Thursday 27th February, 2020
This week in Berlin, The Guardian newspaper shattered convention in a marketing stunt that encouraged people to break the emergency glass encasing its fly-posters. For most businesses, breaking emergency glass is a last resort; for all, safety must be a priority. Understanding the functionality of safety glass and knowing which uses are best suited to your business are sure-fire ways to ensure that your business, its employees and customers stay safe.
Safety glass is annealed glass that has been strengthened to resist breaking and yet, should it succumb to force, breaks in a way that minimises the risk of injury. Glass can be turned into safety glass through one of two processes: tempering or laminating.
Tempered – or toughened – glass is created by a process of extremes. Untreated glass is heated to around 600°C before being rapidly cooled from the outside. The tension this creates alters the physical properties of the glass, resulting in a product that’s five times stronger than ordinary glass and much more difficult to break. If a forceful impact does cause it to shatter, toughened glass crumbles into relatively safe small, rounded pieces. The durability of toughened glass makes it a popular type of safety glass.
Laminated glass is created by two pieces of glass being bonded together by a plastic interlayer through applied heat and pressure. Whilst laminated glass has the same strengthen as ordinary glass, its double-layered design increases its resistance to damage by impact or high temperatures. If extreme impact does causes breakage, the interlayer holds the loose glass shards together and prevents cracks from spreading from one side of the laminate to the other. The extra thickness of laminated glass provides better heat insulation than other varieties of glass, making it a favourite variety of safety glass for many businesses.
Given the important functions that safety glass fulfils, both toughened and laminated safety glass products undergo a series of tests measuring strengthen and functionality to ensure that they meet industry standards.
Safety glass is commonly used in a variety of demanding applications in the workplace where, unsurprisingly, safety is paramount. Examples of this include glass stairs and balustrades, glass partitions and glass tabletops, glass doors and windows. Toughened glass is often favoured by the catering and healthcare industries, where its durability and versatility can be put to bespoke use. Whilst laminated glass is a popular choice for retailers in applications such as shop windows - as the glass holds together upon impact, it provides an extra layer of security, keeping intruders out.
In the case of safety glass, ‘safe’ does not equate with ‘dull’. Safety glass can be customised to suit your company brand through the inclusion of colour, text or logos.