related: GED RoboSeal
GED grabbed plenty of attention in 2018 by offering up some of the most advanced, fully automated systems available. But the one that DWM’s readers found to be the most significant? RoboSeal. And after seeing this fully robotic and automated system in action at a trade show, we aren’t surprised that it was a number one selection.
As the first fully robotic system for gas fill, close and seal, company officials say RoboSeal’s three automated stations make for an efficient, high-quality fourth corner gas fill, close and seal for double- and triple-pane, Intercept-based insulating glass units. Seeing is believing for this modern marvel.
Software: FeneTech FeneVision ERP
FeneTech caught readers’ attention this year with the latest release of its FeneVision ERP software for door and window manufacturers. The fully integrated system operates on a graphical user interface running a single database, allowing employees to see what’s taking place on the production floor in real-time.
We expect it might have been the wide range of functions that this platform includes, across web and client-based quotation and order handling, pricing and costing, an integrated CAD for glass shapes, the dynamic creation of bills of materials, capacity planning, production scheduling, dynamic or batch glass cutting optimization, lineal optimization, tracking control, and mobile delivery. (Case in point: That was a mouthful!)
Testing: Argon Filling Systems Argon Check
Anything that saves time almost always proves an attention-getter. And this year Argon Filling Systems’ Argon Check did that by promising to get it right on the first reading. The low-cost, handheld and rapid feedback gas filling analyzer provides an accurate reading of initial fill percentage through a single reading. What’s more, company officials say that real-time readings ensure that no additional fill cycles should be required after testing. The sample probes provide point-of-fill readings to quickly determine manufacturing accuracies.
Display Items: Smith Case Low-E Glass Case
Whether it was dealers looking to illustrate the concept, or manufacturers adding to their exhibits, DWM’s readers took note of Smith Case’s Low-E Glass Case this year. Kits include a 250-watt red heat lamp and choice of a radiometer, temp gun or BTU meter, along with fully edge-wrapped glass samples. Glass options include single-, double- and triple-glazed non-coated, double-glazed with wall insulation, triple-glazed with aluminum foil and double-glazed low-E.
Coatings, Laminates and Finishes: Renolit Black Smooth 2 and Anthracite
One of the trends of 2018 is a movement toward darker colors in window frames. How strong is that trend? Strong enough to net a Readers’ Choice Award for new Black Smooth 2 (true black) and Anthracite (darker grey) colors from Renolit. Introduced for the company’s Exofol FX exterior film products, both offer new color and woodgrain selections to door and window substrates of PVC, aluminum, wood, composites and more.
Packaging and Shipping: ProVia’s New Packaging System
While most windows come shrink-wrapped and/or banded with corner and edge protections, ProVia took matters a step farther with a new system designed to provide full protection. The company’s replacement windows are now shipped to dealers in fully enclosed boxes made of corrugated cardboard. Clearly that’s something our readers felt is worth appreciating.
For Sliding, Rolling and/or Patio Doors and Windows: Roto Inowa
DWM spent a lot of time exploring hardware for rolling doors and windows. And this year, Roto’s Inowa stole the vote. Inowa, which stands for “Impermeable: No Water, No Air,” includes a continuous gasket system for placement around operable sashes, along with concealed lock points—including in the mullion area where sashes come together. Company officials say the design enhances the over-all performance and functionality of a sliding patio door, while providing a high levels of thermal performance.
Powered and/or Electronic: Microsoft, Apple and GoPro Otto Digital Lock
When you gather engineers across giants like Microsoft, Apple and GoPro, it’s safe to say that you can expect something pretty ingenious to result. This year, that collaboration produced an original encryption system on a lock that’s been tested to withstand even the abuse of “moody teenagers” (i.e. excessive door slams).Otto was tested by a dozen proprietary robots, which repeatedly slammed the product more than 100,000 times at 60G’s of force (two or three times more than an average door slam) and subjected it to more than 250,000 cycles of locking and unlocking.
General: AmesburyTruth Contemporary Family
AmesburyTruth’s new Contemporary Handle and Cover for its Encore Casement Operator netted more votes than any other under general hardware. We included the product in our WinDoor 2018 preview article, before the product was on display. Whether it was the cover’s sleek, straight-line design, modern colors across both painted and plated finishes, or the fact that it works across all of the company’s Encore operators—readers chose this product.
Though it isn’t a new product, FlexScreen continued to grab votes in 2018. With a high-performance, thermoplastic outer layer that won’t scratch, fade, chip or peel and a frame that’s composed of continuous, solid-core, spring steel wire, company officials say the product is designed to outlast other alternatives—most notably those with hollow aluminum frames. The product’s patented design incorporates no hardware and is simple to install and remove, even from a home’s interior.
Blinds Between Glass: ODL Blink
With new child safety requirements, it’s no surprise that blinds between the glass were of high interest in 2018—including ODL’s Blink. It doesn’t hurt that the product is avail-able in eight days or less, including custom sizes and six colors in both clear and low-E glass.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.