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Ply Gem Opens New Research Center


Ply GemCary, N.C. — Ply Gem a manufacturer of building products, opened the Insight Center, a dedicated research and applied science center in Durham, N.C., capitalizing on the Cary-based headquarters’ proximity to the Research Triangle Region—one of the most advanced research areas in North America.

The nearly 60,000-square-foot center of excellence was designed to increase the potential for research, testing and innovation for Ply Gem’s business units and is also a home for Foundation Labs, a Ply Gem business division established in 2013 as a place where the company incorporates design, functionality and innovation to produce solutions for building products. Foundation Labs was established with the goal of creating new products and industry innovations that Ply Gem can bring to market.

The Insight Center adds the capabilities and resources to identify, prototype and launch opportunities across material science, advanced manufacturing and user experience. The co-development space allows for small-scale manufacturing, weathering and material testing and features a simulation and analytics lab. The technology center also encourages open innovation, the collaboration of ideas—internally and externally—to foster creativity.

“The Insight Center is Ply Gem’s investment in innovation for our industry, customers and homeowners,” said Gary Robinette, chairman and CEO, Ply Gem. “It is important we have a dedicated space to ensure we continue to challenge the industry through new innovation and demonstrate Ply Gem’s forward-thinking approach toward growth and industry leadership.”

Lee Clark-Sellers, Ply’s innovation officer and head of Foundation Labs, said “The Insight Center also provides a collaboration space for existing businesses to maximize R&D (research and development) efficiencies and further advances in the current portfolio of products. Foundation Labs ensures the company continues to deliver on our promise of building products and building success for our customers.”

There have been two products launched as a direct result of testing and research through Foundation Labs. Engineered Slate Roofing, a proprietary roofing material made with 100 percent recycled resins, was launched in 2014. The same technology was used to create Engineered Cedar in 2015. Associates are currently developing new technologies and advancements in all exterior products. Foundation Labs is not only looking at the front end design, but the entire lifecycle of a product, taking into consideration the removal of the product at the end of its usable lifecycle.

Source: Ply Gem