Emerging glass technologies and value-adding glass products, such as smart glass, are making a strong entry into the market. The trend is clearly towards more intelligent and more functional glass. The smart glass potential is huge and the intelligent glass market is expected to grow by around 15% per year up to 2025 *).
As our industry’s technology leader, we are engaged in discussions with various companies on the development of new glass technologies and their practical application. Functional glass can, for example, increase the living comfort and safety of both buildings and users. We want glass that adapts to its environment, saves or generates energy, and collects information about its surroundings, explains Glaston’s President & CEO Arto Metsänen.
» New opportunities in emerging glass technologies
At the beginning of 2017, Glaston established the Emerging Technologies unit, which offers consulting and planning services for smart glass and energy glass windows production as well as solar energy applications. The unit will also sell, supply and service the machines and equipment required for production.
We are actively seeking new business opportunities in emerging glass technologies. Potential areas are solar energy solutions, smart glass and various automotive industry products. Since the end of 2015, we have participated in a Californian nanotechnology project. Heliotrope Technologies is developing for the market a new electrochromic smart glass technology that regulates the heat and light transmissivity of glass precisely and quickly. An additional advantage over solutions already on the market is significantly lower production costs, adds Metsänen.
In computer simulations of building performance, the electrochromic windows reduce electricity consumption for cooling by up to 49 percent and decrease lighting costs by up to 51 percent **).
» Startup companies’ pitching event
In connection with the Glaston-organised Glass Performance Days conference, a glass industry startup event, aimed at promoting development of the industry as well as meetings between new innovators and investors, will be held for the first time. The Step Change programme has aroused widespread interest, and a total of 34 startups from different parts of the world will visit Tampere on 28–30 June.
The companies do not necessarily have to be linked directly to the glass industry; it is sufficient that their product or idea brings something new to some stage of the glass industry value chain. The participating startups therefore cover a wide spectrum, all the way from nanocoatings to IoT and from smart glass to cloud services and solar cell technology. The event is a real showcase for startups, because the GPD is the leading glass industry conference, which is attended by more than 650 of the industry’s leading figures and top experts, explains Sasu Koivumäki, Glaston’s Senior Vice President, Machines.
This year, the Glaston-organised Glass Performance Days expert conference celebrates its 25th anniversary. More than 650 international participants have registered for the event, and the programme includes around 180 expert lectures. The Step Change pitching competition is organised in cooperation with Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea.
*) Source: Grand View Research 05/2017
**) NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)