Glass plays an important role in modern day architecture. It can be designed to incorporate many desirable properties by modifying its composition and processing. The glass industry offers glazing with technical features that can be used for heat, solar, or sound protection. It can also be used as design components, safety glass, or part of solar energy systems. Flat glass coatings are used for ecofriendly processes as they help save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, they offer features such as solar protection, self-cleaning, corrosion resistance, and special transmission/reflection properties. Coating technology is used to produce a variety of products such as low-E glass, solar control glass, anti-reflective glass, and hydrophobic self-cleaning glass.
End-user industries of coated flat glass include construction, automotive, and solar glass. Advancements in glass coating technologies have resulted in reduction of global energy consumption, primarily in construction and automotive sectors, as architects and designers are striving to achieve zero-energy buildings and reduce CO2 emissions.
Surface coatings can be applied to glass to modify its appearance and give it many of the advanced characteristics and functions available in the currently available flat glass products. These characteristics include low maintenance, special reflection/transmission/absorption, scratch resistance, and corrosion resistance. Coatings are usually applied by controlled exposure of the glass surface to vapors, which bind to the glass, thereby forming a permanent coating. The coating process can be applied while the glass is still in the float line with the glass still warm, producing what is known as ‘hard-coated’ glass. Alternatively, under the ‘off-line’ or ‘vacuum’ coating process, the vapor is applied to the cold glass surface in a vacuum vessel.
Coated flat glass is available in many highly specialized forms. It is used in different products and applications. Coated flat glass produced through the float process is often further processed to give it certain qualities or specificities. In this way, the industry can meet various requirements of construction, automotive, and solar energy industries.
Rise in demand for solar thermal panels is one of the major drivers of the coated flat glass market. Coated flat glass is used in solar power plants. It is also used for energy conservation in residential and commercial buildings. Advanced glazing techniques can be used to reduce the requirement of heating and cooling in buildings. Thus, it lower energy consumption in buildings.
Focus on eco-friendly approach in manufacturing is the latest trend gaining momentum in the market. Manufacturing processes of flat glass release plenty of toxic substances such as greenhouse gases. This results in environment pollution and global warming. In order to address this issue, companies in Europe are now focusing highly on eco-friendly approaches for manufacturing glass.
Based on region, the coated flat glass market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The coated flat glass market in Europe and North America has been expanding due to the presence of mandatory regulations on the ecofriendly products. The market in Asia Pacific is also expanding owing to the remodeling of existing buildings, wherein coated flat glass is used, as it offers insulating and solar control properties to increase energy efficiency. China, Brazil, and India are expected to create lucrative opportunities for the coated flat glass market.
Key manufacturers of coated flat glass are NSG Group, AGC, Saint-Gobain, and Guardian.