Sun Insulated Glass Production Facility


The Insulated Glass Unit

Sun has its own state-of-the-art insulated glass (I.G.) production facility, allowing us to produce high quality insulated glass units for each order. All phases of I.G. production are carefully monitored for quality control, glass testing and certification, to assure you that all Sun insulated glass units are produced to the highest standards.

Sun products use dual glazed insulated glass as standard. This is composed of 2 pieces of glass with a 1/2" hermetically sealed airspace between them. Standard Insulated Glass units are composed of one piece clear glass and one piece of high performance Low-E glass.

Sun uses the Duralite™ warm-edge glass spacer system for the best in thermal spacer performance. The sealed air space on all Low-E I.G. units is filled with Argon gas to increase thermal performance by slowing internal convection.

Tempered insulated glass units (both glass pieces) are standard on all door units. Triple glazing is available on some products.

Glass Cutte

Phase 1: Glass Cutting

Large sheets of flat glass are cut to size using our computer optimized and controlled automatic glass cutter. The glass specifications for each order are sent to our glass optimizer. These dimensions are arranged by the computer to maximize proficiency and minimize glass scrap. Once the calculations are complete, the optimizer triggers the loading of the correct glass sheet onto the float table and is then conveyed to the cutting head. The glass sheet is then automatically cut into the correct sizes for I.G. production. The glass operator then separates the cut pieces and loads them onto glass carts to be sent to the cleaning phase.

Glass Washe

Phase 2: Glass Cleaning

Before the glass can be assembled into an I.G. unit, it must first be thoroughly cleaned. The cut pieces of glass are taken from the glass carts and loaded onto a roller-conveyor that feeds them into a glass washer. This glass washer uses carefully maintained water and cleaner solutions to remove all impurities from all the glass surfaces. When the glass exits the washer on the conveyor system, it is inside a "clean room". This is an environmentally controlled room designed to keep the glass free from debris and contaminates that might otherwise mar the insulated glass unit. The clean room also provides the optimal temperature and humidity levels needed to assemble the I.G. unit.

Applying Duralite Space

Phase 3: Applying the Glass Spacer

After the glass is washed and has entered the clean room, it continues to move along the roller-conveyor system to the glass spacer application stage. Because Sun uses Duralite™ as our glass spacer, the spacer is applied in a single, continuous path following the perimeter of the glass. This is important primarily because it means that the I.G. unit will only have one corner seam that is sealed at the end of I.G. production. The other three corners are a continuous bend with no joint or seam. This helps gives our I.G. units an excellent hermetic seal and superior Argon gas retention. Most other I.G. systems require that each corner be mechanically joined and sealed. The Duralite™ spacer is applied by a robotic, computer controlled, application system. This ensures accurate, consistent application of the spacer.

Adding grilles between the glass

Phase 4: Applying Grilles Between the Glass

If the unit requires the inclusion of Grilles Between the Glass (or GBG), the glass with the spacer applied to it is then sent along the conveyor system to the Grille application station. An operator will then insert the proper GBG into the unit. The GBG is mounted by pin clips that fasten to the interior of the Duralite™ spacer. Accurate grille alignment is achieved by location points that are printed onto the spacer as it is applied to the glass (during the previous step). Once the GBG is inserted the glass sent to the assembly phase.

Butterfly table assembling the insulated glass unit

Phase 5: Assembling the Insulated Glass Unit

At this point we have one piece of glass with the Duralite™ spacer applied to it and, if required, a grille inserted. We also have the other piece of glass that goes on top of this to form the complete unit. It is sent from the washer down the other side of the conveyor system, bypassing spacer application and grille insert station. These two halves of the I.G. unit are sent along the conveyor to an automated butterfly assembly table. Each side of the side unit is automatically feed onto the butterfly table. The table then folds together, joining the top piece of glass to the other piece with the I.G. spacer. The assembled unit then flows out of the clean room to the final station.

Insulated glass unit entering heat press ove

Phase 6: The Seal

The assembled I.G. unit must now be feed into our glass seal oven. This oven heats the unit to a specific temperature and feeds the unit through a press that provides the final seal between the glass and the Duralite™ spacer.

Filling the insulated glass air space with Argon gas

Phase 7: Argon Gas

As the I.G. unit exits the seal oven, it is loaded onto an I.G. cart. The unit is loaded vertically with the fourth corner (still not sealed) at the top. The unit is then filled with Argon gas using FastGas with Thermal Check and the fourth corner is sealed.

FastGas with Thermal Check is a computer controlled gas filling system that monitors the amount of Argon as it fills the I.G. unit. This systems provides accurate and consistent filling of every I.G. unit to ensure that the air space is filled to capacity and the fourth corner is properly sealed.

View FastGas web page

Why use Argon to fill the sealed air space?

Argon is an inert gas that is heavier than air. Filling the airspace with Argon makes the sealed airspace more thermally efficient. This occurs because Argon, being heavier than air, slows the convection effect of the unit.

Convection, in this case, is the movement of the air within the sealed airspace caused when one side of the I.G. is exposed to one temperature and the other side is exposed to a different temperature. That temperature imbalance causes air movement. The greater the temperature difference, the greater the amount of air movement or convection. In the winter, the cold outside temperature meets the outside surface of the glass. The warm inside temperature meets the interior glass surface. Convection within the I.G. unit moves the cold temperature from the outside glass surface toward the inside glass surface. Eventually, this results in a colder interior glass surface and heat loss.

Filling the airspace with Argon effectively slows down convection, making the insulated glass unit more thermally efficient. Therefore, Argon retention is very important to the long term efficiency of an insulated glass unit. Different spacer systems having varying degrees of effectiveness in retaining Argon. Most do not retain Argon effectively for the life of the I.G. unit. Duralite™ however, offers the best Argon retention of all the current I.G. spacer systems and will remain effective for the life of the I.G. unit.

Argon retention is only part of the critical importance of the I.G. seal. The other, of course, is that if an I.G. unit seal fails it will reduce its overall thermal performance and, additionally, allow moisture and minute particles to enter the interior of the I.G. unit. Eventually, this will create a dirty film inside the unit and obscure the view through the glass.