As the fruit of a joint development agreement between AGC and Panasonic, AGC Glass Europe is to invest in production of vacuum glazing(1) at its plant in Lodelinsart (Belgium), a technology that offers very high energy performance. Production is due to start in March 2019, with the products mainly going to the construction industry.
The new production unit will combine Panasonic's expertise in display-related technology with AGC's know-how in glass processing to produce glazing units with thermal(2) and acoustic insulation properties as good as or even better than triple glazing. But their thickness (less than 1 cm) is a fifth to a quarter that of units of the same dimensions, while their weight is one third lighter. Finally the thinness of the vacuum glass affords better light transmission. Marketed under the name of "Fineo" the new vacuum glazing will moreover offer unrivalled aesthetic finishing.
The new product can be combined with the existing range of AGC multifunctional glass (for solar control, security, acoustic insulation etc.). It will be aimed at the market for new construction (housing and non-residential) and renovation, a segment with significant sales potential in Europe. "With Fineo we have the opportunity to introduce a new generation of ultra-high performance windows, or to retrofit existing window frames so as to take advantage of the new glass technology for highest environmental performance at a reasonable cost," declared Serge Martin, New Business Development Manager of AGC Glass Europe. Fineo will be for the first time on display at the international glass trade fair “glasstec” (23-26 October 2018, Düsseldorf, Germany).
The investment of around 10 million euros will create direct employment for about 20 people at an initial stage.
(1) Double glazing made of two sheets each with a minimum thickness of 3 mm, one with a super-insulating coating, separated by a 0.1 mm vacuum gap.
(2) Vacuum double glazing offers a thermal insulation coefficient Ug of 0.7 W/(m²K) with the future possibility to achieve 0.4 W/(m²K) compared with 1.1 for super-insulating double glazing and 2.8 for ordinary double glazing.