Jacksonville, FL – Have you ever wondered how windows are made? Samantha from Flat Glass Distributors Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida gave us a tour of their production facility, showing each step in the manufacturing process.
The First step of the process is cutting. Large sheets of glass are delivered in different types (Solex, Clear Advantage, and more). These sheets can come up to 110 by 110 feet and come in thicknesses ranging from 1/16 inch to 1/2 inch. A large cutting machine is then programed by employees to cut glass into specific dimensions. Flat Glass even provides more intricate cutting for more unusual shapes, which is done with handheld tools by a skillful employee.
Once the sheet has been cut, the pane passes along to a fabrication center. Here, holes are drilled, notches are applied to corners, and edges can be polished depending on the customer’s requests. Flat Glass has the ability to bevel, flat polish, or pencil polish.
If required, the glass then goes into a tempering oven. Tempered glass breaks into small pieces upon breaking. For instance, for safety reasons the side and back windows of cars are intended to break into small pieces to prevent exposure to large, jagged glass. On the other hand, windshields are intended to do the opposite, so that visibility can be maintained when fractured.
The glass then passes along to an insulation station. Ideal for windows, two pieces of glass are mended together with a layer of air for insulation. After being cleaned, spacers are applied. Then using a sealing machine, the windows are mended and the insulating air cannot escape. That pocket of air may not seem like much, but it significantly slows the heat convection process between two sides of a window. Several Sika products can be used in this step depending on the specifications. A perfect seal can be obtained Sikasil SG-18, Sikasil SG-10, or the heavy duty, weatherproofing Sikasil WS-305 CN to protect against Florida hurricanes.
Lee and Cate Glass, Flat Glass’ parent company, is a 4th generation family owned business that has been operating for roughly 100 years. Their expertise is clear as the facilities are efficient, effective, and their products are beautiful. And a big thank you to Samantha and Tom for the tour!