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LandGlass double curvature glass tempering solution for Hong Kong

As a globally renowned architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects consistently create unforgettable, audacious designs, which embody Zaha Hadid’s revolutionary explorations of urban life and architectural aesthetics.

2 Murray Road, Hong Kong’s future architectural landmark, is designed by Hadid’s close friend and partner, Patrik Schumacher. The building’s elegant, intricate curved façade is one of its distinguishing features, yet the production of these large curved glass façade poses significant challenges for contractors and suppliers. LandGlass tackled the greatest difficulty in fabricating these tempered double-curved, laminated insulating glass units.

These complex, double-curved glass units consist of four glass panels, arranged in the following sequence from the inside out: two ultra-white SGP laminated panes, air space, and two double-silver Low-E ultra-white SGP laminated glass panels.

This posed several questions: How to accurately obtain the unfolding dimensions of each curved glass panel? How to quickly and uniformly heat the double-silver Low-E glass? How to choose the best process to ensure the precise shaping and tempering of the glass, while ensuring the consistency of the complex curved shape? These became the three major challenges that had to be addressed.

1. Accurately obtaining the unfolding dimensions of each curved glass panel
The entire building features over ten thousand large curved glass panels, each with slight variations in size and shape depending on its location. In total, there are hundreds of different sizes and curvatures. So, how can one accurately determine the unfolding dimensions of each glass panel? Drawing upon years of experience in large and complex curved glass tempering, LandGlass has developed tailored software and proprietary design plugins to analyse model dimensions and radii. Through this process, LandGlass can obtain unfolding diagrams and dimensions for glass processing that closely approximate the actual shape. This is the crucial first step.

2. Achieving efficient and uniform heating of double-silver Low-E ultra-clear glass
The double-silver Low-E glass features a low emissivity rate of less than 0.05 and a surface area exceeding 10 square metres, which poses a significant challenge in achieving uniform heating, efficiency and the integrity of the Low-E film after heating. To overcome this obstacle, LandGlass employed its forced convection heating technology, which has been awarded the National Patent Gold Award. Supplemented by non-linear temperature control and other patented innovations, the technology ensures precise, uniform heating of the glass, laying the foundation for subsequent bending, shaping and tempering processes.

3. Forming the complex double-curved surfaces
Tens of thousands of large curved glass panes, with hundreds of different dimensions and curvatures, would require a substantial expenditure of mould costs, mould consumables, and labour and material expenses during the commissioning process if each piece were to be formed using conventional moulds. Given these considerations, the research and development team opted for a highly flexible, precise, and easily controlled soft shaft bending process. During the shaping process, inputting the unfolding diagram of the double-curved glass into the computer yields the position data for each glass point, and the automatic control system drives the soft-axis motor to achieve the desired shape. With the successful adjustment of the curvature, the optimal tempering process parameters are set, and each flawless, large double-curved, bent tempered glass pane, tailored for the construction of 2 Murray Road, is meticulously crafted.

As architectural aesthetics and public taste continue to evolve, the emergence of technologically-driven structures and designs, such as Beijing Daxing International Airport, Crescent Moon Tower in Dubai and Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi, increasingly encourage producers in the glass processing industry to embrace change. From May 6 to 9, 2023, LandGlass invites you to China Glass 2023, at Booth 081 in Hall N3 of Shanghai New International Expo Centre to explore the future and challenges of glass tempering together.

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