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Security Laminates for Windows
by Dr. Oneida Cramer

Breaking and entering often begins at the window, according to Glen Buck, President of Ace Exclusives (214-222-0715).

?Unfortunately, we?ve conceded to the fact that the windows in our homes are vulnerable part of our life,? Buck said. ?And if someone wants to get in, there is nothing that we can do about it. So, we have security systems to deter these people.?

But now there is a product that we don?t have to concede to the person breaking our glass and gaining entry into our home, according to Buck. Now, we can prevent intruders from gaining access through windows.

After a year of licensing and testing with various third parties, local police departments, and government agencies, ACE Exclusives began a few months ago to distribute a translucent sheet of polyester called ACE security laminates. The laminates come on a roll, like wallpaper, and they resemble kitchen plastic wraps, somewhat. Only laminates are much thicker, and, if plastic wrap is an amazing product, ACE security laminates seem almost impossible to believe. Read on.

?It looks like window tint with no tint,? Buck said. ?But, we actually do have tinted versions for people that solar protection is an aspect and they want solar protection. And we have tinted versions that they can put on their home also.?

The product is manufactured on layers of polyester that have been pressure activated together (compressed), according to Buck.

?We use a cold lamination process,? Buck said. Basically, a layer of polyester with adhesive applied to it is compressed, and one or two additional layers with more adhesive may be added to make a variety of strength products between 127 microns (.005 in.) and 356 microns (.014 in.) thick?much thinner than glass panes, which are generally 1/8th or ? inch thick in residential glass and ? inch thick in commercial glass.

?You apply this to the interior of the glass,? Buck said. ?And once it?s applied, mathematically speaking, you cannot tell whether that glass has been protected or whether it is unprotected.?

?The application is pretty simple,? Buck said. ?We have tools that use pressure to compress the laminate into the window where they bond.? This pressure sensitive application process, as opposed to a water-based adhesive, increases dramatically the life of the product. In fact, the product comes with a lifetime warranty against cracking, peeling, discoloring or anything like that.

After 30 days of curing the ACE security laminates will give glass enough tensile strength for the window to withstand forces of 110 lbs per inch up to 350 lbs per inch depending upon both the thickness of the glass and the thickness of the laminates.

?This enables the glass to absorb the force of, for example, the baseball bat that somebody hits the window with,? Buck said. ?We can?t prevent the glass from breaking; but all the glass chards will remain together, in place, and the window remains in place. And we can prevent the individuals from gaining access and stealing everything.?

Half-inch commercial glass, protected with the thickest available layer of laminate, is classified as bullet resistant.

?We?re the only security laminate on the market that can say it is bullet resistant on ? inch glass,? Buck said. On residential glass, which is ? or 1/8th-inch, bullets have been able to penetrate protected glass. Still, an individual cannot punch through the glass.

?If an individual were to take the opposite approach from the inside?try to get out that window by hitting it with a baseball bat, whatever, that glass is going to break because there is nothing on the opposite side of that glass to help absorb the force,? Buck said. This is important because if there were a fire or an emergency where people need to get out of the home, they can still go through the reinforced glass from the inside. After the force breaks the protected glass and spreads the glass chards outward into the yard, the laminates become useless. So, people can escape through the passage. Only when the force pushes the glass into the laminate backing does the glass gain strength, in part, because of the adhesive, which allows the laminate to stretch up to 50% of its original size.

?When 2500 lbs of dynamite goes off 180 feet from a pane of glass, the glass actually comes out of its frame and appears to literally bend and give like the glass is going to fly out of it,? Buck said. But the glass goes back to its original form back in the frame, and all the chards of glass are contained by the laminate. If a baseball bat hits it (glass), there is so much strength within that (protected) glass that the glass doesn?t even move. It breaks, but it never gives. In fact, elasticity doesn?t really come into play until there is an extreme action like a bomb blast or a car blowing up.

ACE security laminates are manufactured in Canada where they were first developed 12 years ago by Peter Fabian, who hasn?t patent the product in order to protect the secrecy of the ingredients and the manufacturing process?like Coke Cola.

?It was originally released, developed as an anti-terrorist product for embassies and military instillations around the world,? Buck said. ?But the laminate evolved and has found domestic applications here in the US to combat a lot of the issues that we face in terms of burglaries and thefts?more of a domestic application with cars and homes, which aren?t necessarily terrorists up until the recent acts, unfortunately.?

?What we suggest is that, if people want a security system, that they use what?s called a broken glass sensor,? Buck said. ?So, when somebody does hit our window, it?s going to break. Then, that sensor is going to go off. The burglar is not going to gain access to our homes. But the alarm is still going off.?

?If there is a determined thief out there that has got the time and the intention to get in, they are going to get in,? Buck said. But with protected glass, the attempt is going to take longer and the chances of getting caught are greatly increased, the longer the intruders are at the site. ?We prevent the quick smash and grab.?

ACE laminates cost from $5/6 a square foot up to a cap of $15 a square foot depending on the thickness of the laminate. But not all windows (for example, second story windows) require the maximum in tensile strength. And the laminates provide other benefits for windows.

?Glass itself prevents only about 1% of UV light,? Buck said. ?When you apply anything to it, a product like ours for instance, that blocks another 98% of the UV?prevents fading in your drapes, your carpets, your furniture.? Also, the laminates reduce outside noise up to 40%, insulate against heat loss, and because the laminates resist markings, they make window cleaning a breeze.

-by Dr. Oneida Cramer
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