Readers’ Choice AwardsJuly 21st, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
The Industry Points to Key Trends and Features
From product releases and trade shows to good old-fashioned research—every year [DWM]’s editors do their best to bring you a roundup of the industry’s best products. From new to old what’s greatest, however, is subjective. That’s where you come in.
Gathered from every issue, products were organized into 25 categories. Through an annual survey, our readers were then asked to vote for the products they see as “most significant.”
From doors and windows to technologies and hardware, the results of this year’s survey proved revealing, as voting percentages showed clear distinctions for what readers are looking for. Among doors and windows, it was thermal performance, along with a clear distinction for hybrid designs and composite materials. Among equipment, readers zeroed in on anything speed related that also reduces labor, while in software and technologies 75% voted for features relating to product identification and tracking.
As a special thank you for participating, we awarded one lucky respondent, selected at random, with a $100 gift card.
And now, a look at the results:
Simpson Door Company – Monster Doors: The trend for oversized doors continued in 2019, making it no surprise that [DWM]’s readers homed in on a product with the word “monster” in its name. Simpson’s Monster Doors extend the size of the company’s wood doors to as much as 10 feet wide and 12 feet tall for interior and exterior applications. The product cashes in on other trends as well by offering barn door or pivot mounts. Combined, these features snagged nearly one third of all votes in this category.
Andersen Corp. – Architectural Collection MultiGlide: In a category that was flooded with contenders, Andersen’s MultiGlide door pulled off an impressive win—with a full third of the votes. [DWM]’s readers commented that they appreciate the product’s ability to provide views up to 50 feet wide and 10 feet tall. With sliding glass panels up to 60 inches wide, the product commands attention.
Doors & Windows: New Designs/Features
Quaker Windows and Doors – OptiCore: With such wide-ranging features to compete against, a win for OptiCore in this category is another clear indicator that [DWM]’s readers are looking for added thermal performance.
Quaker officials suggest the company’s newly patented OptiCore technology is “changing the face of architectural window design.” The technology allows aluminum-framed and windows clad with natural wood, aluminum or two-tone aluminum interiors to achieve U-values ranging from 0.24 for double-pane casements to 0.14 with triple-pane glazing.
Doors & Windows: Series
Marvin – Modern: Marvin’s Modern series of doors and windows made its debut at the AIA Conference on Architecture in fall 2018, starting with multi-slide doors and direct-glaze windows. Additional options have been added since and just a year later the series was a clear winner.
Modern allows architects and builders to lean on narrow site lines while choosing a proprietary, high-density fiberglass exterior, aluminum interior and patent-pending frame design for thermal and structural performance.
Doors & Windows: Thermal Control Features
Novatech – NHP Doors: Starting with the 2019 International Builders’ Show and throughout the year, we noticed a trend toward better thermal performance among doors and windows made of metal and steel. If the close count in this category is any indication, interest is strong.
When compared to most other standard doors, officials for Novatech say its new NHP doors have 1 ⁄2-inch of additional insulating foam. The product’s 2-1 ⁄4-inch slab also accommodates triple-pane glass, which is available with a second low-E coating. That’s a lot of insulating.
Equipment – Glass/Glass-Related
Erdman Automation – High Speed Dura: Sticking with the theme of increased speed and decreased labor, Erdman’s High Speed Dura line stole the vote by producing insulating glass units (IGUs) at nearly twice the rate of traditional vertical lines, according to company officials. Vertical production eliminates the need to tip a unit up to four times in the production sequence,
saving time and eliminating the potential for injury. Total labor line is three to four operators per 1,200 units per shift versus eight to 10 operators for 1,000 units on a traditional line.
Equipment: Screening, Finishing, Misc.
Winpro – Screen Express: When our editors wrote the words “up to 38-inch by 80-inch screens can be produced in cycle times of just 30 seconds,” we knew that Winpro was on to something. Our survey proved that notion.
A newly redesigned version of its Screen Express automatically inserts spline into the grooves of screens, helping to eliminate labor. The unit features numerous enhancements over previous models, including z-axis positioning with handwheel and counter for better height control and faster changeovers.
Equipment – Storage/Handling
Wakefield Equipment – K-51DV Flipping Table/Conveyor: With labor shortages hanging over the industry and bigger doors to handle, it’s no surprise that more readers placed their checkmarks next to this product than any other in the category. Wakefield’s unit is designed to allow one person to handle large doors and windows—something that often requires at least two people. Ergonomic features help to further ensure safety, making this product a win-win for manufacturers.
Films, Coatings and Finishes
American Renolit – New Woodgrain Films: With new technologies designed to resist scratching and heat build-up, and through a wider variety of woodgrain patterns, film manufacturers edged their way into more products in 2019. This category proved to be a tight race, but American Renolit drew the vote from more than a third of participants. Last year, the company introduced films designed to match everything from modern farmhouse designs to city lofts.
Frames, Jambs, Sills, Stops and Mouldings
Quanex Building Products – FirstStep Composite Sill: When it comes to doors, few components add more value than rot-resistant features. (No one wants that callback.) The FirstStep composite sill leans on the success of other customizable thresholds, like the 5Y and 5C, drawing a vote of confidence from [DWM]’s readers. The product includes a rot-resistant composite base, a solid aluminum deck and a variety of natural-looking woodgrain rail options.
Glass, Frames, Treatments and Screens
Andersen Corp. – Expanded Options for BBG on 400 Series Frenchwood Patio Door: In a category that drew everything from snap-fit frames to grills and screens, it was blinds between glass (BBG) that drew the most attention—a combined 50% to be exact. Andersen’s BBGs for its 400 Series aren’t new, but clearly [DWM]’s readers were pleased with the introduction of more options.
Starting in mid-April, the company began offering its BBG in white for its Sandtone, Terratone, Forest Green and white exterior doors.
AmesburyTruth – Sentry 45.63 Contemporary Hinged Door Handle: Officials for AmesburyTruth say its new handle is designed with larger, modern-hinged doors in mind. The product provides the industry-standard 92 mm spacing between handle and thumb turn. The thumb turn is located above the handle to allow for easier access to the key cylinder, and it can also be inverted for European-style locking. The product is available in both sliding and hinged door applications.
Hardware: Components for Big Doors & Windows
Roto North America – X-Drive Heavy Duty Casement Hardware System: When it comes to hardware made for oversized products (and what even is oversized these days?) nearly a third went for Roto’s X-Drive system. Roto has moved the spotlight from oversized doors to casement windows, which its X-Drive system moves reliably with operator track and hinges that are designed to function in unison. X-Drive requires the same tools and methods for installation as regular casement hardware, but supports windows up to 200 lbs. in weight with up to 40- by 90-inch sashes.
Hardware: Door and Window Components
AmesburyTruth – SafeGard 2: For our survey, we asked each participant to weigh in on which products they felt were “most significant.” We’re proud to say that among hardware components, they zeroed in on a product that’s potentially life saving.
As AmesburyTruth’s second-generation window opening control device (WOCD) for casement windows, SafeGard 2 addresses the issue of child safety and fall prevention and meets the ASTM F2090-17 standard for devices with emergency escape release mechanisms. The product also offers the added benefits of a dual-release mechanism. The WOCD relatches automatically and is fully concealed when windows are closed.
ODL – Flat Profile Frame for Severe Weather Door Glass: With code requirements in coastal areas and increased interests in resilient building, there’s no shortage of need for hurricane-rated products. The fact that nearly a quarter of all respondents selected ODL’s new, flat-profile door frame indicates a need for products that meet these needs while also delivering on the latest trends.
Designed to provide modern aesthetics, officials for ODL say the company’s new frame is also designed to add strength and security to entry doors.
Packaging/Shipping and Transport
Doorframer Inc. – Double Door Bottom Retainer: It was an extremely narrow race among products in this category, but ultimately readers decided that Doorframer’s Double Door Bottom Retainer was most significant in 2019. The product offers flexibility by securing via screws fastened through the door bottom or by using a runner. The retainer prevents doors from sagging, while also securing them from moving laterally.
Parts and Components: Doors, General Endura Products – FrameSaver Fusionframe: Officials for Endura say installers appreciate the product’s removable jamb stop cover and adjustable brickmould. After drawing more than half of all votes in this category, we’re apt to believe it. The product even includes a built-in level, so you can leave yours in the truck. “Rippable” jamb widths, and a full portfolio of jambs, brickmoulds and mull profiles provide added flexibility, while a rigid wood core is capable of supporting side-lite and hinged patio door systems.
Parts and Components: Glass/Windows Quanex – Super Spacer: Super Spacer proves that a product doesn’t have to be new on the block in order to get readers’ attention. “This product has been in the marketplace for 30 years. It’s been tested and proven, and they have a range for any project. The quality and service are fantastic,” commented one reader.
More than 10 billion feet of the company’s warm-edge spacer has been used in homes, buildings, solar panels and refrigeration units across the globe. Suited for modern, high-speed spacer processing equipment, the product is as relevant as ever, garnering a whopping 68% of votes.
AmesburyTruth – Precept Touch Actuator: You might expect options like electronic locks and touch actuators to be more consumer-oriented, but clearly door and window companies also take note of these features, as they look to provide for their customers. AmesburyTruth grabbed the attention of attendees at GlassBuild by incorporating a giant, mock iPhone into its booth for hands-on demos. The company’s actuator allows electronic locking and unlocking of sliding doors with the touch of a button and the ability to check status via a related app and internet connection.
Quanex – Edgetherm 3600: In a category that was packed with competitors, Quanex walked away with a clear victory—gathering nearly half of all votes. Edgetherm 3600 is a hot-melt butyl sealant that’s suited to high-speed applications.
“This sealant outperforms anything else in the HMB category and it is easily handled so quickly after application it’s amazing,” commented one reader.
Software: AR, VR and Visualizers
Andersen Corp. – Augmented-Reality-Based Software: It was a narrow victory in a category with impressive options, but Andersen’s new augmented-reality-based software proved to be the choice among visualizers. The application allows the company’s customers to utilize an iOS-based app for the iPad to overlay its Renewal brand products over their existing windows.
FeneTech – FeneVision Ultimate: When it comes to software for manufacturing, it was a tight race between Fenetech and, well, Fenetech. The latest version of FeneVision Ultimate, the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, drew 29% of votes. The runner up? FenML, the company’s cloud-based communication platform that’s designed specifically for the fenestration industry.
The latest release of FeneVision Ultimate includes web- and client-based quotation and order handling, pricing and costing, capacity planning, production scheduling, dynamic/batch glass cutting optimization and more.
GED Integrated Solutions – Wintrax: What a year it was for technologies. With 75% of votes going to systems for tracking and identifying products, it’s clear that those are the developments readers looked for in 2019. GED’s Wintrax walked away with nearly half the votes.
WinTrax is an intelligent logistics system that utilizes RFID to not only eliminate the need for barcodes, but to automatically track materials and products throughout the manufacturing process.
EDTM – Credit Card Sized Low-E Detectors: Trade shows are great venues for judging interest and at GlassBuild America 2019, this is one product we heard a lot of attendees talking about. Debuted at the show, EDTM’s new detectors pack an impressive amount of technology into a form factor that’s as small as a credit card.
The AE2200 Low-E Card is a disposable offering that performs up to one thousand tests to identify the presence of low-E coatings on single lites of glass, while the AE2250 Low-E Card+ includes a replaceable battery and adds the capability for differentiating whether coatings are on surface one, surface two or if glass is uncoated.
Andersen Corp. – 100 Series: In recent years, Andersen has gone all in on products made of Fibrex (the company’s proprietary wood-plastic composite material), even expanding to accommodate greater production. If our survey is any indication, the company is likely headed in a good direction, as its 100 Series won out among windows. Some readers commented for their preference of Fibrex over vinyl. Billed as “environmentally responsible and energy efficient,” according to company information, Fibrex is twice as strong and includes a finish that’s 12 times thicker than painted vinyl, withstanding temperatures of up to 150 degrees F.
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