Crystal Achievement Awards 2016: Celebrating Innovation

Announcing the 2016 Crystal Achievement Award Honorees




The Essence Radius Casement utilizes phenolic sheets, which perform differently than traditional fiberglass. (Image courtesy of Milgard Windows & Doors.)

The Most Innovative Window category recognizes a unique approach to windows that serves a specific need in the industry. The Essence Radius Casement by Milgard, the 2016 Crystal Achievement Award recipient, does so by solving a problem that, the company says, is well-known to the fenestration industry. The issue, says Milgard, is, “how to have a radius product using a durable exterior while maintaining the look and feel of an existing product line.”

The company reports that Essence Series Windows and Doors have the durability and strength of a fiberglass exterior with the warmth of a solid wood interior. “However, like many others, we were not able to offer a radius product using fiberglass because fiberglass doesn’t bend,” notes Chad Martinez, product manager for Essence Series at Milgard Windows & Doors.

Creative Solutions

To solve this problem, he reports, the company looked for alternative material types and manufacturing processes to achieve the same appearance and feel of its other Essence Series products. “Phenolic sheets are a well-known material but not in the fenestration world. By using phenolic sheets, we found a material that was durable and allowed it to perform to exceptional levels. The material and process result in a product with no visible fasteners and no need for corner welds or corner keys to create a smooth exterior appearance,” he says.

The judges took note of this effort to solve the issue. One noted: “Milgard looked beyond traditional materials to solve a problem with bending shapes. This permits them to offer a complete product line and, thus, more choices for the consumer.” Another commented that the interesting application of “materials science” offers an innovative solution to satisfy market requirements.

With the Essence Series radius casement, Milgard can offer operable casements and matching picture windows in a variety of shapes including round top, arch top, gables and many others. “Additionally,” Martinez adds, “quarter and continuous arch/round top combination units will be available to fully frame any view of a home while matching the style, warmth and ingenuity of our entire Essence Series.”

An opening that would traditionally be filled with a radius single hung, this innovation provides homeowners with more options for an “elegant-looking product,” says another judge. “The radius casement from Milgard is genius—I think this window could fill a gap in our industry.”

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