(This article was updated June 28, 2023.)

Researchers at the University of Maryland found that people remember information better when it’s presented in virtual environments. Perhaps that was the premise employed by thin-glass manufacturer Corning Inc. when it hosted its “Advanced Windows Virtual Experience” last week. The company used Spatial.io, a web-based, virtual meeting platform, to announce a new material and manufacturing process for thin-triple insulating glass units (IGUs). Attendees were required to navigate and interact via avatars in a video-game-like format. “I feel like I’m playing a video game at work,” one attendee commented.

Corning’s event used Spatial.io, a web-based, virtual meeting platform that requires attendees to navigate and interact via avatars.

The event drew the participation of door and window manufacturer PGT Innovations (PGTI), which partnered with Corning to produce a new breed of thin, laminated glass, and a program for producing thin-triple IGUs. PGTI plans to use its new laminated Diamond Glass and thin-triple IGUs in its own products, while marketing them to other door and window manufacturers.

Dubbed Architectural Technical Glass (ATG), Corning’s new material is touted as a replacement for standard soda lime glass “to enable advanced performance at a lighter weight and a smaller footprint,” when compared to standard triple-pane IGUs. Paired with the company’s new production line, ATG includes “a family of thin, lightweight glass technologies and process innovations for windows.”

Via these new glass technologies, Corning and PGTI have zeroed in on the potential of a new thin-glass format as a solution for Energy Star 7.0, which is set to take effect in October 2023. According to Corning’s internal analysis using industry software, thin-triple IGUs with ATG meet Energy Star requirements in all regions of the U.S., company officials said.

In 1964, Corning invented what it calls the “fusion” process for creating thin glass, revolutionizing the market for thin-panel TVs. Now they’re hoping they can do the same for windows via triple- and quad-pane IGUs utilizing a new 0.5 mm glass for their inner lites. In its presentations, the company looked to dispel many of the concerns and challenges associated with handling thin glass in production. The product is one sixth the thickness and thermal expansion is one third of what’s found in traditional soda glass, said Erica Lawes, product line manager for the Advanced Windows division.

“By incorporating an ATG thin-triple into your window package and as thermal requirements shift with both Energy Star and local and state standards and regulations, you’re set up with a runway to achieve a U-factor of even 0.17,” Lawes said. At the same time, she touted the fact that room-side low-E coatings aren’t required to achieve such levels of performance. The company also drummed on the differences in weight, bulk and safety factors, when compared to standard triple-pane IGUs.

When it comes to cost, Corning reported that the price of its new product comes in just above that of baseline, double-pane IGUs. According to the company, its new thin-triple ATG is the lowest cost option for meeting and exceeding Energy Star 7.0 requirements, but with a caveat: only when drawing on available rebates and incentives. In some cases, homeowners can “stack” local and federal programs to receive numerous rebates and credits on the same products, said Justin Whitcomb, assistant product line manager for the Advanced Windows division.

In Connecticut, for instance, a state program offers $100 per window for Energy Star rated products with U-factor ratings of 0.20 or better, Whitcomb said. At the same time, a Wakefield municipal program offers incentives that, when combined with state rebates, make products with the company’s thin-triple IGUs less expensive than those with double-pane IGUs and similar performance, Whitcomb said. The company’s presentation failed to mention whether those same stacked incentives could be applied to products with double-pane IGUs.

While Corning promoted its new thin-triple ATG for performance and cost benefits, director Michelle Engarto addressed concerns associated with handling. Engarto said Corning’s ATG material is 85% more flexible than standard float glass, which she admitted makes production a bit of a challenge. That admission made the perfect segue to Corning Thin Line, a production lineup the company created for manufacturing thin-triples and other IGUs.

While displaying a schematic of Corning Thin Line, Engarto explained how the company’s manufacturing line can be used to produce a “wide variety” of standard IGU products, including double-, triple- and quad-pane IGUs, as well as shapes and thin-triples utilizing ATG. The system includes a dedicated cutting station, washing, and an IGU line that loads and processes in vertical orientation. A cutting cell has been optimized for glass that’s under 1 mm in thickness. ATG is automatically unloaded from carts and transported through wash units that are specially designed to prevent breakage. A robotic system then applies spacer materials, followed by a gas filling station.

A video presentation provided by PGTI announced that through a “first of its kind collaboration” with Corning, the company has debuted its laminated Diamond Glass and thin-triple IGUs. Diamond Glass weighs up to 45% less than standard laminated glass and is three times as scratch resistant, the company reported. “With the launch of our thin-triple IGU, featuring ATG, PGTI will be the first manufacturer in the U.S. window and door market to offer such a product,” the video said.

PGTI is establishing a dedicated glass plant where it plans to produce Diamond Glass and thin-triples for use by other door and window manufacturers.

1 Comment

  1. What window companies are the first to use your thin glass innovation? When will they be for sale? 845-942-2199

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