How do I calibrate my RSG machine? Click here for calibration instructions

How often should we calibrate our gas filling machine?
Frequency of calibration is a tough question to answer.  The calibration frequency varies greatly from plant to plant.  Some plants have very tight tolerances and calibrate every shift, whereas some calibrate every monitor every year.  You will need to define your quality control standards, which will dictate how often the filler is calibrated.  Because there are many factors that influence the fill quality, testing the units is a great way to determine the fill quality of the unit.  Using your ILT, you will be able to determine the frequency of calibration. Click here for calibration instructions

Rules of Thumb for Elevation Change - Click Here for a PDF

How often should I change the Gas Sensor in my machine? Click here for information on our gas sensors

How much PSI should I set on my gas tank regulator?Click here for gas tank pressure setting information

My machine is set up for Krypton.  Can I run Argon through it?
If your machine is set up for krypton but you need to run argon through it, FDR would suggest that you change the green amplifier board to an argon amplifier.  The last letter in the revision number can identify the gas for which the amplifier board is set up for.  For example, an amplifier board with the revision 1.68.01A would be an argon amplifier board.  Likewise, an amplifier board with the revision 1.68.01K would be a krypton amplifier board.  The revision is printed on the amplifier board sticker and on the DIN rail-mounting tab.

My machine is set up for Argon.  Can I run Krypton through it?
If your machine is set up for argon but you need to run krypton through it, FDR would suggest to change the green amplifier board to a krypton amplifier.  Do not use krypton gas with an argon amplifier board.  Using krypton gas with an argon amplifier board WILL cause the conductivity sensor to burn up.  There are a few considerations to take into account before changing your argon machine to krypton.  If the machine is a faster filling model (RSGe, RSGh, or RSGz), the efficiency is going to be less then that of a slower machine (RSGa, RSGd, or RSGi).  Efficiency, partly influenced by filling speed, is a big factor when dispensing krypton because the cost of the gas is hundreds of times more than argon.  FDR would recommend only dispensing krypton from an RSGa, RSGd, RSGi, or an FDR modified version of the RSGh or RSGz.  Another factor influencing efficiency is filling / sniffler lance configurations.  One hole filling (1 lance going through a single hole in the spacer material consisting of a combined gas output and vacuum return) is not recommended for dispensing krypton because efficiency is slightly reduced with this method.  Two hole, slow filling is the preferred method for filling krypton units.

Will one hole filling increase our filling speed?
It is hole size that determines filling speed.  In the same size hole, two hole filling will be faster because it is more efficient.  One hole filling is more convenient but will take more gas to reach the final fill level.  If it takes more gas it will take more time. 

The style of machine will also determine filling speed.  RSGd, a and i are slow fill around 6 to 13 liters per minute.  RSGh and e are high speed around 20 to 25 liters per minute.  RSGz and q can obtain still higher flow rates but only if the hole size is larger.  In the normal 4 mm hole, the z and q will be roughly the same speed as the h.  

How do I know which push-button is right for my machine?Pushbutton_Selector_Guide_092016.pdf

Why is the glass on my gas filled units straight and my no-gas filled units bowed in? Does Argon expand and contract the same as air?

Argon (all gasses) will expand and contract at almost an identical rate.  What is most likely happening is the units are being heated up in the press and  upon exiting the press they are quickly sealed.  The hot air in the units cools down and contracts, drawing the sides of the glass in.  On units too small to bow the glass, this stress is applied to the spacer.  These units are the ones that are likely to have spacer creep, where the spacer starts to slide into the center of the cavity.

The reason the gas filled units did not do this is simple.  They were gas filled away from the heated press and had a chance to cool down first.  As a result no expansion or  contraction of the gas took place.

To give you an idea just how much effect temperature has on a unit, here are some simple calculations based on the gas laws.

24" x 36" x 0.5" IG cavity volume 7.085 liters.  If we take this IG downhill 2000 feet, the gas will contract to 6.633 liters.

If we take the same IG and seal it when its temperature is 106 degrees then cool it to 70 degrees the 7.085 liters will contract to 6.633 liters.  The temperature differential of 36 degrees is exactly the same as moving the unit downhill 2000 feet yet it never left the factory floor.

In terms o factual deflection, the two pieces of glass have moved inwards 0.037" or 0.074" overall.  The 1/2" center of glass is now down to a little under 7/16".

Later installed, in the middle of winter into a heated home, the cold captured air has contracted even more.  The glass has moved in 0.087" per side or 0.174" overall.  The 1/2" center of glass is now approaching 5/16".  If the window is left in cold storage somewhere the negative deflection is much greater.

If we had taken this same IG but made it with one layer of Low-E and cooled it down to 60 degrees before filling it with gas and sealing it shut, the winter time deflection would only be 0.035" per side or 0.070" overall.

Why?  Because we started with less deflection initially by sealing the unit at a lower temperature and then the combination of Low-E and gas fill warms the inner piece of glass making the trapped cavity gas temperature higher.  The less temperature change the less deflection.

What about Intercept and the gunned Matrix?

The primary challenges are:

A) The inherent need for hot melt units to cool to ambient temperature (or lower) before sealing the vent hole or gas filling and sealing.

B) Due to the gunned matrix on the inside of the spacer channel it is difficult to obtain two unobstructed gas filling holes.   The hole at the final joint is normally clear but the other hole has the matrix  gunned over it.

We have suggested that the matrix may not have to be gunned on all four interior legs of the Intercept spacer channel.  Increasing the matrix thickness on three of the legs would allow skipping the entire fourth leg the leg containing the gas filling holes.  Then this fourth leg, the matrix free leg, is the leg you would put on top (when installed) and you do not have to worry about the matrix slumping away from the spacer if the matrix lost adhesion.

C) It is difficult to change out the hole punch.  If the spacer is adjusted down for 1/4" width, a larger hole will not work due to the head size of the screw or rivet.  GED has chosen screws because they cost less than rivets.

Can I fill through 3mm holes?

 Yes, FDR has 2.5mm lances for both one hole and two hole filling.

What is one hole filling?

Over the years FDR has spent countless hours on the design of our filling lances.  The goal is to have a filling lance that introduces the gas as smoothly as possible.  Then a layer of gas forms that will actually float the air up and off the top.  This laminar filling is the most efficient use of time and gas. 

However, some applications cannot readily accommodate the two hole approach.  First, Swiggle was difficult to fill due to its ribbon design.  Then alternative spacer designs like Intercept came along.

FDR went back to the drawing board and came up with a new series of lances that are as turbulent as possible.  With one hole filling the goal is to stir the gas into the cavity as completely as possible to homogenize the mix of air and gas as efficiently as possible.

FDR has developed the one hole lance in several sizes for different applications.  The 2.5mm (0.098") works best in the Intercept 3 mm hole.  The 4mm (0.157") works best in the larger hole available hen gas filling Swiggle Seal.  Many other sizes are available.

We have tested IG's that are pretty close to the "GED" 24x36x.5 with a cavity volume of 7 liters.  We would expect a "slow filler" to fill this size IG in 3 to 4 minutes using two holes. 

GED has quoted 6 minutes with their multi-line one hole filler. FDR Test IGs Test IG # 75 is a 20" x 36" x 5/8" with an 8 liter volume Test IG # 85 is a 24" x 40" x 1/2" with a 7.8 liter volume Final fill percentage ranged from 92% to 95% 2.5mm diameter 3 slot laminar filling lance & 1.5mm sniffler filling through two 3mm holes. Flow rate 21 liters per minute Time to fill Test IG #75 - 67 seconds (15¢ Argon) Time to fill Text IG #85 - 65 seconds (15¢ Argon) 2.5mm diameter Non-Laminar "one hole" lance/sniffler filling through one 3mm hole. Flow rate 24 liters per minute Time to fill Test IG #75 - 66 seconds (17¢ Argon)  Time to fill Test IG #85 - 73 seconds (19¢ Argon) 3.8mm diameter porous plastic laminar filling lance & 3mm sniffler filling through two 4.7mm holes (3/16"). Flow rate 27 liters per minute Time to fill Test IG #75 - 36 seconds (11¢ Argon) Time to fill Test IG #85 - 43 seconds (15¢ Argon)  4mm diameter Non-Laminar "one hole" lance/sniffler filling through one 4.7mm hole (3/16"). Flow rate 28 liters per minute Time to fill Test IG #75 - 49 seconds (17¢ Argon) Time to fill Test IG #85 - 50 seconds (17¢ Argon)  Cost of Argon used is based on a per liter price of $0.065 Rough rules of thumb for the gas needed to fill an IG>90%

    5 times the volume with a straight nozzle
  • 1.1 to 2 times the volume with 4 to 6 liter per minute flow rate and a good filling lance
  • 2 to 3 times the volume with 25 to 30 liter per minute flow rate and a good filling lance using the 2 hole method
  • 3 to 4 times the volume with 25 to 30 liter per minute flow rate and an FDR one hole filling lance/sniffler combination

Most of the timer fillers recommend 1.75 times the volume and a flow rate around 4 to 6 liters per minute. If the lance is in good shape this will work about 90% of the time. If the lance is damaged or of a bad design, the final fill percentage will range from 40% to 90%.

To calculate the cavity size multiply the height by the width by the spacer thickness. This will give you cubic inches, then divide cubic inches by 61.023744 to obtain liters.

Example: a 24" x 36" IG with a 1/2" spacer

24 x 36 x 0.5 = 432 (cubic inches)

to convert cubic inches to liters divide by 61.023744

432÷61.023744 = 7.079 liters

If the flow rate is 6 liters per minute 6÷60 = 0.1 liters per second

If we wanted to flow 5 times the IG cavity volume or 35 liters 7 x 5 = 35

then 35÷0.1 = 350 seconds (5 minutes 50 seconds)

Do I need a new gas filling machine to one hole fill?

No, FDR's approach is to maintain the time proven aspects of our gas fillers. If you have the RSGd (formerly RSG9) you do need to upgrade it to an RSGh for one hole filling. If you already have the RSGh all you need is the new filling lance.


1.) Flexibility - By using an adaptable core design centered around a reliable gas sensor, FDR gas fillers can be quickly configured to fill any type of spacer system.  The gas filler does not become obsolete when you decide to switch spacer systems or run different types of spacers.

FDR designs and builds all aspects of the gas filling machines.  We will proudly work with any customer to develop special fixtures or lances needed for a specific production environment.

2)  Economical - FDR is committed to high quality, durable, low cost gas filling equipment.  FDR machines are economical to  purchase but more importantly, economical to run.  The machines are designed to be  easily serviced and components are selected for long service in the harsh world of production.

FDR machines are economical in gas consumption assuring that only the gas needed to properly fill a window is used.  Our lance designs are developed for specific flow characteristics.  With two hole laminar filling, the FDR lance injects the gas smoothly and with a minimum amount of turbulence.  With one hole filling the lance is designed to be as turbulent as possible so the cavity is diffused and filled quickly.

3)  Speed - The key to mass production is not adding more hoses but getting the maximum speed out of each hose.  FDR gas filling machines offer unparalleled fast flow rates.  A generic, multi-line "slow" fill machine will  flow at a rate of 3 to 6 liters per minute.  FDR's RSGd flows 9 - 18 lpm and the RSGh flows 15 - 28 lpm.  A one line RSGh can match the production of an 8 line "slow" filler.

The RSGz175, one of FDR's fastest gas filling machines, is designed for situations where only one IG is available to fill at a time (vertical ines for example).  The RSGz can reach speeds of 175 liters per minute, 58 times faster than a "slow" filler.

These higher flow rates translate into faster fill times for individual IGs, the goal being to match the machine with production rate.  Even if production requirements are for only 30% of the IGs to be gas filled, there is no guarantee when the units needing to be filled will pass through the filling station.   It is imperative that production not slow down while a few IGs struggle to get gas filled.

4)  Quality of fill - A sensor filler serves as the only quality control check assuring that IGs are properly filled.  FDR's sensor fillers have proven their ability to reliably and properly fill IGs.  Testing the gas content with a device such as the Gasglass has proven this reliability.


But what about the extra gas that is lost with one hole filling?  Won't that add up to a lot of dollars over time?

True, you will waste more gas when one hole filling.  You would not want to use the one hole technique on the more expensive exotic gases like Krypton or Xenon.  Argon, however, is relatively inexpensive.  You offset the additional gas lost by not using a second rivet/screw or gas filling corner key.  The additional labor must also be accounted for.


My HeatMirror units need to have a small 3mm hole

FDR has a 2.5mm 3 slot laminar filling lance designed for small HeatMirror holes.


Southwall wants me to add oxygen to my HeatMirror gas mix.

FDR has made modifications to our gas sensor to handle these special mixes of gas.  The FDR sensor is a conductivity sensor not an oxygen sensor so the mix will still measure properly.   The amplifier may have to be tuned to whatever mix of gas you are running.  With the more exotic and expensive gas mixes it becomes even more critical that only the gas needed to fill the IG is used.

You can purchase premixed bottles of gas or FDR has available a line of gas mixers to create special blends.


Are there any special filling techniques needed for HeatMirror?

FDR has developed special twin lances that split the output hose and twin snifflers that split the sensor hose so both cavities can be filled at the same time with just one line.  Using this technique on a 4 line machine, four HeatMirror IGs (8 cavities) can be filled at the same time.  As it is just different lances that are used, the lines can be switched back to the conventional spacer quickly.  The same twin lance technique can be used to fill conventional triple pane units as well.