Differences in Glass Manufacturing in America and Europe
In Europe, especially in the UK, there has been an increasing demand for high quality glass and glazing systems that achieve extremely low U values. This has pushed European glass manufacturers to meet the demand with new and innovative glazing processes and technologies.
This also includes glazing such as toughened glass and solar control glazing. The European standard that glass is manufactured to has stricter regulations with higher criteria than that of American glass manufacturing regulations.
Therefore, when specifying bespoke glazing for projects anywhere around the world, using a glazing company based in Europe has many advantages.
Float Glass vs Toughened Glass
Float glass panels are large manes of flat glass that are manufactured by pouring molten glass into a tin bath. These panes of glass are extremely smooth and for years were used in all types of windows and doors.
Since the creation of float glass there has been an increase in demand for stronger and safer panes of glass in Europe. This led to the invention of toughened glass, also known as tempered or safety glass. IQ use toughened safety glass as standard for all of our glazing solutions including all ultra slim windows and doors.
When architectural glazing is manufactured in Europe, during the glass manufacturing process there is often another step added to create toughened glass. This process involves heating the glass pane and then rapidly cooling it which creates tension within the pane.
This results in stronger, more durable glass that is also known as safety glass. This is because, in the event of breakage, toughened glass will shatter into many tiny pieces which are less likely to injure someone or damage anything when compared to the large, sharp jagged shards that float glass breaks into.
By specifying glazing from Europe for projects around America it is more likely that toughened safety glass will be used as the standard for all glazing solutions.
Another common thing with glass manufacturing in Europe is the use of laminated glass.
Laminated glass is when two panes of glass are bonded together using a type of interlayer, most commonly a PVB or SGP interlayer. The two panes of glass with the interlayer in between are heated to form thicker glass panes.
There are many advantages to incorporating laminated glass into and glazing system, with the main being that in the event of breakage the shattered glass will be held in place, reducing the risk of injury to a person, or property damage and allowing it to still provide a certain level of protection.
Sound reducing interlayers can be incorporated into laminated glass pane to create acoustic reduction glass that is able to block up to 51 dB when using the glass specification 12.8SR/16/16.8SR.
Another advantage of using laminated glass is the opportunity to incorporate decorative interlayers. The laminate can be coloured and can include fabrics and prints, an excellent option when looking to turn glass into a design feature.
Solar Control Glass
Incorporating solar control glass into your glazing solutions has many advantages, with the main being the prevention of overheating. This is important especially in warmer climates or for large glazing elevations, glass roof solutions and south facing glazing.
Due to the lack of demand for this type of glazing across the US, not many American glass manufacturers offer this. However, in Europe, there has been an increase in focus on sustainability, and the energy used for cooling spaces, such as air-con, can increase a building’s carbon footprint significantly.
Therefore, many European glass manufacturers offer some type of solar control glass within their product range, unlike the manufacturers in the US.
IQ’s insulated glazing solutions also all come with a low e coating as standard, something other European glazing specialists charge extra for and something which is rarely offered by American glaziers. Low e coating improves the thermal efficiency of a glazing system by helping to prevent heat from escaping through the glass.
For projects in the US that are in warm climates or places with elevated levels of sun exposure, architects may choose to import glass from a European manufacturer or glazing company as this allows the option of incorporating solar control glass into their glazing solutions.
IQ International headquarters are in the UK and IQ’s glazing solutions use suppliers from Europe for our bespoke glazing package, meaning when specifying glazing from IQ, no matter where the project is, you can specify specialist, high performing glazing solutions such as this.
Roller Waves in Glass
Roller waves can appear on glass if during the manufacturing process the glass panes are not moved over the rollers quick enough. As the glass is warm if it is moved over the rollers too slowly you will end up with indents in the pane of glass which can be visibly noticeable in certain installations and lights.
This can sometimes be inevitable in glass production but there are ways to reduce the chance of this. The weight of glass and speed of the rollers need to be considered, something which has been a crucial factor in European glass manufacturing over the years.
As American glass manufacturing tends to be done to different standards, there have not been many steps made to reduce this, resulting in many glazing installations manufactured in America ending up with large, noticeable roller waves.
When using a specialist glazing company based in Europe, such as IQ International which is based in the UK, means that the chance of having noticeable roller waves in large glazing elevations is significantly reduced.