Glass fabricators, also known as glass cutting manufacturers, produce a wide range of glass types and a multitude of glass products. These types of glass can be used for numerous purposes such as protection, insulation, containment, and for optical and laboratory equipment. Since glass is of varying strength and has transparent and heat-resistant properties, glass is a prominent material in the manufacturing industry.
For every glass function, manufacturers use the method of glass cutting. Window manufacturers and framers use decorative, obscure and float glass for housing and construction. Many types of glass are laminated and tempered in order to strengthen them and make them shatter-proof, and are thus used for automotive windshields and building windows.
Glass window applications that are highly demanding may utilize wire glass. Wire glass is a type of glass product that is reinforced with an ingrained wire net. Borosilicate glass is a material commonly used for glass tubes and optical products. It is shatter-proof and highly resistant to heat, and is the material of choice for Pyrex products.
Sight glass is an optical glass which is tubular or lens-shaped. Many manufacturing processes use sight glass to carefully observe and gauge the level of liquids.
Quartz glass is the most heat resistant of any type of glass. It looks like standard glass in appearance, but it is actually transparent to UV rays and is purely made of silicon. Read More…
Glass fabricators can provide a variety of services such as custom molding, glass cutting, and glass etching. They also make glass containers and bottles either by hand or by automated glass blowing. In the manufacturing process, different elements can be added to the glass to alter specific features and make it suitable for a particular application.
Glass has unique characteristics that set it apart from metals, ceramics, and plastics. One can find glass products in a wide range of consumer, industrial, and commercial applications. Some examples include household containers, medical and laboratory equipment, electronic devices, and decorative architecture, and the most important applications include optical equipment, construction, and automobiles.
Glass is an inorganic and amorphous solid. Therefore, its structure is rigid and brittle, and doesn’t crystallize. Manufacturers can blow, mold, and form glass at temperatures 1800F or hotter. Important factors to consider while working with glass are its thickness, shape, and resistance to heat in order to achieve optimal accuracy. For example, the thickness and curvature of the glass must be carefully analyzed for products such as telescope and microscope lenses.
In manufacturing automotive windows and safety glass, the glass must be tempered, coated, and laminated with the utmost precision. These processes enable the windows to break into small rounded pieces instead of dangerous shards if shattered.
The main ingredient in glass fabrication is silica. It is common to mix pure sand with other inorganic compounds such as sodium carbonate (soda ash), lime, calcium oxide, magnesium oxide, gypsum, aluminum oxide, and dolomite. Sodium carbonate makes working with silica easier by lowering its melting point from 2300C to 1500C, and calcium oxide helps make silica more durable.
Glass can have different terms depending on the materials of which they are made. Borosilicate glass is made from silica and boron oxide, and is also known as Pyrex. It is a costly material, yet it is highly durable and heat-resistant. Common applications for which it is used include test tubes, laboratory beakers, optical lenses, and cookware. Soda-lime glass is glass made primarily of silica, soda ash, and lime. Soda-lime glass is much more cost-effective material and can be used to make commodity items such as windowpanes and glass containers.
Molten glass can be molded or blown once it is melted or refined in a furnace. Flat glass is a float glass made when melted glass is channeled into molten tin. The glass, which is less dense, floats on top of the tin as the surface is smoothed out by rollers. Then, the glass panel moves onto a conveyor, where it cools as it is laminated, cut, and heat treated. It is possible to use press and blow methods to make glass containers for beverage and product storage.
Gobs, or drops of molten glass, are formed into parisons and are placed into molds where the glass cools at a controlled temperature. Then, the glass may need to undergo an annealing process to remove any weak spots. Products such as glass blocks can be made this way.
Hand-blowing glass products take an incredibly high amount of precision and skill. Many expensive decorative pieces are blown by hand. There are some manufacturers that use the hand-blowing technique to create their products, but the process is much less cost effective than molding, float fabrication, or automated blowing.
Over the past 50 years, there have been technological improvements in the durability, safety, and overall functional capabilities of glass. Today, manufacturers are capable of making glass that is fireproof, bullet proof, and capable of replacing or enhancing materials made from ceramic or metal.
Other developments include fabricating glass which is one-way, non-reflective, UV resistant, and heat resistant. Processes such as laminating, tempering, and float fabrication have helped us to explore the capabilities of glass. Finally, glass is widely available and may be completely recycled.