Viridian plant upgrade brings Australian glass industry into 21st century

Energy efficient Low E glass is being successfully produced for the first time in Australia using the CVD coating process following the completion of a major upgrade at Viridian’s glass making plant at Dandenong in Victoria.

The commencement of the Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) coater is the final stage of the upgrade, following the successful commencement of glassmaking in October 2008.

The Dandenong plant has successfully produced a range of Low E coated products including Viridian EnergyTech™, SolTech™, EVantage™ and Renew™ self cleaning glass. Steve Choat, Viridian’s General Manager-Manufacturing, says the quality and consistency of the product has surpassed his expectations. The specialist Pilkington coatings engineers who have commissioned the coater are very pleased with the quality and performance of the product. A rigorous process of product performance testing has occurred in Australia and by Pilkington at its dedicated technology laboratories in the UK.

The upgraded plant is now one of the most advanced and sustainable glass making plants in the world and received the support of the Victorian Government. The CVD coater is one of only a handful of its type in the world and uses globally proven and accepted Pilkington technology. The plant will provide Viridian’s customers with a range of well known and accepted energy efficient glass products, including Viridian ComfortPlus™ and Viridian EVantage™, as well as providing skilled employment and significant potential for export and import replacement.

Viridian’s energy efficient coated glass allows building designers to incorporate large expanses of glass whilst achieving energy efficient design requirements. Window fabricators will also benefit from local supply of coated glass that helps them meet growing customer demand for energy efficient glass and insulated glass units (IGUs) for the new and retrofit market.

Hard coated glass manufactured by Viridian at Dandenong is highly durable because the special coatings are applied whilst the glass is still semi molten. The CVD coating process occurs whilst the glass is being manufactured, with precisely controlled coatings molecularly bonded to the surface. By changing the chemistry of the coatings Viridian can achieve different performance properties to produce a range of energy efficiency low emissivity (Low E) glass. The durability of the coatings allows the glass to be easily handled, processed and stored and when installed offers resilient and dependable performance for the life of the window. The Dandenong upgrade also included rebuilding the glass furnace, significantly increasing capacity and equipping the float line with the latest technology, including new online cutting and a modernised raw materials batch plant. Mr Choat said that the CVD coater is leading edge glass manufacturing technology that puts Viridian on track to deliver a range of locally made energy efficient coated glass products for reducing the energy consumption and improving the comfort of commercial and residential buildings.

"Our CVD coater produces a range of low emissivity (Low E) glass products that let in abundant natural light, but reduce the passage of heat to keep a building warmer in winter and cooler in summer, lessening the need for artificial heating or cooling. These types of products are well recognised in Europe and North America as an important way of reducing a building’s energy consumption and improving occupant comfort. Now builders, designers, architects, and home owners can take full advantage of high-performance energy efficient glass from an Australian manufacturer," Mr Choat said.

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