Patterned glass was first manufactured in the early 20th century and has been making strides ever since. Unlike float glass, patterned glass is shaped using cylinders – and, at the same time, can obtain a surface structure with either aesthetic or technical light properties, depending on requirements.
Through years of research and development, we’ve created surface structures which can improve solar applications significantly. They not only increase the durability of lamination, but more importantly also ensure the light-trapping effect: the glass structures reflect the rays of light inside the glass and direct them back to the collectors, which measurably increases the efficiency of photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems. Another important characteristic of our patterned glasses is the anti-glare effect, which has made our ALBARINO P STAR glass the world’s only glass qualified for use in photovoltaic systems at airports.
The float glass technique has been in use in industrial applications since the 1960s. Because flat-glass production creates the smoothest surfaces, around 95% of all flat glasses are now manufactured in this way. For our solar glasses, we heat a mix of quartz sand, soda, dolomite, limestone, feldspar, sulphate and charcoal to 1,560 °C in a smelting furnace and then transfer it to a bath of molten tin at a temperature of approximately 1,000 °C, where the glass mixture distributes evenly and cools slowly.
The interplay between the surface tensions of the tin and glass ensures an especially smooth surface with incomparable visual characteristics. Still at a temperature of 600 °C, the glass then passes through a lehr oven, where it can cool free of stress and then be cut into large pieces. Float glass manufacturing requires a stable, even process, which we ensure through continuous glass production and a fully automated oven technology.