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issue: September 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Supplier Innovations
Glass Technology


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A new heated glass technology from Engineered Glass Products (EGP) claims to overcome some of the challenges associated with radiant heating coils. The technology, called Thermique Hot Glass Technology, was designed to provide a uniform, scalable heat source for warming appliances.

According to the company, radiant heating can be inefficient because coils are designed to provide heat in narrow bands, creating uneven heating. Also, because heat radiates off the coils in several different directions, a lot of energy can be wasted. One remedy can be to add material to the heating apparatus, but this can add weight and size to the end application.

EGP’s technology, however, is said to overcome such drawbacks by radiating heat in one direction, specifically toward the object or area it is heating. Through the use of invisible film thin conductors, the glass is able to serve as the heating element itself and maintain a consistent temperature across the entire surface.

Peter Gerhardinger, vice president of Technology, says creating the technology was certainly no small feat and required a number of patented scientific breakthroughs. EGP engineers designed a unique electrical connection between the coated glass and the power supply, along with the ability to precisely control the amount of electricity it provides. A proprietary thin film conductor was also developed to radiate heat energy uniformly across the entire glass surface.

The technology is designed for use with an electronic controller that utilizes switching technology to efficiently regulate the power level of the glass. This, Mr. Gerhardinger says, enables precise heating, but also provides safety, which was a critical component of the UL approval process. “The heating element does not stray into unsafe temperatures as coil technology can do for brief moments,” he notes, adding that the maximum temperature for Thermique™ heated glass is 350ºF (177ºC) for tempered glass. The controller also features an automatic fault capability that will automatically shut down the system if there is a wiring problem or in the event of glass breakage.

According to Mr. Gerhardinger, heated glass is not only more effective and efficient than coil technology, it uses a much simpler design. “A flat, uniformly heated surface simply does not have to get as hot to achieve the same results as a coil heating, which must generate extra heat to compensate for the cold space in between the individual coils. This advantage grows larger with the size of the heating element,” he explains. “Furthermore, coated glass is a superior conductor of heat than competing ‘flat’ materials such as a plate or pan.” The new technology can also offer aesthetic benefits, as it eliminates wires and can be colored or etched with designs.

Possible applications for the new technology include warming drawers, towel warmers (pictured), and heated glass displays, as well as architectural windows and heater panels used in office furniture.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Marsco Glass Products
 

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