Manufacturers of high-tech glass with the highest requirements for architectural aesthetics and energy efficiency want to surprise their customers with innovations and therefore, need coating equipment that allows for flexibility in their portfolio. As a supplier of complete system lines, Grenzebach takes this fact into consideration, as well as the running optimisation of productivity, energy efficiency and availability of systems. From raw substrate feed to the removal of coated glass and unloading, the solution comes from a single source and the experts are also involved in the upstream and downstream processes.
“Globally leading glass manufacturers appreciate the wide range, when it comes to the supply of new equipment, as well as the upgrade of existing production technology” says Dr Jens Ellrich, Head of Coating Technology at Grenzebach. “We are partners for difficult questions about the complete value-added chain.”
Detail improvements on the coating equipment from Grenzebach drive line efficiency and productivity beyond known limits. With a strong focus on reduced maintenance times and thus increased productivity, the modular shield and drive system is a key feature of the versatile coater platform. The focus is on reducing downtime and permits higher productivity. A whole series of optimisations contribute to this benefit:
• Gas bar segmentation: Adjustable gas bar segmentation ensures an optimum adaptation to the respective requirements. This leads to better process control and increased productivity.
• Process gas management: The inlet of the process gas directly into the area, where it is needed - at the glass surface in the plasma - in combination with process pumps directly on the cathode lids guarantees highest process stability and optimum reproducibility for lowest possible gas cost.
• Gas separating tunnel: The automatic adaptation of the height of the gas separating tunnel allows a constant gas separating factor for different glass thicknesses, improving process stability and allowing the use of shorter coaters.
“To be as flexible as possible with their product lines for the market is an important factor of success for our customers” says Dr Ellrich. “For special-purpose applications as they are needed in solar industry or special coatings, the heating of the substrates to 225ºC is possible, achieving higher variability in the product portfolio.”
In the case of glass gaps of 30mm or less, the coating technology now works even more solidly and reliably. This helps to produce longer campaigns and to reduce the maintenance effort and productivity increases.
The Grenzebach coating equipment is optimised to the lowest possible floor load. For the installation, the company needs only minimum floor reinforcements, without special requirements to the foundation. The outcome is reduced overall costs.
From the foundations to the finesse of equipment configuration, an auto-configuring design is adopted. The system automatically identifies the equipment control system, the assignment of pumps, cathodes or empty positions. Multi-couplings allow automatic connection to vacuum, water, current and control system connections.
Consequent use of data
“Digital glass production – Your future success”… with this slogan, Grenzebach presented at the glasstec 2018 show the quantum leaps that glass producers can make thanks to the intelligent handling of data. In the coating process, up to 20 single layers are applied onto the substrate. This means an abundance of data with respect to the exact use of resources.
“The consequent analysis of data helps to reduce the work for the operator with manual coater control” says Jens Ellrich. “Besides, upstream and downstream processes can be optimised, based on the respective data.” This is how the Grenzebach expert sees the future: The measuring values gathered by means of sensors in the coater, allow automatic process control, which allows a complete evenness of the layers over a complete campaign. The optical properties of the high-tech glass are at any time during production of high-tech glass at 100%.