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Common Safety Window Materials

Posted by Sean Blechschmidt on

Machine tool safety windows come in three basic types: monolithic polycarbonate panels, air gap windows, and laminated composite windows.

1. Monolithic Polycarbonate Panels

All machine tool safety windows use polycarbonate (PC) as the impact layer to protect operators from injury. Relatively inexpensive and optically clear, PC is an incredible material, providing 250 times the impact resistance of a glass window with equal thickness. By itself, a monolithic PC panel of the right thickness can provide the necessary protection to operators, when properly installed, for a recommended period of up to 2 years. 

While PC panels suffice for impact resistance, they do not hold up to extended chip activity or to exposure to metalworking fluids over time. Encapsulation of the PC panel to prevent any exposure to metalworking fluids and chips is now common. Frequently the PC is hard-coated on one or both sides, and the edges are sealed with aluminum tape or glued to a metal frame to prevent exposure to metalworking fluids. This brings us to composite window types like air gap and laminated windows.

2. Air Gap Windows

Air gap safety windows use an adhesive tape material to bond a layer of tempered safety glass to the PC panel together around the perimeter of the window, leaving an air gap between the layers. This air gap is believed to spread the impact energy across the panel. Windows of this type are generally less costly to assemble, and can be supplied with or without a metal frame for installation into the machine too.

3. Laminated Composite Window

Laminated composite safety windows differ from air gap windows in assembly method. The laminated composite windows uses a dividing inter-layer of urethane adhesive to bond the tempered glass and poly-carbonate panel together. This method typically results in a thinner window, but tends to cost more due to the required curing process. These can also be supplied with or without a metal frame and extra mounting features.

Do you need a custom safety window?

Visiport supplies expert consulting and safety window solutions. We take custom orders and work directly with manufacturers to offer reasonable prices and delivery. Regardless of the specifications (e.g. frame configuration, mounting features, tough impact class requirements, or incorporation of Visiport spin windows), we offer the widest selection of safety window solutions for your needs.

To get a quote for a custom safety window, download our Quotation Intake Form and return it to sales@visiport.com. If you have any questions or would like an update on a custom order, please contact us.

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