Engineering the Future

Details are the Difference

11:24:10 AM on 08/05/2010

We all love new technology that makes our lives better-I know I do.  Cell phones, computers and automobiles all enrich our lives in very visible ways. But what about the inventions the average Joe doesn’t think about, but is exposed to everyday? Things like thermally broken curtain wall systems, double glazed windows and screw spline technology are common to industry professionals, but probably foreign words to everyone else.  So what makes certain products more popular than others within a given market?  Slick marketing?  Maybe. Pricing? To a degree.  What I contend makes the biggest difference is the subtle differences in the product designs.

Cell phones with Qwerty keyboards versus a standard keypad, standard transmission versus automatic or even 1080i versus 1080p HDTV’s exemplify the subtle differences that can drastically affect the way a consumer differentiates products. For the companies in the business of repeatedly creating new technology, engineering the details are an essential part of developing new and exciting products. When dealing with new ideas, materials and configurations few of us can get it exactly right the first time. Thomas Edison took over 2.5 years and 1000 attempts to develop a working light bulb. Henry Ford spent 12 years between his first car design and the famous Model T that brought Ford Motor Company prominence. Everything from simple rubber bands to complex military aircraft requires testing different materials, components, alignments and processes to maximize the new product's potential.

We at Kawneer spend a great deal of resources developing the next generation of new products for our customers. Unlike some, we have increased our drive to produce new products during this economic downturn. With construction standards such as the ASTM, AAMA and LEED developing more stringent requirements we look to be proactive in developing the next exciting product to meet these new codes, not simply reactive to codes being published.  Our new Trifab® 451UT offers unbeatable thermal performance, while our new Clearwall™ curtain wall product allows architects and glaziers the ability to achieve a monolithic look faster and cheaper without compromising safety. These feats were not achieved overnight, but with the constant “tweaking” to the designs. Many months were spent designing and testing different versions of the products until the right combination of form, function and practicality met in the middle. Clearwall2

Clearwall™ Curtain Wall is an innovative 4-sided Toggle Glazed (TG) curtain wall system that has multiple patents pending and a new breakthrough glass retaining mechanism.  The key to the glass retaining system is in the detais, or more specifically the toggle assemblies.  learn more >

Detail of Toggle assembly shown at left.
<< Click image to enlarge

So why should all the behind the scenes engineering matter to you? After all there are many manufacturers producing good products which meet the minimum spec. Who cares who spent more time developing the tiniest of details? WE DO! Sometimes the smallest details have significant impacts. Do you remember the blurred vision of the Hubble telescope due to an incorrect mirror size? After spending $2 billion creating the world’s greatest telescope the first space pictures came back fuzzy thanks to a mirror that had been made too flat by 2.2 microns, rendering the $2 billion telescope no better than one you could buy off eBay®! To put that in perspective a human hair is about 100 microns. Now that is an infinitesimal detail. The little details matter and that is what Kawneer engineers do best. 

Trifab451UT-Sill - Detail showing "dual" IsoLock® thermal break

Kawneer's new Trifab® 451UT (Ultra Thermal) Framing System, a new enhancement to the trusted and versatile Trifab® platform. The improved thermal performance and increased energy efficiency is accomplished by employing a "dual" IsoLock® thermal break.  Detail of dual thermal break shown at left.

<< Click image to enlarge.

The current line of products leaving the Kawneer drawing boards and entering the product testing phase is exciting and innovative. We have amazing thermally efficient products, upgrades to existing product favorites and even a few surprises, but the product engineering team here is never satisfied. We are always on the look-out for new technologies to push the envelope and achieve greater results for an ever demanding marketplace. The next time you are looking at selecting a product you can be sure that the Kawneer symbol comes with a stamp of quality in engineering. We don’t spend all the hours in the lab just because we enjoy breaking stuff; we do it to ensure you receive the highest quality product on the market and to make sure the smallest of our details are correct! Because the difference with Kawneer boils down to getting the details right!

This week’s Trivia Question – What two objects in space can the Hubble telescope never view?

The person submitting the first correct answer will be recognized next feature.

I would love to hear from you about any of our current products or send me questions about concepts not yet on the market. While I cannot divulge our top secret information I would be more than happy to answer engineering and testing questions.


Best regards,

Chris Lipp


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.