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More than 2 years ago, Fenzi set up a Targeted Service Program that would place IG producers in the best condition to adopt a “Quality System”, as required by UNI EN 1279 standard since March 2007.
The Project Manager for this service is Sabrina Sironi. We asked her to give us some more details about this program.

Dr. Sironi, why did you create this service program for Fenzi customers?

It all started because of a specific need. March 1, 2007 was an important turning point for IG producers, because this was the date that UNI EN 1279 standard , which entered into force in 2005, became mandatory.

The application of this standard for CE marking has necessarily required, and requires a “Quality System” and performing a number of checks -- often on a daily basis -- on raw materials, in production and on finished products, as well as periodical checks in compliance with UNI EN 1279-6 (Audit test).

Fenzi realized that IG producers could objectively encounter some difficulties, since they were often not accustomed to working under a “Quality System”. It therefore decided to have its own technical staff develop a targeted service program that could work in team with the customer over several days.

How was the program put into practice?

We started out by creating a basic “protocol”. The first day at the glass company was spent preparing the Quality Manual and the System Description, in other words, a description of all IG components and their edge size.

During this stage, the customer was given advice as to the type and application of the components based on his processing needs and in compliance with the standard. A look at the glass company was also a must, to verify that equipment like the press, butyl extruder, washer, etc. were working well since this is essential to guarantee proper IG assembly.

Once the components had been established, and the equipment was “ready”, we went back to the customer to follow the preparation of the samples that were needed to perform the required “Type Testing” at a Certifying Institute such as the Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro in Murano.

Is there also a part that is more specifically focused on staff training and coaching?

Yes, of course. Our first experience indicated that there was a need for this. While waiting for the results from the Stazione Sperimentale we spent some more days looking further at the Quality Manual and customizing it to the customer’s needs, and deciding together which were the best ways of complying with the requirements. A great amount of attention and time was also dedicated to training the staff involved in IG production, spending some time on the required tests (methods and frequency).

The last day was mainly spent using the computer tools needed to calculate the U Thermal Transmittance Coefficients (W/m2K) which producers must declare, checking that the instruments used in production complied with certified standards and verifying that everything was effectively applied (Inspection Check). This all came with the last pieces of advice and lots of recommendations of course!

Did you have to overcome any technical problems or even some “resistance”?

As always, you inevitably come across some difficulties: a butyl extruder that just doesn’t want to work right, a salt filler that makes the salts unusable in a rather short time, some technical documents that had been requested from the suppliers and that were not delivered even after several reminders, checks on finished glass using Table A with the usual question: “ But are these checks really necessary?”

At the end everything was ready: the documents included all the details required under the standards, the production tests were performed properly and regularly, checks on raw materials and suppliers had been standardized, it was just a matter of waiting, with a certain degree of suspense for us and the customer, for the response from the Certifying Institute and, if positive, to start using the much deserved “CE Mark”.

Can you already draw some conclusions from your experience up to now?

I think I can say that Fenzi is very satisfied with the results and the success which has far exceeded our expectations. To date, more than 70 of the companies that we assisted are CE compliant and many others will follow.

However, “our” support couldn’t certainly stop at the CE mark.

Following the numerous requests received, Fenzi has decided once again to place its equipment and staff at the disposal of its customers through a special program that aims to maintain compliance over time.

Bearing this in mind, Fenzi S.p.A. laboratories periodically check the performance (Moisture Penetration Index, initial concentration of gas) of each customer’s IG units (Audit Test EN 1279-6) and their compliance with the initial System Description. In-house checks and inspections are also conducted every six months in order to ensure the customer’s attention remains high.

What’s the next step?

We plan to extend our focus to gas-filled units, which lower U-factor even further and comply with the stricter limits set by Italian law on energy efficiency.

Could you give us a final comment on behalf of the company?

I feel it’s our duty and desire to thank all those people who placed their full trust in us and who relied on our professionalism to achieve a goal that is critical for their success.

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