Oil and gas prices are skyrocketing everywhere. Drastic increases in prices are one key reason for the renaissance that fireplaces are now experiencing. The Manufacturers Association of Catering Equipment and Domestic Heating and Cooking Appliances in Germany estimates that around 350,000 new fireplaces and fireplace inserts were installed in 2005, roughly 25 percent more than the year before and almost twice as many as were installed in Germany in 2001.
SCHOTT also benefits from this growth spurt. For over 25 years, the company has been manufacturing viewing panels under the SCHOTT Robax® brand name and bringing innovative new products to market. The majority of the customers live in Germany, the United States, France, Italy and Denmark.
Robax® is not normal glass, but rather an extremely heat-resistant, transparent glass ceramic. Thanks to its extremely low thermal expansion, this special material ranks as a temperature marvel. It is unaffected by temperatures as high as 660 degrees C or sudden changes. In addition, Robax® is highly permeable when it comes to thermal radiation, especially inside the shortwave infrared range that people perceive as pleasant warmth.
Customers claim that our glass ceramic products also deliver improved emission values,” explains Holger Waldschmidt from the Home Tech Business Unit at SCHOTT. This particularly applies to Robax® IR, a product that reflects the infrared portion inside the combustion chamber, thanks to a special coating. This increases the burning temperatures and, thus, lowers the concentration of pollutants contained in the fumes and reduces unburned carbon. At the same time, the efficiency of the firing process increases, offering both ecological and economic advantages.
The Robax® M version has a mirror layer that reflects the attractive interior of a living room, yet prevents people from viewing the inside of the fireplace when no fire is burning. Robax® AR, on the other hand, possesses anti-reflective properties that prevent the surrounding area from reflecting off of the pane. As a result, the lambency of the fire is much more brilliant.
SCHOTT is also active in the field of finishing. Robax® Diamond is another variation for which a patent has already been filed. It features rotary beveled edges that resemble a diamond. “Until now, our range of flat and convex panels did not include beveled edges,” explains Isabel Eymael, marketing manager for Robax®.
Robax® Giant, the world’s largest curved fireplace viewing panel, sets completely new standards. Its dimensions of 1,490 x 980 millimeters speak for themselves. This giant panel is designed for use in hotel lobbies, large villas or restaurants, for example. It is also available with beveled edges.
More than a third of all households in Germany already own a room heating device that burns solid fuels, a growing trend wherever one looks. By offering innovative and decorative components made of Robax®, SCHOTT not only participates in this boom, but also actively generates new demand by offering technological and esthetic innovations.