Materion Rotatable Targets Support Large Area Glass Industry
GLASS IS GETTING BIGGER AND SMARTER
In response to consumers’ desire for greener construction, government environmental regulations and companies looking for cost efficiencies, architects are increasingly designing buildings which call for larger size glass. The need for energy efficient glass products for new construction and replacement is rising globally, particularly in Eastern Europe, the mid-East, Russia, and parts of Asia.
Energy efficiency remains a primary public issue as industry seeks innovative approaches toward better architectural glass. In order to control heating and cooling in buildings, the large area glass must be coated with specific materials applied to the surface of the glass. It is the coatings that contribute to the low-emissivity, solar control, reflectivity, conductivity and aesthetics of the glass. To keep pace, companies need large scale coating equipment that can accommodate next generation glass in larger sizes. These big sheets of glass, often referred to as “jumbo,” can be as large as 130” x 240” or more.
Background Leading up to Large Area Coatings
Mass production coating of glass products began in the early 80’s with large scale silver-based low-emissivity coatings. At the time, there were limits on the size of the surfaces that could be coated via sputtering targets. The first coatings on curved substrates were introduced in 1983. A popular product was silver-based windshield optical coatings that provide electrically conductive transparent coating, useful for eliminating ice and snow.
Around 1989, significant technology advancement occurred that allowed for coating larger surfaces. Rather than using a flat planar target, a cylindrical rotatable magnetron cathode was employed. They were made in the form of a rotating tube with the magnetron magnets and cooling water inside. This rotatable target offered several advantages. It was able to cover larger substrates, utilize more of the target material and produce uniform sputtering of surfaces. It provided extended production cycles that were critical to improved performance, reduced lead times and lower costs.
Current improvements in target material are being driven by the growth of electrochromic glass applications. Also known as “smart glass” or “electronically switchable glass,” more architects are employing this innovative material in modern buildings for windows, partitions and skylights. Smart glass is unique in that the user can control the amount of light passing through and adjust the temperature with just a flick of a switch. This makes for “user friendly” offices where privacy and heating/cooling are easily moderated. These leading-edge technologies are highly dependent on rotatable sputtering targets and uniform thin film coating of large area glass.
Materion Acquires Heraeus and Expands Coating Capabilities
Materion Advanced Materials, as a developer and manufacturer of rotatable sputtering targets and other new products, is actively involved with these exciting advances in the glass industry. We have mastered the challenges of large area coating, whether the requirement is for metal reflectors, conductive transparent oxides for contacting layers, or dielectric layers for optical properties. We can provide customers with tailor-made sputtering solutions that deliver high throughput and exemplary quality.
With this year’s acquisition of the Heraeus target business, Materion is the world’s leading supplier of sputtering targets for the glass coating industry. The merged company offers a greatly expanded product line, manufacturing capacity, technology capabilities and augmented engineering talent. Heraeus has been in the glass market since the 1980s with target facilities in New Mexico and Germany that are now incorporated into the Materion family. The widespread facilities deliver worldwide service and support to customers in Europe, Asia and the U.S.
With a reputation for excellence in thin film deposition, Materion is currently focusing on large glass coating materials for architectural glass, automotive glass (windshields, sunroofs), residential glass, mirrors, electrochromic glass, photovoltaics and specialty films. Its broad product portfolio includes customizable rotary/rotatable (cylindrical) targets, planar sputtering targets and certain thermal sprayed rotatables. Compared to other manufacturers with more limited choices, Materion’s targets are available in a huge range of high purity materials from precious metal and non-precious metal, standard alloys & custom exotic alloys and ceramics with customized chemistries. Its new facility in Albuquerque, NM, is a major manufacturer featuring geometry silver targets.
One-Stop-Shop for Target Related Services
Materion is distinct in its offering of related services for target customers that provide convenience and cost savings throughout the product life cycle. Among our complementary services are: refining & recycling, vacuum chamber shield cleaning, precious & valuable metal management, sputtering target bonding and expert R&D assistance.