Volume 8, Issue 9 - October 2007
AAMA Donates to Hurricane Research Effort
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is supporting the efforts of wind engineering researchers at the University of Florida (UF), who are examining wind-driven rain at structural height during hurricane landfall. Rich Walker, president and chief executive officer of AAMA, announced a donation of $60,000 to purchase a precipitation imaging probe (PIP), manufactured by Droplet Measurement Technologies during the association’s National Summer Conference.
The probe is designed to capture high-resolution measurements of rainfall intensity. Dr. Forrest Masters, assistant professor of civil and coastal engineering, will deploy the instrument on a specially designed, rugged tower hours before a hurricane’s landfall to capture the storm’s worst conditions. Using real-time cellular and satellite uplinks, data from the PIP also will be available in real-time to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologists and state and federal emergency managers.
“Beyond the ability of a building to physically withstand hurricane winds, water intrusion through doors, windows and walls remain a recurring issue,” says John Lewis, AAMA technical director. “Although most residential and commercial buildings built to recent codes will survive structurally, rain penetration often causes significant interior damage, occupant displacement, business interruption and extensive restoration expenses. Code officials, architects and manufacturers of exterior building products are questioning the real-world effectiveness of water intrusion test standards under hurricane conditions as referenced by modern building codes.”
The AAMA Southeast Region currently is developing a Voluntary Specification for Rating the Severe Wind-Driven Rain Resistance of Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights.
“Instead of the usual pass/fail measurements, this AAMA specification applies a spectrum of pulsating pressure and rain loads and determines how well a product performs in severe wind-driven rain,” Lewis says. “The research, underway at the University of Florida, will further the value of the AAMA specification by quantifying hurricane-driven rain and its effects on residential and light commercial construction.”
Data from the PIP devices collected during this and upcoming Atlantic hurricane seasons will be used to establish a catalog of “wind-driven rain scenarios” for different storm intensities impacting various terrains. The information will be used to calibrate the rain field produced by UF’s mobile windstorm simulator to recreate hurricane-force winds and wind-driven rain at a sufficient scale to test low-rise components and cladding systems. Utilizing four 700-horsepower Detroit Diesel engines and hydraulic drive units to power eight 54-inch vane axial fans, this apparatus will produce hurricane force winds and wind-driven rain at its 10- by 10-foot exit.
Actual full-size structural mockups will be evaluated in realistic hurricane conditions, according to Lewis. All research will be coordinated with established program partners such as AAMA, as well as Florida building code officials.
In addition to its work with UF, AAMA has created a Wall Interface Materials Council. The new council will provide technical, regulatory, legislative, marketing and certification support to AAMA membership in connection with wall interface materials, components and systems.
Leonard Dorin of Fortifiber Building Systems Group and Ron Gzell of Schnee-Morehead Inc. were named interim vice-presidents for the council, which will serve both the Architectural Product and Residential Product Groups. Reporting to the new Wall Interface Materials Council will be the AAMA Sealants and Adhesives Committee and its various sub-task groups, according to Walker.
LEGAL AND LEGISLATION
Guerry E. Green, president and owner of Screen Tight, which manufactures and sells solid-core vinyl screen doors and products related to screen doors, brought a patent infringement action against Snavely Forest Products Co. on October 16, 2002, alleging that Snavely’s screen doors directly infringe upon his patent-in-suit, U.S. Patent No. 6,250,040 (“the ‘040 patent”), according to court documents.
On May 12, 2005, Snavely requested a summary judgment, asserting that the product did not literally infringe the ‘040 patent. On March 30, 2006, the court granted Snavely’s request for summary judgment in part, stating that it will “remain open as to the question of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents only.” The court amended its March 30, 2006, order on May 5, 2006. The second opinion and judgment, entered in favor of Snavely on July 24, 2006, was on the last remaining issue in the case, which was infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. After the second judgment in favor of Snavely, which ended the lawsuit in Snavely’s favor, Green appealed the case to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. Following legal briefing by the parties and an oral argument on March 6, 2007, the Federal Circuit Court entered an order on May 3, 2007, affirming the district court’s opinions and judgments in favor of Snavely.
“We are extremely pleased with the appellate court’s order affirming the trial court’s decision, which validates what we have argued for almost five years—that the design and production of Snavely’s reinforced vinyl screen doors did not infringe upon Green’s patent,” says Mark A. Grace, an attorney for Cohen and Grigsby, and director of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. Green, however, says he still believes the patent is invalid.
“The door which Snavely has patented incorporates features that we believe the consumer will find to be dysfunctional and deceptive. Further legal action could be forthcoming if Snavely strays from the claims made by them to the court,” Green says.
Fibertec Window and Door Mfg. Plans to Move
With the recent move to the new facility, Fibertec will be adding another side slider to complement its existing product lines. The added space also will allow the company to automate more and set up a high-speed sealed unit glass line.
In addition to the five-year term, the contract calls for wage and benefit enhancements, as well as a gain sharing provision for the manufacturing employees, that will be also provided to all regular, non-union, hourly employees. The new gain sharing program will cement a strong partnership between the company and its employees, and align all company resources in maintaining strong business relationships with its customers, meeting flexible production demands, improving quality and achieving 99-percent on-time and complete shipments.
Jay Hoffer, president of BiltBest Products, says, “We are extremely pleased with the new union agreement. The negotiations were conducted in an environment of mutual respect, openness, and a desire on both sides to achieve an agreement that is a win for our company, our employees and our customers. BiltBest employees are hard-working, dedicated people and are our most valuable resource ...”
SAGE Electrochromics Secures Financing
SAGE’s patented technology, trademarked SageGlass®, is used to manufacture windows and skylights that can be darkly tinted to block sunlight and heat, or cleared, depending on the needs of the end user. U.S. Department of Energy studies have shown that approximately 5 percent of all the U.S. energy consumed is lost due to the inefficiencies of building windows.
Barber and Ross Temporarily Closed
BSI-Balance Systems Expands into New N.C. Facility
“The opportunity to consolidate our BSI block and tackle and Omega constant force window balance manufacturing into a new facility will result in operating efficiencies, as well as allow for additional space for distribution and improved service of our window hardware customers throughout the East Coast,” says Peter Lariviere, senior vice president of the window hardware division.
KeepSafe Maximum® Program Gets Enhancements
Early in the development of the residential hurricane mitigation market, Saflex recognized that residential door and window manufacturers would benefit from partnering with them to develop, test and market systems to meet new stringent building codes. To address this, Saflex started the KeepSafe Maximum Partner Program. As a result, a majority of Program Partners are experiencing substantial growth in the residential hurricane window and door market.
“As this market becomes more competitive, it’s very important that window manufacturers understand builder and consumer preferences,” says Stephany Davenport, residential programs manager. “To facilitate this understanding, Saflex provides situational analysis and strategic planning support to help partners better understand the channel and identify and develop stronger marketing and promotional plans.”
Gorell Expands Manufacturing Operations
In recent months, the company also has introduced a variety of new product options, including InterBlinds™ for windows, a cherry wood interior finish, retractable roller screens on patio doors and coated EZ-Glass™, which helps keep doors and windows clean.
HT Troplast for Sale
The two companies bought HT Troplast early in 2005 for a reported 300 million euros (approximately $413.6 million today).
Sources in Europe, who wished to remain anonymous because the company is in play, explained to DWM that some years ago when HT Troplast was being prepared to be sold by Ruttgers AG, the company implemented the PVC window brand Profine as the parent for its KBE, Kommerling and Trocal brands.
“Profine, or maybe more accurately Profine Group, was created just to be a company to be bought by investors,” a source says. “I guess if HT is going to be sold, there is a good chance that the PVC window activities, Profine, will be sold again.”
Speculation is that the Profine companies will be kept together, as they are the biggest PVC window fabricator and seller in Europe. Dismantling the company to sell the different brands does not seem likely because that would take away the market advantage of the biggest European producer as well as the synergy of the different elements.
The source did tell DWM that, with different PVC window brands in the market in Eastern Europe, it might make sense to buy some parts of Profine if the buyer had interests in a particular country where those brands could be used.
TruSeal Technologies Earns ISO 9001:2000 Recertification
Truseal manufactures its Dura platform of warm-edge spacer products in Barbourville, including Duralite™, a new no-metal spacer that the company says is highly efficient.
The globally recognized International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 9001 registration serves as the international reference for quality requirements in business-to-business dealings. Truseal says that it continues to fulfill all requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 standard, demonstrating its ability to consistently provide warm-edge spacer products that aim to enhance customer satisfaction.
Pella Corp. Named to Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” List
A total of 446 companies sought to be included on the 2007 Fortune list in which 100,000 workers evaluated their employers.
Attendees played golf the first day with Mike Valentine of TBP Converting finishing with the lowest gross score of 80 and John Thompson of Guardian Industries with the lowest net score of 77. In the scramble, a team made up of Chuck Anderson and Rick Keup of Simonton and Bob Moyers and Ernie Foltz of Bob Moyers Sales took first place with a score of 60. The second-place team was made up of Terry Rex of BF Rich, Kim Fondrk of Amesbury, Eric Mount and Erin Borowicz of Regenex.
Erik Katchur of the 3M Co. took the award for the longest drive for men, and Erin Borowicz of Regenex took the award for the longest drive for women. Dan Rozelman of Sturtz Machinery won the “closest to the pin” award.
A sunset barbecue followed.
Attendees were able to participate in three sessions on the second day: “Finding Leads in a Down Market” by Gale Brown of Lead Builders, “Window Warranties that Work” by DWM president Debra Levy, who briefed the group on DWM’s exclusive survey about warranties and Bradley P. Boone, senior account representative for PPG Industries, who spoke about “Glass Options That Sell Windows.”
The group will hold its winter meeting January 14-15, 2008, at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
The VAT rebate rate for glass was lowered from 11 percent to 5 percent, a 6-percent drop.
This rate reduction results in additional export costs that must either be absorbed by the exporter or passed on to overseas customers.
Sources in China told DWM that for some glass producers the VAT rebate is the majority of their profit. Speculation is that glass export prices will increase.
Officials with Ernst and Young explain that the VAT refunds have played an important role in keeping export prices low. By changing the VAT refund rates, the government can, to a certain extent, encourage or discourage exportation of the affected products.
The new rebate rate went into effect July 1. Most of the products included in the change fall into the category of high polluting, high energy consumption or export of China’s natural resources. The production of glass fits most comfortably into the energy consumption slot.
ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS
"The decision to partner with Pro-Build was made with our valued customers in mind," says J. Scott Henderson, president of NuAir. "We strive for complete customer satisfaction with our products and services, and we believe the Pro-Build partnership will ensure that every installation of a NuAir product is done with care and craftmanship.
"Pro-Build is a building products supplier that also installs windows, exterior doors, siding and interior trim packages.
With Pro-Build handling installation, the NuAir team will focus on what we do best," adds Henderson. In the coming year, the company will introduce a new line of vinyl windows and other high-performance products. It will also work to ensure that all NuAir products meet the new Florida code.
All current NuAir installation customers will be transitioned to Pro-Build over the course of the coming months.
“We developed the BICA (which stands for Best in Class Award) several years ago to recognize truly exemplary companies that stand out in our surveys,” says John Cashmore, president of MRA.
“Our national survey is unique in that it is conducted using an unaided, out-bound telephone method. Only those individuals who have direct responsibility for purchasing windows were surveyed. This means the overall results show Simonton was freely mentioned as a top-of-mind quality company more than any other vinyl window manufacturer.”
PGT Recognized for Industry Contributions
The company was honored for its contributions to advance hurricane preparedness and mitigation techniques. The company also recently received the Executive Director’s Award from the Fenestration Manufacturers Association (FMA) for its advisory role to various building code committees and work groups.
JELD-WEN Announces Winners of Student Door Design Contest
The winning door design created by Williams is based on the traditional Dutch door, a style that has a 400-year-old history. However, unlike the traditional Dutch door that is simply split in half, Williams’ design includes six individual hinged wood and glass panels that can be opened separately—giving it a very contemporary, modern flair.