In response to growing demand for larger glazed openings, Viracon, the largest single-source glass fabricator in the United States, has expanded its fabrication capabilities to meet the need for oversized coated glass. New and updated equipment now allows Viracon to offer the enhanced capabilities across all its fabrication processes.
“As the trend toward floor-to-ceiling (or slab-to-slab) glass has become more prominent in building design, we’ve had architects requesting increasingly larger glass sizes,” says Brad Austin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Viracon. premium oversized glass is also available in sizes up to 84 inches by 165 inches or 96 inches by 144 inches.
“Until now, architects had to work with European suppliers for oversized sputter coated glass. We saw a clear gap in the North American marketplace. Architects want high light transmittance and need superior energy performance – all in big sizes. Since Viracon specializes in customized architectural glass make-ups, we felt we could meet this challenge. With our new and upgraded equipment in place for coated glass fabrication, we enhanced our capabilities for laminated, tempered and insulating glass. At the same time, we installed equipment to handle heavier glass constructions. Today, we’re able to meet nearly any architectural glass need throughout the country.”
Viracon expects to see large sized glass specified for use in lobbies of large office buildings, hotels and in store fronts. “However, we’ve already had several requests come in for entire buildings to be done with oversized glass,” continues Austin. “In fact, there are already several prominent projects currently under construction requiring these new capabilities.”
The new fabrication capabilities allow for processing a standard width of up to 84 inches and a standard length of up to 144 inches. The new sizes are offered in any glass or coating available from Viracon, including monolithic, laminated and insulating glass. Oversized glass sizes are available from both Viracon’s Owatonna, Minnesota and Statesboro, Georgia plants.
Premium oversized pieces require a technical review and may not be available in all processes. Viracon recommends a 65 square foot maximum for heat-treated glass and a 50 square foot maximum for annealed glass products.
“Oversized glass presents some special challenges,” according to Larry Kunkel, vice president of manufacturing at Viracon. “A complex make-up can get extremely heavy. We’ve already done a job that reached nearly 2000 pounds (the maximum weight limit), when ordinary glass make-ups average around 500 lbs. Not only did we have to customize our coating equipment, we had to purchase new handling equipment for all stations at both plants. Handling glass this heavy presents additional safety challenges. This was a significant investment on Viracon’s part, but we are already seeing great interest in our oversized capability from architects.”