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Article November 4th, 2007 (Glass Performance Days 2007) 0
Dr. Martin Weigert & Marcus Wendel, W. C. Heraeus GmbH – Thin Film Materials Division
Coatings have become an essential part of a modern flat glass product. In architectural and automotive applications thin films on glass are getting more and more popular, but especially in display glasses and photovoltaic substrate glasses coatings are mandatory. Coatings contribute essentially to energy savings, they improve the appearance of glass or they provide valued electro optical features to the glass.Within the last 20 years the sputter technology has become the most effective and most universal technology for producing high quality coatings. Among all coatings on glass the low-e coatings cover by far he highest amount of all thin film applications. The basic performance of modern low-e coated glass today is of such quality that the physical limits of heat reflection are practically achieved. This means for the coating industry that differentiation by basic product features alone is becoming more difficult. Therefore the cost / price of coated glass is of much higher importance than in earlier days. This is specifically valid for “standard low-e” products, especially in the residential glass sector, but these products are at the same time usually the “bottom load” of glass coating industries.The main cost drivers among the variable cost of the sputter coating process are the input materials for the sputter process, the sputtering targets and the (mostly non-published) scrap rate of “out of spec”-glass. These factors are strongly influenced by the design, quality and cost of the sputtering targets. In this article we want to reflect, how sputtering target technology and manufacturing can help to contribute to the economy of modern glass coating processes.