Laser finishing can be used to produce custom, functional and decorative glass products. The trend towards new applications has great deal to do with changes in customer demand and the feasible options for creating greater added value.

Laser processing of custom glass products

Until recently, laser-assisted finishing in glass processing was primarily considered an aesthetic tool for creating custom glass designs. The laser printing process is used to apply a wafer-thin, scratch-resistant pattern to the glass that matches a specific template.

Additionally, when working with coated glass, the physical properties of the coating can also be used to turn it into a sample or another motif via the laser.

The developed the patented Laserbird system that can be used for single-glazed panes, laminated glass and insulated glass units (IGUs).

Sophisticated technology

For processors, another advantage of the HEGLABoraident range is the HST checkmarker® pen. This uses thermocromic and UV active ink to demonstrate that the Heat Soak Test has taken place.

Applied directly onto the tin side of the glass surface and during the production process, the colour will change from blue to white with a permanent invisible UV mark made on the glass.

The white surface coat is visible to the naked eye after testing but is easily removed leaving the UV, resistant fluorescent mark inside the glass. This is only visible under 254 nm UV light and this fluorescent marking remains on the product for the duration of its lifetime.

Laser decoating for a crystal-clear surface with no scratches

As demands become increasingly strict for structural glazing and edge decoating the laser is fast becoming a popular tool. Decoating with laser technology is extremely precise and causes zero damage to the surface.

HEGLABoraident customers use laser decoating for example, on controls for machines or to create lighting effects behind mirrors. Crystal-clear results with no scratches are guaranteed.

High-functionality smart glass

Smart glass is another area with much potential for the future. Glass products can now be produced using laser techniques including glass needed for increased permeability such as mobile communication radio waves – this is perfect for use in areas such as conference rooms and offices.

The technology can also be used to finish bird protection glass, apply site-specific sun protection or increase radar dampening in areas close to airports. There is also the option of using laser prints or coating conversion to turn glass panes into conductors, which can then be used for technical applications.

Clear markings for traceable glass and product identification

Laser technology is becoming more important for use in the identification of glass processes. In order to simplify production management and product traceability, the panes are marked with a unique, machine-readable QR or data matrix code (and often a logo) before being cut to size.

Marking the glass using the UniColor laser printing process, for example, leaves the surface undamaged and permanently bonds the marking to the pane without scratching it.

Individual marking allows the entire production process to be monitored in real time and optimised using special software. Should there be any queries, the HEGLABoraident laser system makes it possible to track down the production company that made the IGU, as well as the company that installed it for end users if required. In construction projects with multiple pane suppliers, production is greatly simplified.

For more information on the HEGLABoraident range please call Paul Gibbs on 07802 655 214 or visit the website www.hegla.de