Date: 11 September 2023
Center of excellence for the production of materials based on highly innovative glass and conductive inks and for its research into advanced technologies to optimize the application and firing of paste enamels on glass, Fenzi AGT – Advanced Glass Technologies is a primary resource for manufacturers of automotive glass who are looking to reduce production costs and improve energy efficiency.
Working alongside its clients around the world, listening to their needs and the challenges they face on a daily basis, Fenzi AGT has long been a reliable partner in solving the complex issues that arise in the automotive industry. As a center of expertise in materials science, the Fenzi Group undertakes an intense R&D project with a broadened perspective that embraces the entire value chain of the productive supply chain – from maximizing the efficiency of paste enamel to improvements in technical performance of the fired enamel for enhanced quality of the finished product.
S2-IR, one of the most recent technologies developed by Fenzi AGT, meets these needs by focusing on the behavior of the enamels during firing. S2-IR is an innovative enamel for laminated glass developed for side-2 application, that makes it possible to eliminate the pre-firing phase, until now a must because the enamel is then fired between two sheets of glass. Thanks to in-depth studies on the technologies ordinarily used in the process of applying paste enamel to glass, the Fenzi Group business unit specialized in the automotive sector can offer a substantial opportunity to reduce the costs of energy and production for automotive glass manufacturers.
The new Fenzi AGT technology
A pre-firing phase at circa 500°C is typically carried out to completely remove the organic components from the printed enamel before the enamel is then fired onto the glass. This ensures that all the organic compounds burn off or decompose prior to reaching the melting temperature of the enamel, preventing carbon residues from creating defects on the surface of the fired enamel film. Elimination of the pre-firing phase facilitates the process considerably as it then requires only the enamel drying phase after screen printing, during which specific Fenzi AGT solvents will evaporate, leaving a fraction that will decompose during firing of the glass. This means the process will use significantly less energy.
With this energy-saving solution, Fenzi AGT has created an enamel for laminated automotive glass that is quite unlike any of the traditional offerings. Because the side-2 enamels are fired between sheets of glass, a complex chemical balance is established between the organic and inorganic compounds. By using conventional products, there is a greater risk of defects on the printed sheet caused by carbon residues or discolorations, precisely because the proper chemical balance is not achieved in the process achieve the best outcome. Efficient conversion from paste to enamel under such difficult conditions calls for a precise, balanced selection of organic and inorganic components. S2-IR is engineered to optimize the firing process, without pre-firing, to obtain a well-fired enamel with minimal risk of defects on the surface and with the desired technical performance.
In addition to making a considerable contribution to energy savings by eliminating an entire phase of the production process, at a time when energy markets continue to be extremely volatile, this product offers additional technical advantages in terms of printing and performance. This solution also ensures a more efficient use of the enamel components, with a marked reduction in the amount of paste per square meter required to obtain the desired optical properties. Choosing S2-IR, will result in improved print properties, fewer interruptions of the screen printing process and a reduced risk of S2–S3 transfer, leading to even more savings.
S2-IR sets new standards in automotive enamels – more efficient application, less energy consumed to convert from paste to enamel, while maintaining high levels of technical performance. Another example of how Fenzi AGT applies the experience acquired in exploiting the unique chemical and physical qualities of glass to provide products of high added technological value that are able to help automotive glass manufacturers add value to their products and their businesses.