As you read this, chances are you are no more than a few feet from a pane of glass. It’s one of those materials that is in near-constant demand. And as a manufacturer, the speed and accuracy with which you can add safety codes, kitemarks, company logos, and other branding elements to your glass is the secret to satisfied clients and healthy profit margins. So what’s the best way to add coding and marking to glass?
Growing panes: is the demand for glass on the rise?
What sort of shape is the glass industry in? Well, in terms of economic sentiment and market buoyancy, the construction sector serves as a decent barometer and allows glass producers to anticipate future demand.
It’s currently an uncertain time for the UK construction industry – due to a blend of economic and political uncertainties – but the signs are encouraging. Glenigan predict that after a slight contraction of the market in 2019, the construction sector will recover and grow by 3% in 2020. Meanwhile, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) anticipate that UK construction output will grow by an average of 1.3% a year over the next four years. This signifies that suppliers of materials used in the industry – such as toughened glass – will need to look at ways to strengthen their market share, or better manage existing processes to maximise efficiencies and in turn profits.
What sort of coding and marking is used in the glass industry?
- BSI kitemarks
- Batch numbers
- Traceability codes
- EN marks
- Company branding – such as logo and brand name
Essentially the vast majority of glass used in construction and transport will require some degree of coding or marking. Some clients are beginning to request the omission of safety marks, yet this betrays regulation and carries the risk of fines. In short: don’t omit safety marks.
Lasers are the optimum coding technology for glass. Here’s why:
Marking glass while preserving the integrity of the material can be a big challenge. Traditional ink methods result in low-contrast marks, while chemical alternatives are time-consuming and involve consumable costs which can build up over time. Also id the wrong ink is specified this may result in fading or rubbing off over the lifetime of the glass product.
Laser marking however is a globally proven option for adding high-contrast, permanent marks that are unaffected by the toughening process. The ability to print variable data at high speeds is well suited to reducing lead times in busy production environments, while the consumables-free nature of laser coding translates into low operating costs and minimal downtime long term. In fact, a high-quality laser coder will run 24/7 with exceptional efficiency.
It’s not just the direct application of coding that we have supported glass manufacturers with. Domino’s specialist project engineering teams have also created a mobile glass coding table that replaces the need for stickers or sandblasting on your production line. It’s height-adjustable, fitted with industry-grade rollers, and can be placed at the side of any existing float or roller breakout table. It enables you to move glass with ease, a manual alternative for offline production situations.
Want to know more?
Of course, the traceability of your glass is business-critical too. Domino offers specialist software that enables you to keep tabs on every item both during and post-production. Integrating seamlessly with your order entry software and the laser coder, Domino’s traceability solution provides a data record for each sheet/batch that you produce with variable human and machine-readable codes placed consistently on the glass. It makes it easy to match the right sheet to the right frame and track the location of completed batches across your production site and beyond.