Imagine yourself in the following scenario: All things considered, your operations are running smoothly given the shared challenges our industry has dealt with for the past year. Your customers are getting solid products in a relatively timely manner, your fabrication process is operating efficiently, and overall quality concerns are low. However, high demand is necessitating you make and ship units quickly, making it more difficult to monitor every unit for minor quality lapses.

But it’s nearly time for you to renew your ASTM 2190 certification—and for an insulating glass (IG) fabricator, there’s perhaps no greater test of your units’ overall quality. Your batch of test units will be exposed to extreme, accelerated weathering conditions that can expose even the smallest defects. Certification depends on doing all the little things right, and you’ll most likely spend some extra time focusing on fabrication best practices in the run-up to your test.

This is the situation for a number of my customers right now, and our teams have been busy helping to conduct quality audits and other training measures to help them be certain of recertification. In some instances, this is when small errors that have seeped into regular production practices will reveal themselves. Some examples: Spacers aren’t being fully closed in the corners of units. Line workers may be applying spacers to wet glass, a condition that can compromise a reliable seal. Secondary sealants are being misapplied.

These errors happen for a range of reasons. Perhaps a recent hire didn’t receive the proper training. A rush to fulfill orders in the middle of busy season may have led even experienced line workers to overlook something. In any case, it’s not just during certification time when we should be paying close attention to quality and best practices for IG fabrication. And that brings us to today’s tip:

Continued focus on quality has year-round benefits.

While it’s sometimes easier said than done, consistent commitment to following best practices for IG assembly can lead to some significant benefits for your business.

Fewer Rejections

A higher rate of quality units produced inherently means fewer rejections. This means you can be sure you’re making the most of the raw materials you have on hand, not wasting them on rejected units.

Happier employees

An organizational commitment to quality production and making it a part of your workplace culture can have an impact on employee morale. At a time when it can be hard to keep people on the shop floor, demonstrating that your company cares about the work they’re doing, and taking the time to help them do it properly, can make a big difference in keeping workers engaged and productive.

Happier Customers

Of course, your customers expect a high-quality product that offers years of high performance. That level of satisfaction begins on your plant floor. Doing things properly at the start can help you avoid warranty claims and maintain your good reputation.

With these things in mind, it’s worth considering all the ways you can enhance your commitment to quality. Properly training your technicians on proper technique for IG fabrication is a good way to do it.  Close collaboration with your suppliers to regularly inspect and audit your application of their products is another. The challenges our industry faces today demand that we face them together.

Donna Hinkle is Senior Technical Services Representative for Quanex.

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