Article by ONBOARD Magazine
Henning von der Thüsen discusses the most important facts about high quality glass including lamination and durability
The amount of glass used on superyachts is steadily increasing due to modern designs with floor-to-ceiling windows, which shape the look of the yachts more than ever before.
In addition to the increased demands of complex shapes and sizes of the glass panels, these latest developments in the design are increasing the quality and safety requirements. The optical characteristics of the glass must be perfect at all times and the durability very high in order to meet the requirements of the industry.
But what are the key aspects with regard to glass quality that everyone should be aware of? And how is TILSE Yacht Glazing as one of the leading experts in the industry achieving the highest quality?
The first step is to consider the selection process of the raw materials used for the production of the windows. TILSE goes through a very thorough selection process of the raw materials in order to minimise the possible number of defects per square metre. Even though this approach is more expensive, it is the only way to meet the high demands of the customers.
Another important quality factor is the method used to laminate the individual glass panes together to form the compound safety glass. The most common method is the use of foils, e.g. PVB foils. However, a critical disadvantage is that no foil is moisture resistant. Compound glass that has been laminated with foils has a significantly increased risk of delamination after a few years in use. That’s the reason why TILSE developed their own special resin to ensure the highest possible quality and durability. In addition, the special resin offers a UV filter and filters out UV and UVA-B rays, that can cause sunburn and are responsible for the fading of interior furnishings, are also completely filtered out.
A key safety and quality factor and a cost driver is the process used for toughening the glass. In general, there are two different process options: Thermal toughening and chemical toughening. Chemical toughening of glass offers many advantages over thermal toughening. This process allows you to achieve a considerably higher bending strength and therefore the individual glass panes of the compound can be made thinner which also saves weight. In contrast, thermal toughening has optical limitations in the form of anisotropies and roller marks that are visible at an acute angle or through sunglasses with polarizing lenses. Despite the higher process costs, TILSE only uses chemical toughening, the only true way to achieve the highest quality and exclude optical defects.
What must be taken into account when it comes to the quality of shaped windows is the bending process itself. In this case, there are also two different approaches: Final dimension bending and oversize bending. TILSE only uses the more cost-intensive method of oversize bending, in which the glass is bent when oversized and afterwards is cut to size and precisely ground at the edges. This is the only way to achieve the tangential transitions between two bent panes that are standing in line.
In summary, there are many factors that are important to achieve the highest quality of glass in the yachting sector. Quality naturally comes at a higher price, but this is essential with such an important area of the yacht’s design.
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