Glass – A Material that Accompanies us in Daily Life

Glass has widespread practical, technological, or decorative use in e.g. automotive window panes, bottles, tableware and optics. The term “glass“ can be understood in different ways, it can refer to an item or the material itself

From the melt to the solid

One definition of the term glass is derived from the behaviour of a glass melt during the cooling process. Normally, a liquid or melt reduces its volume linearly during cooling down until it reaches the melting point Ts where it crystallizes and the volume decreases drastically. In case of glass manufacturing a rapid cooling process is applied which does not leave the melt enough time to crystallize, the melt volume further decreases until it reaches the Transformation Temperature (TG) where the viscosity of the melt increases until it becomes a solid. Thus, thermodynamically speaking glass is a frozen subcooled liquid. However, it is helpful and legitimate to speak of a solid below and a melt above TG. Sounds simple, however, the behaviour of glass during the glass finishing is everything else but simple.

From the Raw Material to Products

Glass processing technologies are as different as numerous. Standard established mechanical methods are score and break to cut glasses into pieces, grinding, polishing, drilling, sand blasting, deforming, gluing or coating. The latter plays a more and more important role in modern glass finishing. It is not the widely known mirror but the so called low-emissivity coating (low-E) referred to in this context. Low-E coatings are very thin metal layers of appr. 100 nm thickness on the glass surface that reduce the heat emission to the outside and/or shields the inside from sunlight.  Furthermore, transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coatings can serve as electrodes in solar cells, smart windows or even as large area resistors to heat up the coating for the purpose of defogging or defrosting a window.

Mechanical tool-based techniques to cut, drill or pattern glass have their limits in terms accuracy, sometimes speed, environmental compatibility, flexibility and costs. 

4JET’s Laser Glass Processing

4JET's laser technology and systems create additional benefits and value for glass product manufacturers. They extend, replace or enable new applications where standard glass processing technologies reach their limits. 4JET's systems cover the following laser processes.

Laser filament cutting creating the “perfect“ edge at high speed and unmatched accuracy.

Fine line patterning at high resolution and accuracy or the removal of large areas, both at high speed through laser patterning.

Industries Benefiting from 4JET’s Laser Technology

Glass products that benefit from our laser technology and laser systems can be found in the automotive glass industry, i.e. windscreens, side and rear windows of cars or wagon glazing, in architectural glass, especially Smart Windows, or in technical glass.

Whether cars, trains, ships or heavy commercial vehicles, more and more vehicles glazings, interior or exterior need flexibility in shape or coatings that need to be partially removed.

Especially low-E or photovoltaic coatings, glass stacks as used in smart windows require advanced laser patterning or cutting.

In particular technical glass benefits from all three laser technologies, whether it is filament based cutting, ablative drilling cutting or thin-film patterning, due to the need for a high precision machining technology.

4JET’s GLASS-Line

For each of these industries we have created specific product lines, machine platforms and processing heads that are based on the innovative laser processes as described above. Meet our GLASS-line products:

Laser filament cutting at high speed and accuracy, available in different sizes to take for different glass formats and shapes in different industries!

When quality and ablation rate is essential, glass side processing is the right solution. Again, our parallel on-the-fly scanning delivers short cycle time!

The giant in processing flat glass substrates with extremely high resolution and accuracy. Up to 5 scanner heads working on-the-fly achieve an unsurpassed throughput!

Made for the film-side patterning of even thin glass substrates, parallel scan heads working on-the-fly effectively increase the throughput!

Either large area ablation or fine line patterning at high speed on flat or curved glass substrates with different short pulse lengths for best process results!