Agate Products have been involved in the production of precision glass panels since the advent of large main frame computers in the 1960`s mainly supplying viewing windows for their tape drive cabinets. We have since diversified into the supply of accurate machined and drilled glass parts for numerous industrial and architectural applications and our capability in this field has been greatly enhanced since the introduction of dedicated CNC machinery. Our range also includes the supply of large toughened glass panels and discs (see below) and we are also involved in the precision drilling of special coated mirrors, often at a precise angle to the surface.
There are a number of varieties of glass available, ranging from the more common Soda Lime Float Glass through to more technical glasses. The most frequently machined technical glass is Borosilicate Glass of which Pyrex is a well-known example. This glass, due to its low thermal expansion, is resistant to thermal shock. Zerodur, which has an even lower coefficient of thermal expansion is used in optical applications where changes in temperature may cause issues. A typical application would be in the optics of large telescopes. N-BK7 glass is made of very pure materials and has nearly no bubbles or inclusions. Its clear and colourless appearance makes it ideal for optical applications.
Soda lime glass and float glass can be toughened or tempered. This is a type of safety glass which, when broken, crumbles into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards as plate glass does. These granules are less likely to cause injury. It is both physically and thermally stronger than regular glass and, as a result of its safety and added strength, is used in a variety of demanding applications. Any cutting or grinding must be carried out before toughening otherwise the glass will fracture. Float glass is produced in standard metric thicknesses of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 19 and 22mm but, if required, can be ground and polished to intermediate sizes.