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Innovation is called “smart-tinting glass”

Glass unlimited, used to be AGC’s tagline. What seemed to be a material producer’s wish has become plain reality

By: EBR - Posted: Monday, December 04, 2017

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Known for glazing in windows with high insulating properties, the sector is now extending into new territory.   The innovation is called “smart-tinting glass”, to be placed into the global marketplace by early 2018, is not just glass, it is a system for the management of natural light that transitions from clear to dark in less than 3 minutes. Offering sun blocking, anti-glare protection and near privacy, this smart-tinting system makes of the building’s occupants wish it’s command.
Known for glazing in windows with high insulating properties, the sector is now extending into new territory. The innovation is called “smart-tinting glass”, to be placed into the global marketplace by early 2018, is not just glass, it is a system for the management of natural light that transitions from clear to dark in less than 3 minutes. Offering sun blocking, anti-glare protection and near privacy, this smart-tinting system makes of the building’s occupants wish it’s command.

MORE ON Business

by Niels Schreuder*

The flat glass products of today are simply available in all kinds of applications. Sales people bring product samples along to show what is new but glass is already everywhere around us in our houses’ windows, kitchens, bathrooms, in offices, meeting rooms, cars and busses, railway-stations and airports. Glass is everywhere.

Known for glazing in windows with high insulating properties, the sector is now extending into new territory. The innovation is called “smart-tinting glass”, to be placed into the global marketplace by early 2018, is not just glass, it is a system for the management of natural light that transitions from clear to dark in less than 3 minutes. Offering sun blocking, anti-glare protection and near privacy, this smart-tinting system makes of the building’s occupants wish it’s command.


Connecting the building occupants to their external environment while providing the building occupants with their desired internal environment, it’s all-in one with smart-tinting glass. No curtains or sun-shading blinds are needed no more. Imagine a Board room fitted with smart-tinting windows (see below). Also private houses can be fitted with smart-tinting glass and switch the window from clear (66% light transmittance) to dark (0,1% light transmittance).

Smart-tinting glass comes in two versions: just smart and smart Black. Where smart-tinting glass blocks the glare and the heat to manage thermal comfort, it’s Black version can go one step further blocking up to 99.9% total transmitted light to provide blackout and enhanced privacy. That last solution is ideal for internal meeting room walls.

Transparent building components aim to assure the connection with the environment outside the building, letting the light in. Adding the electro-chromic technology to the glass represents a true innovation and provides for interactive windows and walls. Together with the Californian start-up Kinestral Technologies, the AGC Group developed smart-tinting glass, called Halio™, as a key stepping stone into the new business paradigm of the “connected” building windows.

But how does it work? Kinestral and AGC have not revealed the exact technology behind this glass but it works when applying electricity. The electric current passes through electrodes turning the glass from clear to dark. The process can be stopped and the tint attainted in between remains there. When the current is switched again the electrodes are reversed and the window turns transparent once again. 

No power is needed to maintain electrochromic windows in their clear or dark state—the only power needed is to change them. It can even be activated by voice commands, all standard security provisions included."

Smart-tinting glass works as easy as a light switch. A stand-alone system gives users multiple control options by a mobile app and/or wall mount controls. It can even be activated by voice commands, all standard security provisions included.

The world gets more and more connected and so do buildings and cars. They will soon become ideal connectors in the smart cities of tomorrow. What still looks like ordinary glass will soon play a role in the “Internet of Things”. Able to be uniformly darken within three minutes, the window can also be linked up and be part of a building management system (BMS). The interactive window was born combining what glass is all about with the most desired protection against the glare and heat of the sun. 

Two-third of the glass products that the world will be benefitting from in ten years do not exist yet today. The sector innovates onwards because glass as a material truly provides unlimited solutions.

In Clear mode:    In between: In Dark mode:

     


Halio has the aesthetics and transparency of traditional glas



  *Niels Schreuder, Public Affairs Manager AGC Glass Europe

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