Almost anything can be made with and from glass. Experience has taught us. Passion for this fascinating material has taught us. Your projects will benefit from this knowledge. Discover with us what kinds of glass exists, how they can be processed and formed, and the different coatings possible.
We will introduce you to our engineering platforms – and familiarize you with our philosophy.
The raw glass is the key.
The selection of the right cover glass is already a decisive parameter for your project. After all, if you don’t deal with glass on a daily basis, it is not always easy to foresee the consequences of your choice. This is why we always support our customers when choosing the right raw glass. We clearly state what is possible and where restrictions are lurking.
As a full-line supplier, we don’t have to influence your decision in any particular direction: we have just about everything in stock that the market for flat glass has to offer. Five types of glass in over 50 thicknesses between 0.55 and 25.4 mm.
In addition, there is special-purpose glass, such as thin glass, for example B270 or D263, solid-coloured glass, colour-effect filters, patterned glass, glass tubes, or even anti-reflective glass.
- Float glass
- White glass
- Aluminium silicate glass
- Borosilicate glass
- Glass ceramics
- Thin glass
- Coloured glass
- Special glasses
We have 12 thicknesses from 0.95 to 25 mm in stock
Float glass, technically mostly soda lime or soda lime silicate glass, is the most common kind of glass (“window glass”). Its name derives from the manufacturing process: In an endless, continuous process, the glass melt is transferred to a bath of liquid tin. The glass floats on the surface, cools down and is removed as a tension-free glass sheet with a variable thickness.
Float glass is suitable for products that only have to withstand chemical stress for a short period of time and are not subject to high thermal stress. After processing, it is usually tempered to become safety glass.
We have eleven thicknesses from 0.95 to 19 mm in stock
White glass is also produced using the float process. However, the glass contains considerably less ferric oxide and therefore does not appear greenish, but optically white, hence the name. It is chosen when normal float glass cannot be used for optical reasons. After processing, it is usually transformed into tempered safety glass.
We have three thicknesses from 0.55 to 1.8 mm in stock
Aluminium silicate glass, (trade name e.g. Gorilla glass) is a thin glass; usual thicknesses are between 0.4 and 2.3 mm. It is more scratch-resistant than float glass and offers excellent optical properties, which is why it is often used for displays of smartphones and tablet computers.
Unlike float glass, aluminium silicate glass can only be chemically toughened (by ion exchange). The thermal transformation to tempered safety glass is not possible.
We have 23 thicknesses from 0.7 to 25.4 mm in stock
Borosilicate glass (trade names such as Duran or Jenaer) is practically inert and does not react with chemicals, pharmaceutical products and water. Its low coefficient of thermal expansion also makes it less sensitive to temperature fluctuations. You may know the material from glass casserole dishes in the kitchen. From a technical aspect, it is used for laboratory equipment, in medical and process engineering, as well as sight glass in the process industry or generally for applications that are exposed to great stress.
We have three thicknesses from 3 to 5 mm in stock
Glass ceramics (e.g. Ceran, Robax or Nextrema) are produced from glass melts by controlled crystallisation. These composite materials of glass and crystals have a high mechanical strength and can withstand temperatures of up to 950 °C. Their coefficient of thermal expansion is close to 0, so that even extreme temperature changes of up to 800 °C cannot harm them. Glass ceramics are therefore ideally suited as fire viewing or fire protection panels in fireplaces and furnaces, even for lining fire boxes, but also as parts in laser gyroscopes or as underlays in laboratories.
Nextrema from SCHOTT, for example, can withstand temperature shocks of up to 820 °C without any problems.
Flat glass, thinner than paper
Thin glass (trade names e.g. D 263, AF 32 or B 270) is flat glass with a thickness of less than 1.1 mm – down to 30 µm. These glass types are often not floated, but the glass sheet is pulled through the cooling section by various drums. The result is a flawless surface with a surface roughness of less than 0.5 nm.
Depending on the type of glass and its composition (D 263 and AF 32: borosilicate; B270: soda lime), thin glass is often used in applications that require the optical, chemical or physical advantages of glass, but where a thin glass layer is sufficient for technical reasons. Examples are applications in optics, biotechnology, optoelectronics, sensor technology, display technology, battery technology or semiconductor production.
The majority of thin glasses cannot be tempered. An exception is the D 263 T eco, which can be tempered chemically.
Colour through and through
We apply color to glass either by full-surface printing with inorganic and thus UV and temperature-resistant colors – or by using tinted colored glass. The decisive factor is the application. While printing focuses on the exact reproduction of the customer’s color, solid-colored glass is primarily concerned with the optical properties.
More widely known are photo and color filters, which can also be combined to create color effect filters, e.g. for projectors. Other applications include neutral density filters which attenuate all wavelengths uniformly – or contrast enhancement filters, as used in display glass, to ensure true-color reproduction.
Color on glass alone is an extensive topic. Rely on our experience to select the optimal material for your application.
Borosilicate glass put in form
Glass tubes are used in a wide variety of applications, in 360° cameras as well as in solar lamps, heat exchangers or desoldering stations. The available spectrum is quite broad. The manufacturer SCHOTT alone supplies more than 60 types in lengths ranging from 300 µm to 10 meters and outside diameters ranging from 0.9 mm to 0.46 m. They are available in crystal clear as well as colored or with specific filter properties.
Our specialists not only support you to select the right material, but also help you in finding solutions to process it. From the extended rim in the picture on the left to the ground groove for the sealing ring. With or without printing, laser treated or ground to micrometer precision – according to your wishes and requirements.
Patterned glass, special-purpose glass…
The selection of patterned glasses in the picture left only shows a few examples of special glasses. The advantage of patterned glass is the very high light transmission. The light-diffusing visual protection effect depends on the pattern that the manufacturer imprints into the glass during production. Depending on the application and chemical composition, there are different properties with their respective processing and hardening options.
If you have not yet found the optimum glass for your application, please call us. We look forward to your challenges and make them ours.
Tempered safety glass
Tempered safety glass is not a type of glass on its own, but thermally toughened glass according to DIN EN ISO 12150-2. This is achieved by heating flat glass to approx. 630° C and cooling the surface abruptly by blowing air on it. This process causes compressive stresses in the surface and tensile stresses in the glass volume. The compressive stresses make tempered safety glass considerably more resistant to temperature changes (200 K compared to 40 K for untempered float glass) and, above all, much stronger – which is why the process is also known as “toughening”. If – under excessive mechanical stress – cracks penetrate into the glass volume, the frozen tensile stresses are released abruptly, and the glass breaks up into small fragments without any sharp edges.
Aluminium silicate glass – like all thin glasses – cannot be tempered. Instead, it is toughened in a special salt bath. The bath causes an ion exchange in a thin layer of the surface and thus induces strong compressive stresses. Those significantly increase the strength of the glass, this is why it is also called “chemical toughened”. Due to the lack of tensile stresses in the glass volume, under force the glass breaks up into larger pieces. However, due to the compressive stress these glass pieces have hardly any sharp edges on the tempered sides.
Tempered safety glass is used, for example, for design panels to minimize the risk of injury from glass breakage. Glasses for HMIs are also generally toughened.
Because of the tensions, tempered glass can no longer be mechanically processed.
When it comes to glass processing, we are the top of the class.
The experience, the knowledge, the sensitivity make the difference, as do the machines we develop and build ourselves. And of course, the people working with these machines make the difference.
Many of our CNC-controlled, automated production processes we developed ourselves. Many details we learned the hard way. This has a long-standing tradition with us. Because these processes result in unique selling points for our customers. Which in turn is the basis for the success of our customers in the market…
- CNC glass processing
- Edge processing
- Waterjet cutting
- Drilling and countersinking
- Laser processing
- Heat treatment
- Centreless grinding
Haptics – ground into the glass
The evenly flat surface of flat glass actually requires no post-processing – unless your application requires encoder, slider or fingertip guides. These are ground into the glass – which means that glass is removed evenly in thin layers. Afterwards, the glass is no longer transparent at these points.
If the indentations in the glass are to be restored to their original transparency, the areas must be polished. The unprinted cover glass on the left in the picture shows the difference between a purely ground haptics – and the ground and polished indentations of the finished product on the right.
We process glass with machine we developed ourselves
“Automated glass processing at industrial level can be done by anyone who has the right machines for the job”. Like so often, generalized conclusions are not correct, not even in principle. The machines – especially their control systems – are or great importance, no doubt about it. But far more important are the specialists in production, who know their material and their machines inside out. Who can achieve tolerances of ±9.5 µm in glass, for instance.
One of our gantry robots in use
Your blanks are cut from a large flat glass panel (standard size in Europe: 6,000 mm × 3,210 mm). As in the old days at the master glazier around the corner, the glass sheet is scored with a diamond and then broken by hand over an edge. CNC-controlled gantry robots carry out the scoring with millimetre precision at our facility in Schönsee.
We give your edge the right polish
In edge processing we give the blank a face. What comes out of the cutting department has irregular, sharp edges. If this edge remains invisible later on, for example because it is lying in a frame, it is only arrised; i.e. the sharp edges are fractured so that no one gets injured in later work steps.
Visible edges usually get a C or U shape. A stepped edge is used for pressure loaded viewing glass.
The most impressive, however, is when someone hits the specially ground edge of one of our industrial HMIs with a large screwdriver – and nothing happens. We will be pleased to advise you on which edge processing is suitable for your task and the raw glass selected for it.
Ideal for creating all kind of shapes in glass
We use environmentally friendly waterjets to cut glass into shapes other than rectangular, to make cut-outs or to create custom shaped glass structures.
The cutting jet simply consists of water under high pressure and some sand. Nevertheless, it is much harder than diamonds and could even cut through armor steel.
Drilling glass is like nailing pudding to a wall…
In metalwork, Drilling and countersinking are quite simple machining processes. The only problem: glass is not a solid, but a solidified melt and behaves completely differently from metal.
Nevertheless, we have developed standardized and industrial processes to make holes, blind holes (cavities) or for countersinking in glass.
How does the hologram get in the glass…?
Glass can be processed quite well with a laser. Depending on the setting and energy input, material can be removed (ablation). For example, to create rectangular cavities (blind holes), into which LEDs are later embedded, keeping a flat surface.
Filamentation can be used to cut glass, similar to waterjet cutting, but with much smoother edges that do not require any further processing.
The laser can also be used to structure surfaces or, for example, to embed logos and markings in the glass, thus individualizing products or making life difficult for product piracy.
I was a flat sheet
If flat glass is heated over a certain temperature (around 700° C, depending on the type of glass), it can be bent or brought into a defined shape with the right tools. Depending on the cooling process, the glass then remains relaxed – for example, for further processing, or normal float glass becomes tougher and more resistant tempered safety glass.
A further heat treatment is enameling: At about 630° C, the ceramic colors fuse – practically inseparably – with the base glass.
Concentrical glass sparts with a high surface quality
Centreless grinding – or rounding – is a high-quality, chipping manufacturing process for glass, ideally suited for parts that require high surface quality and closest machining tolerances. What began centuries ago as a handicraft art is an extraordinarily complex process today.
We encounter round glasses, for example, as transparent protective elements for lights or as sight glasses in the process industry. To turn square or roughly pre-aligned blanks into uniform, concentrical glass parts, we clamp them between the tips of a precision centreless grinding machine and bring them to the desired diameter. Tolerances as low as ± 0.001 with regard to dimensional accuracy, concentricity and cylindrical shape are achievable (in accordance with DIN EN ISO 286-1; surface roughness in accordance with DIN ISO 1302).
Applicable not only for optical glass
Sawing glass is a process that originally comes from the optical industry. Because high-purity, optical glass are usually only available as bar glass, as in the picture on the left. We use a glass saw to cut the blanks, which are then processed in a wide variety of ways.
Glass can be sawed very precisely; Tolerances of a tenth of a millimetre and below are feasible. An application example are sight glasses that are embedded flush in a fitting and therefore have to be not only dimensionally accurate but also perfectly rectangular. The blank for the centreless-grinded part (see centreless grinding) is also cut to size with the glass saw.
Your design and our functionality: An unbeatable team!
For over 30 years, we have mastered the art of applying color-fast logos, UV-resistant designs or perfectly readable screen printing to glass. For over ten years, our printing systems have been located in a clean room. This enables us to reduce rejects – and guarantees the highest quality. Also for all processing steps to follow.
- Color systems
- Matrix Sensor
- Antireflection coating
- Multilayer graphic design
- Digital printing on glass
- Multi-material design
No colored glass, but long-term resistant ceramic screen printing
We prefer to use inorganic, ceramic colors: environmentally friendly pigments of metal oxides, mixed with glass powder and a small amount of solvent. The latter burn in the heat treatment; pigments and glass powder enamel with the base glass.
The result: prints that tolerate up to 300° C and are infinitely UV-resistant. Compared to organic lacquers, vitreous enamel is ten times more scratch-resistant and exhibits a hundredfold higher adhesive strength after hot storage.
So why do we use organic paints? Because, for example, aluminium silicate glass cannot be thermally hardened and thus cannot be enameled. Similarly, glass that has already been tempered – whether thermally or chemically – can only be printed with organic paints.
Optically bonded in Schönsee
To turn a standard display and a regular float glass into a sophisticated touch system, a sensor must recognize the position of the finger(s).
We use projected capacitive touch sensors (PCAP), which are based on electrically conductive and transparent indium tin oxide (ITO). The technical process involves coating a glass panel with ITO and structuring this layer with a laser in a linear or diamond shape. This creates a grid that can be used to identify the position of one or more fingers, but also gestures. For the evaluation of the touch sensor signals we provide complete solutions (hardware and firmware).
To avoid reflections at the contact surfaces of the individual glasses, the individual parts of the touch system are usually optically bonded.
Printed in Schönsee
To enhance a touch HMI with control keys, sliders or faders, encoders or touchpads, no expensive ITO sensors manufactured in complex semiconductor processes are required. Unless these control elements should or must be transparent. Because, for example, there is a display in the background.
We screen print the required touch sensors on the well-protected back of the glass. The control elements thus consist of simple conductor track areas. Additional hardware elements are not required – except for light effects, e.g. to display the current position of a fader. For the evaluation of these matrix sensors and for light effects we also have ready-to-use solutions (hardware and firmware).
Anti-reflective glass enhances every design
Anti-reflection layers – often also called optical tempering – are realized in coating processes. The difference between “anti-reflective” and “reflective” is well known to people wearing glasses. A transparent layer is applied to the glass, which significantly reduces reflections on the glass surface; logos and graphic elements, but also the fireplace flames, show to advantage under all lighting conditions.
Protection through a glass panel
Coatings can be used to adapt the properties of the glass to specific demands.
An anti-reflective coating on the inside of a fire protection panel serves to increase the temperature in the combustion chamber. On the outside, it keeps the ashes from being visible.
A remedy against electrostatic discharge and protection against EMC interference is offered by our ESD discharge coating. Shielding-wise, this turns an open glass window into a closed and grounded metal roller shutter.
Other coatings prevent visible fingerprints, act against microbial colonization, prevent the adhesion of e.g. dust, dirt and chippings or ensure that pedestrians do not slip on floor lights.
Rich colors from the front – thanks to optical barrier layer on the back
Screen printing means: One color per cycle. To bring colorful, elegant designs to glass, five or seven or even more cycles may be required. Printing is always done on the back of the glass. The last layer is usually an optical barrier layer, because if you look at a high-quality laboratory device from the front, you should not see cables or circuit boards on the inside.
Of course, we have solutions for invisible windows, for example for IR remote controls.
Digital printing or screen printing – can you see the difference?
In digital printing, the printing process itself is not necessarily faster – but there is no need to fabricate any printing screens. Through this process, we not only put pictures behind glass, but above all we bring fast prototypes and samples to your table.
There are no limits to design and creative freedom. How about a brick-look front panel or an amazingly authentic chamomile on the keyboard of a medical device?
Digital printing or metal foil – can you tell the difference?
Brushed stainless steel simply looks good – and is incredibly hard to imitate. We have succeeded with digital printing – and in the right light the differences are hardly visible.
But real stainless steel is just more visually appealing. To ensure that it stays that way for a long time – without scratches, fingerprints, or unsightly dirty edges – we put stainless steel behind glass. In the form of brushed or ground metal foils. Creating stainless steel effects that stay clean. As long as the device is in use.
Cleaning, matting, decorating
Every glass surface can be matt or sanitized – either fully or partially – by etching or sandblasting, i.e. it can be given an opaque, silk-matt surface.
Etching is done with hydrofluoric acid (FH30), the only substance that can dissolve glass immediately. This has been a common practice in the glass industry since ancient times; hydrofluoric acid was “always” used to clean, mat or decorate glass surfaces.
Sandblasting is not always an alternative to etching. Although the optical result is almost identical. However, sandblasting creates small surface defects in the glass, which can reduce its bending tensile strength.
Ready-to-go solutions – our engineering platforms
Focus on the core application of your new project. Save time during the development phase. Use our engineering platforms. Over the past 25 years, we developed these platforms step by step, ensured reliable processing and made them available to our customers. Every Irlbacher glass product consists of a customer-specific combination of processing methods and engineering platforms. Practically every combination is one of a kind and provides our customers with unique selling points that can hardly be copied.
IMPAtouch: Electronics on glass
Light control, touch and much more – 32-bit processing power
In the case of simple glass covers, there is nothing behind the optical barrier layer. With IMPAtouch, the electronics for the evaluation of sensor signals, for the control of LEDs, indicators or touch displays are located right there. Having the electronics piggybacked on the glass shortens the cable lengths for sensitive sensor signals considerably. The advantage: clear signals, no false triggering. No remote electronics, no unnecessary cables.
The results are state-of-the-art touch systems, which we can turn into the noblest and most robust, but also the most cost-effective solution for your HMI.
But IMPAtouch can do much more: Vanishing effects for control elements that only certain users can see. Directed lighting. And much more….
Uniform illumination through LEDs embedded in the glass
LEDs, conductor paths and glass get along very well – if they are properly matched. If this is the case there will be no fatigue fractures due to different thermal expansion, no heat damage of LEDs or other active components due to accumulated heat. Depending on directed lighting and contacting, we place the LED on the glass – or even in the glass.
Whether we use organic or inorganic LEDs is not important to us; we have mastered both. If necessary, even in the same application.
At IMPAled, we can completely avoid using fans, metal cores or other heat exchangers; the heat is always dissipated through the glass.
Proximity sensors and vanishing effect combined
With our IMPAtouch or our ITO matrix, we create projected-capacitive (PCAP) touch features. But with sensor technology on glass there are many, many more possibilities:
Proximity sensors switch off the vanishing effect: the glass sculpture on the wall becomes the control panel of your smart home.
IR-transparent “windows” enable infrared signals to be sent and received through the printed glass panel.
For measuring temperatures, brightness or movement, fully tested platform solutions are available, as well as for wireless interfaces, connection to bus systems or even radar, in order to detect people and their proximity and to guide them e.g. by light.
Finger guide ground into the glass for operating without a visual
The first glass touch systems for industrial applications had a haptic problem: Because the glass panel was flat and smooth, you never knew where exactly your finger was. During setting mode, the eye constantly wandered back and forth between the control panel and the process.
This is no longer the case.
IMPAfeel is our vision-free finger control. The operator can feel the position of his fingers through indentations in the glass. His gaze can rest on the process.
Whether it’s a simple control key, encoder or slider: Together we will find the optimal solution for your application – with considerably added value for your customers.
In combination with IMPAled, the haptic feedback also creates an optical feedback: The user knows where his slider is, even when his finger is long gone!
Switch over by force detection
Not only do our sensors know where the fingers are, they also know how much force is applied to the glass. This opens up new possibilities for your application by controlling the operation via pressure, for example an amount of intensity.
But IMPAsensitive can also detect panic reactions – for example, if a stronger pressure is applied as a reflex or the hand is suddenly taken from the glass.
There are no limits to your ideas. Switching functions, for example between upper and lower case, but also between different operating levels, are just one example.
IMPAtactile, for example, supplements IMPAfeel with an additional, noticeable feedback: Every time a keystroke or control command is recognized or executed, the HMI vibrates briefly. The operator therefore not only knows that his finger is at the right place (IMPAfeel), but also that the control system has executed his command (IMPAtactile).
No need to take your eyes off the process.
By the way: It is not at all easy to make a fully bonded sheet of glass vibrate on a small control panel equipped for IP68. But we will find the right solution for your application. That’s a promise!
- IMPA System
Cloud connectivity and much more…
IMPAtouch requires a powerful 32-bit microcontroller (Cortex M3) to evaluate the sensor signals. But – metaphorically speaking – most of the time this capable calculating machine does not really have much to do. During these breaks it can take over tasks of your application, for example.
Or, in the sense of edge computing, it can preprocess data and push it into the cloud (which can of course also be your IPC in your own machine). Or it can collect operating data in anonymized form to understand how often certain functions are selected during operation. After all, the operator’s view of a machine is often completely different from the manufacturer’s…
One of our facilities for tempering
Generally, we regard IMPAdur as tempered glass, regardless of whether it is thermal tempering according to DIN EN ISO 12150-2 or ion exchange in the case of aluminium silicate glass.
Glass in your corporate color
IMPAcolor is our brand name for tinted glass (colored glass). On the one hand it is used for esthetic reasons, on the other hand it is used to achieve certain filter functions. Colored glass allow only certain wavelengths to pass through and can therefore be used for a wide range of filter functions. Examples are neutral density filters, which have a constant attenuation over the entire range of visible light – or filters to enhance contrasts, such as those used as cover glass for displays.
If there is no corresponding colored glass in your corporate color, we can also print glass over its entire surface and thus create almost any color. Inorganic, ceramic lacquers with a high pigment content are used for this purpose for rich and full colors. The transformation process enamels the color and the carrier glass. IMPAcolor is therefore color stable and color-fast up to 300°C.
Microwell plates made of borosilicate glass
In contrast to float glass, which is called “soft glass” in our industry, borosilicate glass belongs to the “hard glass” category. It practically does not react chemically, which makes it an ideal material for laboratory applications.
An outstanding physical property is its very low thermal expansion. This also makes borosilicate glass ideal for heating and hot applications, or for challenges involving frequently changing temperatures.
Sight glass with steps for flush mounting
Steps or levels in a component – sounds rather harmless at first. Only if the material is glass, the harmless part will be over very quickly. Glass cannot be chipped, only removed layer by layer. Nevertheless – or exactly because of this – precise steps or levels can be manufactured in glass – if you can do it.
The process industry, for example, requires plugs with certain increments. Another application is framed glass: glass panels that are embedded in a frame in such a way that the front is flush. So not only the edge of the glass panel is protected perfectly.
With the right design, a glass panel can handle high pressures, as it is the case with sight glasses for the process industry, for example. Together with the appropriate adhesive, however, it is also possible to build, for example, trafficable outdoor lights in IP68.
Touch solution ready to install – with electronics, cover and design
There is still an internal debate as to whether IMPAsystem is even a technology platform in its own right. After all, this is only “system integration”.
However, only those who have not yet dealt with the optimal combination and coordination of processing steps and engineering platforms for a customer application say this: In theory, there are always several solutions. In practice, however, usually only one solution works over the long term and across all processes and tolerances.
Recognizing this one optimal solution in advance and setting up the project correctly requires a lot of experience. Experience that we are happy to put at your disposal. Right from the start. During the entire design process. While the production is running. And afterwards too, when the series has long since been discontinued, but your key customers ask for spare parts or obsolescence management solutions.
Our expertise as a system supplier is best put to use when you present us with complex challenges. When we not only supply the simple glass cover for the elegant design panel, but also develop the touch electronics for it, the frame, the directed lighting, the light traps – and supply you with the ready-to-install subsystem.
- 360° project management
- Lowering tolerances
- Concept development
- Processing power
- System peripherals
- Process Development
Proactive support right from the start
One of our specialists will meet you where you are and will assume responsibility for your project. Right from the start. Together with you, he gets an understanding for your task and your challenge. A reliable sparring partner who will find the professionals and experts at our premises with whom he can best put your ideas into reality. He does not wait until you come up with something, but supports you proactively from the very start. With suggestions. With sketches. With drawings. With examples and functional samples.
To us, project management means: The work is by no means finished with the first order. Your contact person takes care of delivery times. And spare parts. For obsolescence management, because electronic components are fast-moving…
Complex solutions from a single source
Several independent suppliers, each of them only supplying parts for one assembly, in the end also means: tolerances on each component. In the worst case, these will add up to such an extent that you will have to rework the parts. Or even worse: the end customer sees it.
You can save yourself all this – with us as your system supplier. Not only do we have all the glass processes in-house – but also design and expertise in plastics. Our internal coordination avoids tolerances and ensures that your production gets ready-to-install assemblies that are a perfect fit. Our comprehensive vertical integration also reduces risks in the supply chain enormously.
Make use of our solution construction kit
You have a precise idea of your application, the target group and the integration into your overall system. We will find the ideal solution to transform your ideas into a product suitable for series production.
This is easier said than done: transforming ideas into a technical concept for series production, is most of the time a long, interactive process. In joint workshops, we often find amazingly simple solutions that enable you to implement new functions which you had never thought about, or that create a truly unique selling point for the end customer. Just like in the picture on the left.
The earlier we start collaborating, the faster you will get the perfect product.
A smart control panel operates and illuminates the entire refrigerator
Of course, we can make small control units with display and three switches. But that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about complex, smart touch HMIs that are an embedded system in themselves.
Our computer is located on the back of the base glass. Industrial electronics at its finest, with the interfaces your application needs. With the “circuit board design” that fits your application. With full processing power, that can also perform partial tasks of your application.
The (ARM Cortex-M3-32-bit) microcontrollers we use for touch signal processing have enough power to perform calculations, control kitchen hoods, LEDs, motors and relays or provide displays with information.
The invisible industrial processor – made visible
Granted: It’s rather cheeky to call displays or ITO matrix sensors system peripherals. But truth be told, it’s not wrong: The core of our embedded HMI is the powerful 32-bit computer. We build the application around it according to customer specifications. Usually with touch functionality, not always with a display and ITO matrix sensor, but increasingly more often. The display can be up to 24″ in size. In addition, we can also operate remote displays, for example for numerical inputs via keyboard or encoder.
Proximity sensors provide the information for the vanishing effect. We communicate with display controllers as smoothly as with higher-level system computers.
In modern terminology, our embedded HMI is an edge computer that processes user data and enrichens it with context.
Mounting and fastening solutions customized for your application
Every embedded HMI, every front panel, every protective glass requires a mounting solution: screws, clamps, clicks, glues… Frames – tin, stainless steel, plastic… covering profiles. Directed lighting. Light traps.
Even here, we have all the above-mentioned technologies and materials in-house. Ideally, we place technically unavoidable tolerances where they will help to compensate other tolerances. This ensures that you will receive a ready-to-install module that has been manufactured in an industrial series process and just fits.
Peek over the shoulder of one of our design engineers
We are constantly thinking about ways to produce requested properties at even lower cost and with higher process reliability. For instance, with a partial or full-surface functional layer, like an ESD discharge.
We can do even better: If your innovative product requires it, we also build the corresponding manufacturing devices. Or the entire machine. Our know-how in glass processing and glass machine design plus your knowledge and experience in your field result in a unique selling position that money cannot buy. Because there is no second machine on this planet to do exactly the same… Except with us, if the quantities require it…
From Hands-on samples to serial production
Once the development process has been completed, our prototype department demonstrates its capabilities and competencies. From CNC glass processing and digital printing to electronics production, all the trades interact smoothly so that you can have one or more prototypes or functional models in your hands in the shortest possible time: Inspire your bosses, colleagues and customers with a real product!
The more we can use standard CNC machining processes and our solution construction kits, the cheaper and faster the execution. Ideally, non-recurring costs for tools and equipment remain extremely manageable.
CNC glass processing without product-specific tools also means that nothing is “engraved in stone” yet. Because even with really good concepts, in reality you can still find one or two things that can be done better, more appealing or more elegantly – or else, you realize how much more effective embedded HMI can be when taking over parts of the application…
A glance in our in-house test laboratory
Our in-house test laboratory does not only ensure the consistently high quality of our raw materials and processes. The measuring equipment is at your disposal for a wide range of inspection and environmental tests. Including competent advice from experienced specialists, who will assist you with their extensive knowledge of the material glass to interpret test results.
To find out which tests we can perform in our lab, click here.
Manufacturing and logistics
Once the design is completed and verified, the product is ready to go into series production. Even here, you will benefit from our enormous bandwidth: whether optical or air-gap bonding, conventional or plasma cleaning, mounting and assembly, to logistics and supply systems – we have the perfect solution for your requirements.
- Optical / Air-gap bonding
- Plasma Cleaning
- Mechanical and special-purpose engineering
We create ready-to-install subsystems from many individual parts
Assembly is much more than just screwing components together. For us it is the art of craftsmanship to turn industrially manufactured components into an industrial series product. With sensitivity and an open mind. With experience and the best equipment.
Assembly at Irlbacher is incredibly versatile. We glue, pot, join, (optically) bond, plug, screw, … With numerous components and individual parts, a complete assembly is created, ready for installation and delivered to you – on time.
The ITO sensor is optically bonded to the front glass
If you picture an embedded HMI in cross-section, it’s two glass panels with the ITO sensor in between. For perfect readability, disturbing reflections at the single layers must be avoided. In optical bonding, this task is performed by a translucent adhesive that has the same refractive index as glass (LOCA). Optically, the whole system becomes a single panel. Further advantages: No penetration of moisture and dust and thus no condensation between the panels. Higher color brilliance and better contrast. We have mastered the process of bubble-free bonding for years.
The cheaper solution is to join the two glass panels in the clean room using a surrounding adhesive tape frame. The air gap between the glass panels is maintained, which is why this process is also known as air-gap bonding.
Not just clean, beyond clean
In reality, manufacturing means: On all surfaces are always fine impurities that are invisible to the eye. However, these must be completely removed if glass is to be functionalized or bonded. We use a dry, atmospheric-pressure plasma for this purpose so that the materials can be processed immediately after cleaning.
At the same time, the plasma activates the surface, which ensures that adhesives or potting materials adhere better.
Plasma cleaning is environmentally friendly, without chemicals or solvents. This also means that no storage and disposal of solvents is required.
Mounting device for screen printing
Practically every product includes manufacturing devices to ensure, for example, that the blanks always enter the machine in the same position and with the same alignment. Screen printing includes the corresponding screens, and so on.
In Schönsee we manufacture these devices ourselves. Making sure that the first product of the first series is exactly the same as the last product of the last series. Even if there are sometimes eight or more years in-between.
The basis for IMPAfeel is a special-purpose machine developed by us
Not without reason, because Irlbacher became really successful in the 60s and 70s through numerous inventions in the field of machine glass processing. Even then we recognized the close connection between process and processing machine and since have built all our processing machines ourselves.
Some of our machines have even been developed and built only for one specific product of one of our customers. In other words, these products are almost impossible to copy because they simply cannot be manufactured on standard machines.
Even in packaging, we pay attention to every detail
A perfect product also requires the right logistics concept and the supply system that is tailored to it.
We deliver. You pick up. With our own vehicle fleet or by carrier. To the neighboring country or worldwide. To a consignment warehouse or to the assembly line. In a standard carton or in the small load carriers provided. Tell us what you need. We will find the optimal solution!
After Sales and Service
Even when the products are delivered, our work is far from over. As a manufacturer of a sub-system, we are available to assist our customers with advice, technical support and design-in services.
It goes without saying that we will keep an eye on your product – for example, to talk to you in a timely manner if new technologies develop at our company or if new possibilities for the further development of your product become apparent in our solution construction kit.
For many of our products, we are responsible for long-term availability and ensure your company`s supply security. Right down to the question of who stores what, so that spare parts are still available for several years even after the product is discontinued.
We also take care of obsolescence management, store discontinued key components or develop functional replacements in time if electronic components are no longer available.