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A+ Testing for InterClad’s Curtainwall Systems

December 15, 2020

Quality assurance is a promise Egan Company continues to provide customers on every project from every team and business offering. From placing that last electrical plate over an outlet to testing the integrity of a building façade, Egan will ensure the utmost quality on everything we construct, install, or remodel. 

Recently, Egan’s curtainwall system manufactured by Erie Architectural Products for the Essentia Health Vision Northland project in Duluth, Minn., underwent a series of performance tests to ensure even the toughest environmental elements wouldn’t compromise the integrity of the system. Over the course of two full testing days and an additional week in -30 degree weather conditions, a full size mockup section of the system had to pass 17 performance tests before any of the 2,700 units (almost 200,000 square feet) of curtainwall could be installed on the project. 

An airtight chamber was constructed on one side of the curtainwall system. The first tests completed are the Static Air Infiltration and the Static Water Penetration tests. These set a baseline for all additional tests, and both of these tests are completed after every round of testing to ensure the performance has not been affected. If either of the tests were to fail, the entire testing process would need to start over. 

All curtainwall systems installed on any Egan project undergo field testing to assess proper installation. A lab test is unique and is typically conducted when the curtainwall system is custom-designed and fabricated for the job. This project, for Essentia Health located in Downtown Duluth, has very stringent structural and thermal requirements which necessitated the lab tests be performed prior to starting the project. The project is a $900M hospital tower, clinic, and outpatient center that will add approx. 942,000 sq. ft. to Essentia Health’s Duluth campus. 

Additional tests that the system had to pass included air from a large wind generator directed at the curtainwall as water is sprayed; this is the Dynamic Water Penetration test. Other tests that focus on the structural design and movement, both vertically and horizontally, place additional stress on the system. Finally, the lab created a temperature simulation in the airtight chamber that lowered the ambient temperature to -30 degrees; the crews were unsure if they’d be able to sustain the extreme temperature requirements since this is 10 degrees lower than a standard test. Thankfully,  the curtainwall system passed all performance tests and installation on the project can proceed as planned.

The curtainwall unit went through extreme conditions, not only extreme weather conditions, but structural and movement testing as well,” said Ryan Woodruff, Egan Company Vice President and InterClad Business Leader. “It was great to see our curtainwall pass all performance tests and solidify that we install some of the best curtainwall products in the Midwest.

Curtainwall performance tests included:

  1. Static Air Infiltration Test
  2. Static Water Penetration Test
  3. Dynamic Water Penetration Test
  4. Uniform Structural Design Load Test
  5. Repeat Static Air Infiltration Test
  6. Repeat Static Water Penetration Test
  7. Interstory Differential Horizontal Movement Test
  8. Repeat Static Air Infiltration Test
  9. Repeat Static Water Penetration Test
  10. Interstory Differential Vertical Movement Test
  11. Repeat Static Air Infiltration Test
  12. Repeat Static Water Penetration Test
  13. Thermal Cycling Test
  14. Repeat Static Air Infiltration Test
  15. Repeat Static Water Penetration Test
  16. Building Maintenance Equipment Load Test
  17. Uniform Structural Overload Test
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