Vacuum-assisted deep drawing of thin glass

New molding processes for flat glass  

Thin glass can be molded into complex 3D geometries using the vacuum deep drawing process: Even small bending radii and high aspect ratios with high levels of form accuracy can be achieved in this way.

Using this process, the thin glass is heated to a point at which it can be molded by external forces. A vacuum generated between the tool and the sheet of glass then pulls the glass into the required form which remains stable once the glass has cooled down.

The additional application of positive pressure can further enhance the forming behavior. The vacuum on one side of the glass and the positive pressure on the other side permit higher aspect ratios and very small bending radii at lower temperatures compared with those achieved in conventional gravitational bending operations.

Structures for functional glass elements

Additionally, both micro and macro structures can be incorporated directly in the forming procedure. This allows particularly optical and haptic effects such as anti-reflection or anti-skid properties to be added which can otherwise only achieved by coating or laser structuring. The advantages over surface functionalization via laser is that in this case, even very thin glass can be structured and that a very diverse range of glass types can be used for the deep drawing operation. Eliminating the need for a coating operation also has environmental advantages as recycling is facilitated. The need for costly finishing steps can also be eradicated.

3D-formed thin glass for telecommunications, medical technology or automotive-based applications

Vacuum-assisted deep drawing operations conducted on thin glass can contribute to the emergence of entirely new products or can bring about cost savings in the manufacture of established products. There is a growing demand for three-dimensionally shaped thin glass in the automotive industry for example as well as in the home electronics sector for smart phones or tablets, in medical technology, optics and glazing.

In developing customized products, we support our customers and partners, focusing on meeting each aspect of their requirements starting from product design through the manufacture of the forming tool all the way to the finished 3D glass.

Our Services

  • Providing process expertise and running processes throughout the entire manufacturing chain
  • Conducting market analyses of the utilization of thin glass products
  • Developing forming tool layout and design
  • Manufacturing forming tools
  • Simulation
  • Performing systematic series of tests
  • Data management: Solutions for recording data throughout the entire process chain
  • Developing economic strategies
    • Developing optimum measuring processes
    • Analyzing the value stream