Glasstech ahead of solar energy technology trend

Glasstech, Inc., the world-class developer and manufacturer of glass bending and tempering systems, is meeting the exploding growth within the solar power industry. The US Department of Energy estimat…

Glasstech, Inc., the world-class developer and manufacturer of glass bending and tempering systems, is meeting the exploding growth within the solar power industry. The US Department of Energy estimates by 2020 there will be more than 20 gigawatts of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) alone online in the United States, which require shaped glass parts for parabolic reflectors. In addition, the demand for shaped glass substrates and extremely flat glass panels for the photovoltaic solar energy segment is growing at a rapid rate. Glasstech has engineered the Cylindrical Radius Bender – Solar Parabolic Shapes (CRB-S(TM)) as a cost-effective and efficient means of providing the essential glass parts needed in the burgeoning CSP market. CSP uses glass-based parabolic mirrors to create a trough, concentrating the sun“s rays on a tube-within-a-tube configuration containing a heat transfer medium. That system provides the heat to create steam that powers an on-site electricity-producing turbine. Glasstech“s CRB-S features a forming bed that is 1,700mm by 2,000mm and processes glass of varying thicknesses, depending on the surface-strengthening treatment required. The system will form glass from 1.6mm up to 5.0mm for the specifications and tolerances needed for solar parabolic trough reflector glass parts. CRB-S systems maintain characteristics similar to other systems in the CRB family and are able to form constant radius shapes, J-bends and the shapes needed to comply with parabolic trough specifications. “The CRB-S meets the needs of the Concentrated Solar Power industry by delivering the tolerances and repeatability required to produce the large volume of glass parts the CSP industry will use,” said Michael Ondrus, Glasstech“s director of Solar Energy Systems. Glasstech“s CRB-S does not use dedicated tooling. It bends glass using patented, computer-controlled technology. Because of its unique shape control, glass produced on the CRB-S achieves strict tolerances and a high degree of shape repeatability. “CSP uses miles of glass-based parabolic troughs, and one advantage of the CRB-S is its high throughput – that means it“s cost-effective,” said Jim Schnabel, Glasstech“s vice president of Product Development. A typical system, configured to produce parabolic parts, will produce up to 150 parts per hour dependent upon thickness and size requirements. The CRB-S“s flexibility is due to its computer-controlled forming. Shape changes take only minutes. Each section of parabolic reflector requires distinctly shaped glass parts. Additionally, the CRB-S can produce low-stress glass for lamination and heat strengthened or fully tempered glass parts with minimal system changes.