The Australian glass industry is ploughing on into the 21st century with the production of Low E glass, now manufactured after a major technology upgrade at the Viridian glass-making plant in Victoria.

Following the successful commencement of glassmaking in October 2008, the final stage of the technology upgrade is the implementation of a Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) coater.

This ensures that energy efficient Low E glass is being successfully produced for the first time in Australia using the CVD coating process, at Viridian’s glass production plant in Dandenong, Victoria.

CVD is a chemical process used to produce high-purity, high-performance solid materials, often used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin films.

In a typical CVD process, the wafer substrate is exposed to one or more reactions to produce the desired deposit – with high purity air gases fundamental, as nitrogen is utilised as a carrier gas for reactive agents and both nitrogen and argon are used in applications requiring an inert environment or atmosphere.

Oxygen is employed in the oxidation of silicon, while in other stages of the manufacturing process gases such as silane, dichlorosilane and trichlorosilane are used in processes such as epitaxy in CVD, to deposit layers of silicon directly onto a single crystal silicon substrate.

Advanced glass production
The Dandenong plant has successfully produced a range of Low E coated products including Viridian EnergyTech™, SolTech™, EVantage™ and Renew™ self cleaning glass.

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.

Viridian’s energy efficient coated glass allows building designers to incorporate large expanses of glass whilst achieving energy efficient design requirements. 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 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.