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The Case of the Machinery Protection Glass

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Question regarding glass for machinery protection:

Good Morning,

We develop special machines. Normally to cover the machine we use transparent plastic (polycarbonate), but we have a client that he wants 4mm safety glass. I have seen that there are two types of safety glass: laminated and tempered. Please, advise us about the best election for machine protection using safety glass?

Thanks and best regards,
David L.

Answer to question regarding glass for machinery protection:


Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective with your concerns over what glass to use in certain machine applications. We have actually received this question on a number of occasions and I am going to give you a quick response which, however, could be the wrong answer depending on the purpose of the glazed area where the glass will go. Tempered safety glass is the most common glass I have observed being used in most machinery applications and particularly so when the glazed area is for observation purposes only.

BUT, you did not provide any pictures, sizes or descriptions of what the glass is going to be used for so I cannot accurately recommend a particular type of glass. If you want to send in a little more information, I will try to be more specific. In the meantime, I am going to suggest you read some of our previous informational blogs about safety glass and pay particular attention to the comments that compare the pros and cons of tempered and laminated safety glass products.

My last thought on this is that you say you are currently using polycarbonate for the application at hand and I am going to guess … and it really is a “shot in the dark” … that the objection to the polycarbonate is that it scratches and is hard to clean. If so, please remember that there are coatings that are available for polycarbonate materials that make them more resistant to scratching and easier to clean. There are also sacrificial (and easy to replace) films that can be put on polycarbonate to help protect it from scratching. We can help source these for you if you provide the additional information referred to above.

I certainly hope this information is of some value to you and thank you again for contacting the Glass Detective.

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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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