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Training for Success
By: Chris Fenwick
Dor-O-Matic 1690 Rod Adjustment Procedures1:26PM on Tue 03 Jan 2012
In follow-up to part one of this month’s blog, “Unlocking the Secrets of Exit Devices,” I will go through the steps to remove, measure and, if necessary, adjust the rods of the Dor-O-Matic (or Falcon brand) 1690 exit device. The steps to follow are based on Kawneer’s “1690 Touchbar Concealed Exit Device Installation Instructions” (Document number 038-283) as posted on the KawneerDirect.com website. I recommend you download a copy of this document before attempting to adjust the device.
In part one, we discussed the symptoms common to devices that are either installed improperly or are out of adjustment. In part two, we will move past the symptoms and focus on adjustment.
Tools required to adjust the exit device are:
- A tape measure in increments of 1/32”
- A Phillips-head screwdriver
- A large flat-head screwdriver
- A pair of long-nosed pliers
Important note: We recommend removing the door from its frame and laying it flat on a table or across a pair of saw horses, with the interior side of the door facing up, prior to attempting any adjustments.
We will keep the primary focus on the top rod. Since locating most exit devices is determined by measuring from the bottom of the door to the center-line of the device, the dimensions for the bottom rod are typically consistent regardless of the overall door opening height. Therefore, it is more likely the source of any malfunctions is due to the length of the top rod. That said, we will also go through the process for adjusting the bottom rod as well.
<- Click here to see exploded view of exit device and part names
Unlocking the Secrets of Exit Devices2:42PM on Wed 30 Nov 2011
Of all the product categories we cover in training sessions, entrances is the one that still generates the most apprehension. Maybe it’s the variety of offerings available, or the intricacies of coordinating different types of hardware with the construction and function of the door. Maybe it’s the strict tolerances that must be maintained to ensure proper door swing and latching, or maybe it is just an unreasonable fear of something that has never been adequately simplified.
When we address entrances in our customer training sessions, most people have a general understanding of hinging methods or the variety of closers and locks and their installation and adjustment requirements. What our attendees seem to gravitate toward are the common sources of service problems. Twisting an adjustment screw on a door closer to affect its closing speed or to lessen the amount of pressure required to open it doesn’t seem to intimidate anyone. Even stuffing shims behind the leaf of a butt hinge comes off as benign. Where we get the most attention is when we cover the topic of exit devices. Everyone seems to have a horror story about an exit device that drags the floor or won’t latch no matter what they try. For the sake of both Kawneer and our customers, we have created a very comprehensive document on the proper fabrication, installation and adjustment of our most common exit devices. The document is still a document though, and we all know the instructions sometimes seem to get lost on a job site.
Therefore, this month, to follow up my previous postings on Curtain Wall and Storefront, I will attempt to simplify the process of diagnosing and curing the out-of-adjustment concealed-vertical-rod exit device. As the test case, I will use the Door-O-Matic (or Falcon brand) 1690 Exit Device.
I will address three common malfunctions associated with these concealed vertical rod exit devices:
Common malfunction #1: The 1690 device utilizes a “button” type strike on the frame header to trigger the latch. Sometimes a device does not re-latch properly because the strike is not positioned correctly to trip the latch when the door closes. This poses a security problem as it may become possible for the door to be pulled open from the exterior even when the device is locked.
Common malfunction #2: Door does not fully close because the latch mechanism is hitting the strike on its interior side and not in its “throat”.
Common malfunction #3: Device has its bottom rod dragging on the floor when the door swings and does not properly seat into the floor prep.
Causes of the malfunctioning units:
The primary cause of the first malfunction is related to the installation and tolerances of the door within the frame. If there is excessive clearance between the top rail of the door and the frame header, the strike may not project deep enough into the latch mechanism to re-latch it upon closing.
Service options to remedy top door clearance issue:
The primary cause of the other two malfunctions is most likely an improperly adjusted exit device. Critical adjustments occur in regard to the length of the rods themselves — if they are either too short or too long, the operation of the device will be adversely affected.
With the 1690 device, the solution for these two malfunctions is:
Pull the rods and adjust their length to the appropriate dimension and reinstall them into the door. Kawneer publishes the exact dimensions of these rods, as well as instructions on the procedures to remove, adjust and reinstall them. In part two, I will go through the procedure to make these adjustments and provide information on how to not only take it apart, but also to get it all put back together without any parts left over.
Stay safe, secure and well adjusted!
Preventable Storefront Failures8:50AM on Fri 22 Oct 2010
In my previous posting I wrote about some common causes of curtain wall failures and how the glazier can prevent them during fabrication, assembly and installation steps. As you may have guessed, I have also been asked about other systems (please, keep the questions coming) and if there are similar issues where quick remedies could have prevented the system failures.
Storefront systems typically do not have to meet some of the performance requirements inherent to multi-story curtain wall systems. That said, there are several potential deficiencies that can lead to leaks, condensation or excessive air infiltration.
Establishing and maintaining a clear path for water evacuation is critical in flush-glazed storefronts because they use a “gutter and downspout” method of controlling water within the system. Believe it or not, the glass itself is one potential obstruction to a clear evacuation path.
<-- Water that infiltrates a storefront system is channeled down the vertical members to the sill and can weep out from there.
Water deflectors are applied to the ends of the glass pockets and span across the ends of the glass below to force water to drop down the verticals (downspouts).
Sill flashing presents its own set of issues that can arise on a storefront installation. Over the years, I have had a number of conversations regarding the correct shimming of sill flashing, location of the seals and proper installation of end dams.
Connecting joints, expansion joints and splices are typical metal to metal contact points that pose an opportunity for water to work its way into the framing system.
Note that the flashing should never be spliced directly under a vertical intermediate. The higher volume of water increases the risk of leaking through the splice into the interior of the building.
Unwanted glass movement can lead to a variety of issues. Even in markets where seismic activity is not an issue, vibrations from traffic or construction can cause the glass to “walk” into the deep pocket of the frame.
<-- To install the “W” side blocks, the installer flattens it and slides it into the gap between the gap of the glass and the mullion. A putty knife is used to push it all the way into the glass pocket where it will spring back to its normal shape and prevent the glass from “walking” back into the deep pocket.
As noted before, none of these issues are outside the glazier’s control. Following the systems’ installation instructions and paying close attention to the details of each project will ensure the required performance is obtained.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Preventable Curtain Wall Failures10:22AM on Wed 13 Oct 2010
Of the many topics and products covered by Kawneer’s Commercial Training Department, one that has resonated the most in recent years has been a segment called “Preventable Curtain Wall Failures”.
We all know the cost of call-backs and remedial work can often make the difference between profit and loss. And all too frequently it feels like glaziers are required to accept responsibility for things they cannot control. Contrary to this feeling, when fabricating and installing a curtain wall, the most common causes of system failure are entirely within the glazier’s ability to address and prevent.
I’d like to share with you the most common sources of system failure as reported by our installation managers and curtain wall engineers. These do not lie with the building structure itself or with other trades, but can be addressed and prevented by the glazier.
The first source of potential failures — Seals around and within the curtain wall system. The perimeter caulk joint serves two main purposes: preventing air/moisture from penetrating the façade of the building and separating dissimilar materials. Since curtain wall systems are required to be able to move with the building, wind load drift, live load deflection and creep and shrinkage can all strain and potentially tear inadequate perimeter seals.
Shop drawings and installation instructions will indicate the sizes and locations of the perimeter seals in relation to the framing members.
Other sealant related failures can result from inadequately cleaning the contact surfaces and from using sealants that are not compatible with all the materials that they come in contact with. Omitting any of a curtain wall system’s critical internal seals that contribute to the overall air and water tightness of the system can also result in failures.
<-- Be sure to apply all of the manufacturer's critical seals as shown on their installation instructions. Each seal contributes to the air and water tightness of the system.
At right, an example of the seals at the horizontal joint in one of our curtain walls. Note: the sealant over the fastener head and around the joint plug. The omission of either can provide a seam to allow air and water to be drawn into the system.
A second source of potential failures concerns the assembly and installation of the components themselves.
Shims: Simple decisions like supplying shims of the proper composition and installing them at the correct locations can prevent unnecessary stress on the frame and the glass. Non-load-bearing shims can compress. Wood shims can deteriorate. Shims located under the anchors and not between the anchors and the mullions transfer excessive loads to the anchors themselves and to the perimeter fasteners.
<-- The shims at the mullions should be located between the mullion and the anchor.
The function of the system anchors is to attach the curtain wall to the building and to transfer its load to the structure itself. If the shims are located under the anchor, the weight of the system will bow the anchor, and put excessive stress on the perimeter fasteners themselves.
Setting Blocks: Glass failure is too often the result of installing setting blocks not designed for the system or from locating them improperly. Kawneer’s setting blocks are designed and tested specifically for the individual system. Their size and hardness is critical. Setting blocks without the correct hardness can strain the lites. Setting blocks of the incorrect size can create improper pressure points on the glass lites or the spacers.
Gaskets: Most gaskets are designed to be cut into individual pieces not to be run continuous around corners. Stretched gaskets of insufficient length will shrink-back. Gaskets run around corners will pull away. Gaps can allow air to infiltrate and condensation can result.
<- Unless using a system with molded gasket assemblies, one continuous gasket will pull away at the corners and allow air and water infiltration.
A third source of potential failures concerns water management.
Because of the manner most curtain wall systems control water, it is critical to properly locate weep holes in pressure plates and covers. It is also imperative to establish and maintain the required air seals in the system. If the pressure plate fasteners are not those designed for the system, are not located as specified in the installation instructions, or the proper level of torque is not applied to them, air can infiltrate and draw moisture with it.
<- The weep holes in the pressure plate and cover are also offset in a stair-step pattern to prevent any water from being blown back into the system by wind currents.
Some applications, such as impact framing, require closer spacing of the pressure plate fasteners. In many cases the 9” on-center is reduced to 6” or even 3”. If the proper torque is not applied, a fastener in every hole will still not prevent air and water infiltration.
In Kawneer’s 100+ years, we have visited our share of jobsites. Too often expensive remedial work is the result of something as simple as the lack of attention to what is thought of as a minor detail. What are some areas of concern for you?
I’d love to talk to you more about how we can work together to prevent failures and ensure the success of a job.
Benefits of Cross Training3:15PM on Tue 26 Jan 2010
Where do you begin with training an employee new to the industry? Ours is not a trade typically taught in high school or college, so the avenues can seem limited. An elemental understanding of the construction market is a nice beginning. Ask yourself: where does your company fit in? What are your strengths? Who is your customer base? These are topics most effectively covered through an orientation process and by observing and working with coworkers and various managers. Then what and where to go for it?
Additional sources I am most familiar with are select manufacturers that dedicate resources to both internal and external training, trade organizations like the National Glass Association, trade schools and even some unions.
Kawneer, for example, conducts training schools for our customer network focusing on system design, estimating, fabrication and installation. We are committed to a working partnership with our customers and are not content to be just their vendor. We recommend that each person begin by acquiring a working knowledge of the types of systems and products inherent to the industry. We begin by teaching the basics of framing; providing an understanding of the critical elements and conditions that must be satisfied to select and install the proper type of framing system for a given structure. We accompany this with an introduction to doors and hardware. These sessions lead to curtain wall design and selection and some of the more advanced applications. Whether the student is employed as a draftsman, estimator, glazier or project manager, it is critical to understand why a part is needed rather than just knowing that it is.
Today, with the advancements in software and equipment, it is easy for someone to become an expert in their specific role without seeing the bigger picture. We see estimators, who have mastered reading plans and inputting data into a program like PartnerPak+, but have difficulty telling the difference between a storefront and a curtain wall. We see project managers that live and die with lead times and change orders, but depend on others to make reliable recommendations regarding product applications. And we see a huge disconnect between what the draftsman is detailing and what the installer can actually do. That’s why we are totally committed to cross-training to achieve the most effective teams.
In the past few years, travelling around the U.S. and Canada, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of glazing contractors of various sizes. All have been successful enterprises that have emphasized their strengths and have consistently stayed ahead of the curve in their individual markets. At the same time, all have been unique, be it via product or process. The market is currently experiencing the lingering effects of the passing recession, and, unfortunately, commercial construction tends to enter and exit market downturns later than most industries. As I stated previously, the time to prepare for the future is the present. One of the demands of the current market is the ability to do more with less. Work smarter, not harder. If your office staff understands the installation sequence of a framing system, and your glaziers understand the cost ramifications of a call-back, then your team will excel. Think about it: how much does a trip back to a jobsite cost? Not only in terms of material, but also in terms of man-hours wasted and the expense of driving that glazing truck across town when gas or diesel costs $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.” Through a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, we have the power to face the future, and the challenges it may bring, head on. Glaziers, estimators, draftsmen, engineers, project managers and owners – there are the teams, the “working hands”, that are preparing to seize the day when the day comes.
Let me know your thoughts on how training helps you seize the day.
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Why Training in 2010?8:45AM on Thu 14 Jan 2010
As Kawneer’s Commercial Training Manager, I am afforded the opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada assisting employees and customers with expanding their knowledge and understanding of a very demanding and specialized market, as well as of our portfolio of product offerings. In my travels I have found that each region faces its own challenges and opportunities. Some are facing a devastating downturn in the construction market while others, though not robust, are moving ahead with some emerging signs of recovery. While when and what kind of recovery is more in the wheelhouse of people like Andy Nag, our Manager of Market Strategy & Analysis, what I am aware of is 2010 will have opportunities and now is an excellent time to get your organization and personnel ready to seize those opportunities as soon as they arise.
Even with some small signs of recovery, competition is fierce and many companies are currently still in survival mode – seeking out every crumb and morsel. Through the demands on our own estimating staff, we have seen that many glaziers are not waiting for opportunity to find them, but seeking opportunity by increasing bidding efforts. While increasing bids is one strategy that can be taken to build business and grow revenue, another is to look for parallel markets or products where little or no previous revenue was generated. Try and find markets that are relatively simple and will be inexpensive to shift resources. Success using either strategy is dependant upon the talent of your organization and employees to develop skills in new roles or with new products. In the survival mode, how quickly proficiency is achieved is critical. In the long term, the ability to actually take advantage of the current market and to expand your business beyond the boundaries of its historically best years may mean starting the next race before the current one has even ended. Where to start? Training.
Kawneer has always committed substantial resources to training. We have a veteran workforce and can take advantage of that experience by leveraging the talents and skills our team affords us as we search for new opportunities. However, half the challenge is in identifying where the opportunities lie. Through training we work to help customers identify opportunities and better understand how to go after them. We currently conduct classes on the design and application of storefronts, curtain walls, entrances, windows and many other architectural aluminum systems. Most training is conducted in a classroom setting and led by an instructor, such as myself. Understanding the product make-up, fabrication and installation is key as customers hunt for opportunities.
My question to you now is, “What else?” If we can all accept that the market will return, that we are in it for the long haul and that we will be there when it does return, let’s ask ourselves, where are the new products and opportunities? The automobile made the horse and buggy obsolete. The PC did the same for the typewriter. Look what MP3 players and iPods did to compact discs after compact discs did the same to records. Where are the market-changers in our industry? Is it in unitization and pre-glazing? Is it sustainable solutions like photovoltaics? Businesses need to continue to train themselves on the tools that are available to them, and seek out those that are not. Train yourselves, your employees, and your customers. Train your minds to understand the resources in front of you and how to leverage them to find new opportunities. As an industry, we don’t want to fight the last war. We want to prepare to win the next one.
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts, so be sure and comment.