Glass fabrication services is the manufacturing of glass parts and assemblies using blowing, casting, extrusion, drawing, pressing, heat shrinking or other fabrication processes. Additional processes such as machining, grinding, finishing, assembly or bonding may be used. Fabricated glass components are used for optical, architectural, chemical process, labware, lighting, electrical, electronics and structural applications.
The capabilities of providers of glass fabrication services are important to consider when searching for these services. Services include design assistance, glass blowing or assembly, glass part fabrication, glass cutting or profiling, glass repair, lampworking, materials development or research and development, material selection, photomask fabrication, inspection or testing, recycling or cullet processing, supplies, and training. Processes used by providers of glass fabrication services include, encapsulation, extrusion or drawing, grinding or beveling, heat shrinking, machine forming or bending, machining, pressing or molding, and off hand forming. In encapsulation of components, chemicals or materials using a glass ampule or vessel, typically the glass vessel is evacuated or filled with a protective gas. Extrusion or drawing of a molten or plastic glass mixture is used to form fibers or stock with a specific diameter or cross-sectional profile. Grinding capability can provide very smooth and precise material finishes, and can be used to finish high-hardness wear surfaces. Beveling is the formation of a sloping edge on a glass sheet by grinding or abrasion. Vacuum heat shrinking methods are used to form glass and quartz tubing. Machine forming or bending is the fabrication of a glass shape using a process where the glass is actually heated to a plastic state and then formed or bent through mechanical means. Machining can include the capability of very precise machining operations such as turning, milling, boring, etc. Pressing or molding is the fabrication of a glass shape using a fusion process where the glass is actually melted and poured into a mold or melted in a mold and then solidified to form a shape. Off hand forming is the fabrication of a glass shape using a process where the glass is actually heated to a plastic state and then formed or bent manually with only hand tools.
Common choices for materials processed by providers of glass fabrication services include aluminosilicate, borosilicate, Dichroic, germanium or semiconductor, glass ceramic, silicate or fused silica, soda lime, quartz, chalcogenide or sulphide, and fluoride glass. Additional or secondary capabilities to consider when searching for providers of glass fabrication services include chemical treating, glass to metal bonding, glass to ceramic bonding, etching or blasting, heat treating, hermetic sealing, and lapping or polishing. Coating services include anti-reflective coatings, silvering or metallizing, screen coating, and safety coating. Additional expertise often offered by providers of glass fabrication services include architectural, chemical process, electronics (stems or headers), decorative or furniture, labware (Dewars or manifolds), lighting, optical or semiconductor, packaging (ampoules or containers), and vehicular or marine (OEM autoglass). Certification or quality requirements offered by providers of glass fabrication services include QS 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9002, and MIL-SPEC or STD.
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