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Glass makes it possible

Glass is an essential component in any modern building, but we don’t often stop and think about the complex process that lies behind how it is developed and made. If we did, we would probably know that Glaston off ers the largest customer service network in the glass process industry and the most comprehensive range of glass processing machinery anywhere.

Glass plays a significant role in creating a bright and pleasant living environment, and is why the use of glass – particularly safety glass – in buildings, vehicles, and appliances is growing all the time. Glass off ers a distinctive look, and large windows let in lots of natural daylight while providing people with safe and energy-efficient environments.

This trend obviously benefi ts Glaston as the world’s leading glass processing machinery manufacturer, with production based in Finland, Italy, Brazil, and China. Tougher energy-saving and safety regulations are increasing the use of technically demanding glass solutions, and it is in exactly these areas that Glaston’s products are at their strongest.

Massive potential benefits

Given that around 40% of the world’s energy consumption goes on heating and cooling buildings, installing high-quality, energy-effi cient windows represents a massive opportunity for reducing CO2 emissions.

By replacing single-glazed windows with high-performance, double-insulating glass, for example, it is estimated that a city like Rome could save 70% in heating expenses and 60% in cooling expenses. For the EU as a whole, optimal use of low-E glass could reduce CO2 emissions by between 15 and 80 million tonnes annually.

While these benefits are obvious, it is also important that the suppliers of the machines that make this glass do not use excessive amounts of energy either, which is something that is very much prioritised in Glaston’s machinery, which can produce more glass for a lower given energy input.

Helping solar power

Solar power also has an important role to play in combating climate change, and Glaston has developed advanced solutions for producing top-quality bent and flat glass for use in solar applications, which are the fastest-growing area of the glass processing industry today.

Customers in the solar power market demand highly automated, customised glass-processing solutions that are capable of producing glass of very high quality – which is precisely what Glaston technology offers.

Glass is the most viable option for making solar power panels, as it protects systems from environmental factors such as sun and heat, provides structural strength, and is relatively inexpensive to produce in large quantities. Thanks to its global customer service, training, project management, and manufacturing organisation, Glaston can provide customers with solutions that offer the lowest level of risk for processors.

For PV (photovoltaic) applications, Glaston offers a flexible integrated concept for manufacturing PV collector glass; while for CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) applications, Glaston offers integrated or stand-alone solutions for manufacturing parabolic bent glass and mirrors. Glaston’s solar thermal range covers complete processing systems and stand-alone equipment including tempering and bending solutions.

> Agneta Selroos
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)