All in the Interlayer (and Out of the Autoclave)
Laminating glass production has become more popular with fabricators
and their options continue to grow, as has been evidenced here at
glasstec in Düsseldorf, Germany.
One reason more companies are doing their own lamination is that
the investment has decreased making the decision to go into production
more affordable for more companies.
Doug Canfield, president of Casso Solar in Pomona, N.Y., points
out that having the option of making laminated glass without an
autoclave is a factor in more companies deciding to go into production.
"The market for autoclave-less laminating production is being
driven by companies asking what they can do for themselves,"
he says. "Companies are doing tempering and sending out for
the laminating and they are not satisfied with what they get back.
Pieces come back broken, etc.," he continues. Also, companies
that do decorative glass and have to laminate it for safety are
looking to do their own laminating so that their artwork is protected.
He says, "What you get back is always an issue."
How fast is this market growing? "If you take window glass
out of the equation, it is growing by 50 percent a year; good substantial
growth," says Canfield.
What should companies ask themselves if they are thinking of adding
this capability? "How much of one size glass do you want to
make; what are your production requirements, and what kind of interlayer
do you want?" recites Canfield. "Many customers don't
need PVB. EVA works very nicely and it is more clear if it is artistic
glass. With it, instead of PVB, they don't have to get into the
Ah, yes. The moisture issue. This brings us to EVA.
Maja Weller, product manager, Bridgestone Industrial Ltd., a German
supplier of EVA interlayer that is expanding its presence in the
North American market, explains that there are two types of the
product. One, thermoplastic, which is non-cross linking and the
bonding is mechanical not chemical and it is produced by extruding.
Her company's Evasafe EVA-based thermo-set product with a 3D cross
linking capability has a different formula and method of production.
"We don't apply extreme heat and add no plasticizer,"
she says. "It is not extruded and has mechanical and chemical
bonding. This makes the adhesion much stronger and it is not humidity-sensitive."
According to Weller, the product allows "the small guy to get
into the lamination market. It requires no control room, there is
no concern about storing the interlayer material, and you just need
a small oven."
She also makes the point that the interlayer allows a company to
offer "design" products, which have better profit margins.
"Compared to PVB, this costs twice as much but the economies
are in the production process." Continuing to go through its
advantages she says it is good for tempered glass because when it
melts it fills in the gaps in the rough surface of the glass better
than alternative materials. She also points to its virtues for LED
glass because moisture is not a problem, which means it doesn't
affect the electrical components.
One design alternative that she is very excited about is that the
interlayer can be used with thin stone and then backlit to show
the beauty of the stone.
According to Weller, the company will offer the support and service
for a company that wants to get into lamination with everything
they need including all the materials, not just the interlayer.
The company's main market has been solar panels and it is now moving
into the architectural market.
Anyone interested in laminating glass made by any method has a lot
to look at and choose from at glasstec, as there are many exhibitors
participating in this market segment.
One company showing a new product is Bystronic Glass. Iris Minten,
public relations/online communication for the company, explains
that it is introducing an automatic trim machine for PVB film. "It
can be used for film up to 4.6 mm [and] 12-fold and has a cutting
speed of over 40 m/min." The most significant thing about the
machine, she says, is that it is a cold process, which means that
there is no sticking of the film layers by the cutting process.
This means that the film trimmer keeps the layers of film from melding
together, which could prevent the air and moisture from escaping
from the unit.
glasstec continues through tomorrow. Stay tuned to USGNN.com
for more coverage from the show floor.
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