Laminating glass is the process of bonding two or more sheets of glass together, with an interlayer in between. As you might have guessed – all the glass in our range of stock laminates is laminated.
Our stock laminates are sold out into the market as stock sheets which can be subsequently cut to the sizes and shapes needed for specific applications. In essence, they are a way of getting safety glass out into the hands of glaziers and fabricators in a form that they can modify themselves on site and even off the back of the truck if necessary. (This is in contrast to toughened glass, which is made in a toughening furnace and can’t be altered thereafter – so needs to be made in the right shape and size from the outset.)
Put simply, the laminating process creates glass which holds itself together if broken (rather than falling in a heap on the floor). Used appropriately it can act as a safety glass to protect people and possessions. Bulk laminate sheets offer a way making these properties available out in the market in a form which can be cut and shaped to the demands of specific projects.
You might have guessed the silvering process applies to mirrors, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Silvering is a process by which a thin layer of metallic silver is deposited on the surface of the glass. Left exposed, the silver would oxidise just as silverware tarnishes. To prevent this a special protective paint is applied specifically designed to maintain the look of the silver.
Laminating mirrors – as the name suggests – involves the lamination of silvered glass to clear float glass for a highly resilient and robust yet low-distortion reflective surface.
This offers all the benefits of our quality mirror product in a Grade A safety glass format suitable for applications which are subject to human impact and other collision risks.
On top of standard mirrors, we also offer “vinyl-backed” safety mirrors.
Vinyl-backing involves applying a sheet of tough vinyl film on the back of the glass. This film acts in a manner similar to the interlayer material in a laminate – holding the glass in place if broken. This is ideal for use in sliding wardrobe doors.
The same process that applies silver in the silvering process can be reprogrammed to apply matte colour. This produces an annealed, cuttable workable stock sheet of colour-backed glass for use where block colour with subtle surface reflection is desired. Again, wardrobe doors are a common example..
Equivalently, the same vinyl backing process is also available to prepare a product which stays in place if broken.
Magnetron sputter coating – or “soft coating” – involves layers of metals and metallic compounds coated onto the surface of the glass at roughly room temperature. Different coatings impart many useful properties to the glass – thermal benefits, higher reflectivity, lower reflectivity, etc. But in many cases these coatings can be prone to oxidation and physical damage if exposed, so tend to be used only in double-glazing.
So that’s how you make stock laminates, what about everything else?
The stock glass is a great start, but if you’re wondering about how we make the kind of glass that is perfectly suited to specific spots in the home or office, that takes a little more work.
You should take a look at our custom processing page!