Utility and special glass can be found in the office or home, in laboratories, and on the digital highway. The Utility and Special Glass Trade Section unites the German utility and special glass manufacturing industry.
There are many different applications for utility and special glass, such as glass ceramic plates for induction and electric ovens that tolerate high temperature differences. Hardened ceramic glass can withstand temperature differences of up to 800 degrees Celsius thanks to special additives and the right ratio of raw materials used to make the glass. Transparent ceramic glass can even combine coloured coatings on the underside with surface decors, in order to give the cooktops an exclusive look. These transparent cooktops can also have integrated function displays.
Many home roofs have photovoltaic modules made from special glass to generate solar power. Digital cameras, telescopes, and microscopes would not work without lenses made of glass. The internet’s capabilities can only be used to our needs due to the implementation of glass fibre-optic cables, which make it possible that telephone calls and digital data can be transmitted across vast distances at incredible speeds. The main customers for utility and special glass products are capital goods manufacturers such as the electronics industry, which need display or lighting glass for TV screens, fluorescent lamps, or glass lasers.
Glass products for medicine, research and science
The precision mechanics and optics industries are dependent on special glass products such as lenses. Plant manufacturers, as well as the communication and environmental technology sectors, also work with practical glass products such as optical glass fibres, which are manufactured in ecological production processes, or special flat glass products.
Optical lenses in microscopes are one example of how glass is used in the fields of medicine, research, and science. These lenses enable medical experts to observe increasingly minute processes and smaller particles of the human organism. Endoscopes, which are used in operations, transfer images of the inside of the body through glass fibres to a monitor. X-ray technology also benefits from the continuous advancement of glass technology. Light-permeable, X-ray-resistant lead glass makes it easier for X-ray technicians to observe their work while making the X-ray examination safer for patients.
Special and technical glass
Companies in the fields of architecture, chemicals, and science also use special and technical glass.
Expanded glass or foam glass is made entirely of recycled glass cullet. As granulate, it is predominantly used in the building materials industry for heat insulation or filling applications. Other applications are in the automotive, paint, and carpet manufacturing industries.
Special glass can be used to generate electricity with the assistance of solar receivers at parabolic trough power plants or with environmentally friendly, thin-film photovoltaic modules.
The utility and special glass industry is famous for its innovation. It manufactures products such as glass operator control panels for the electrical industry or stable yet very thin glass that can be rolled up for various applications. Utility and special glass has been in high demand for many years now and has become well established. German utility and special glass manufacturers enjoy international repute.
Glass fibres connect us – they are what transfers data. The World Wide Web is spun from these fibres, and glass fibre optic cables in signalling systems keep traffic on the move. Glass fibre optic cables can be used to send vast volumes of data over long distances at extremely high speeds via laser beam. An optical fibre cable is made up of up to 144 fibres. It can carry around a hundred thousand telephone calls or simultaneously transmit programs on several TV channels.
Further advantages of glass fibre, in addition to its high efficiency, are low in attenuation and have a low sensitivity to electromagnetic interference. Glass fibres are also used in sound, heat and fireproofing applications.
Also, glass wool, an important building material, is made of glass fibres and is a versatile insulation material for cellars, roofs, and new and modernised buildings.
Glass fibres are also used in the form of a woven textile made of aluminium borosilicate glass in order to reinforce plastic. Textile glass fibres can be found in wind turbine blades and in car dashboards, for example. In the plastics and textile industry, glass fibres are used to reinforce plastics and technical textiles. They are also used in decorative fabrics for interior decoration. In suspended ceilings, they improve acoustics and make an important contribution to fire protection.