Imaginative designers, architects and builders are making increased use of coated glass as a key feature in both their commercial and residential projects. And why not? Glass offers tremendous versatility.
Not only can you make it any shape or color, you can also create myriad effects. Clear, opaque, frosted, etched, stained or sandwiched inside lamination. It can be used for everything from facades on skyscrapers to splashbacks in kitchens. Office partitions to showroom walls. Restaurant features to shower screens. (You'll find a more lengthy list of applications towards the bottom of this page.)
Decorated glass does present one major problem for manufacturers though. Because each glass panel plays such an important role as a design element, every single one generally has to be as close to perfect as possible. The coatings must be even without a hint of streaking, there can be no inclusions and the color of one panel often has to be identical to those adjacent. Glass failing to meet these criteria will likely be rejected. And few manufacturers turn a profit from wastage.
Conventional methods - Until now, if you wanted to paint glass you have had two choices: the long way and the not-quite-so-long way. The long way involves two-pack spray painting with extended curing periods at room temperature. Aside from slowing production and delivery times, this method allows still-wet film to become vulnerable to dust and other minute debris which turn into inclusions. And instant wastage.
The not-quite-so-long way introduces heat to speed drying times, usually in the form of a commercial oven. There are problems here too. Although glass can withstand high temperatures, the heating must be uniform to prevent breakage, and the same is true with the cooling process.
If, despite these drawbacks, you do decide to go with the thermal option, you then must face some not-insignificant costs. Because of its high specific gravity, glass behaves as a heat sink, absorbing much of the applied heat energy. This means you must continually replace lost heat until the the coating dries. This translates to added energy and higher electricity or gas bills.
SpectraTechnology offers better way - Now you have a unique, innovative and far more cost-efficient method of coating glass panels, sheets, bottles, etc. A method that offers polyurethane-tough finishes in any color you want. In a fraction of the curing time. And without adding any heat.
That's right. No heat. No thermal ovens. No excessive energy bills.
Instead of heat energy to cure coatings, SpectraTechnology uses a catalyst. After surface preparation, the glass is automatically coated with a specifically formulated 'paint' before moving into a recirculating (invisible) catalyst atmosphere at room temperature (⊇15°C). Here the wet coating absorbs molecules of catalyst and curing begins. The entire SpectraKote™ process takes just eight minutes from start to finish. No matter what effect you're creating.
But that's not all. SpectraTechnology also provides greatly increased adhesion to glass surfaces. By scavenging all the moisture from the glass surface, the process creates a perfectly clean interface for the SpectraKote coupling agents. As soon as these agents have filled all the contours of the glass surface, they are locked in by the rapid polymerization and chemical bonding of the glass interface. The result: absolute consistency from one panel to the next.
Glass bottles - The initial project for SpectraTechnology was decorating many millions of wine and beverage bottles. Despite the production run having to handle some four tonnes of glass per hour, this exercise turned out to be a big success. It worked like this. The pristine bottles were sprayed with SpectraTechnology formulated coating. Now wearing their sparkling, new colors the bottles entered the permeation zone for curing. Six minutes later they emerged secure in their polyurethane-tough coating for shrink-wrapping then packing and shipping.
As we indicated above, designers, architects and builders are finding many exciting and novel uses for decorated glass nowadays. Generally, but not always, the application tends to dictate what effect they choose. Here are some of the uses for the different SpectraKote effects we have already experimented with.
Stained glass - fully transparent with maximum color fastness and 100% retention in adhesion testing according to Australian Standard AS 1580. You can have any color you want to use thusly:
'Diamond Bright' opaque - can be used for fixing to concrete, plasterboard or fiber cement with complete opacity to sealant and with any effect on the coating. Grout-free SpectraKote glass is easy to clean and ideal for extremely hygienic locations such as hospital wards, medical and dental surgeries, veterinary clinics, etc.
'Privacy' glass (acid-etch velvet frosts) - the photo just above shows (left) two SpectraKote acid-etched velvet frost privacy panels, then an acid-etched velvet pastel panel and an acid-etched velvet clear panel
Spectra safety glass color sandwich partitions - you can have strong, opaque glass partitions in any color - soft or brilliant or special effect; there's no need for putty, sanding, undercoat or topcoat; they're easy to clean, maintain and move.
We realize there must be other applications we haven't considered. Maybe dozens. But whatever they might be, we're pretty confident that SpectraTechnology can provide a better, more cost-efficient way to help create the finished product.
More info - If you would like more information about how SpectraTechnology can help you offer your clients many more options at far more competitive prices, just click Contact Us to e-mail your questions.