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November 2013
June 2013
  • June 12, 2013 Category: Glass and Glazing Smart Technology

    In an era of increasing environmental awareness, consumers and corporations are seeking ways to make their homes and offices more energy efficient.  In the U.S., energy consumption in buildings represents one-third of all the energy used in the country and NanoMarkets believes that in other countries statistics of this kind would not be all that different from what we see in the U.S.

    Windows are notoriously leaky in terms of energy.  This represents an opportunity to produce more energy-efficient windows.  Much of the technology being developed in this space relates to better insulated windows, but so-called smart windows (a.k.a. self-dimming windows) are also likely to be an important part of the mix and an important contributor to the revenue stream.

February 2013
  • February 13, 2013 Category: Glass and Glazing Smart Technology

    As NanoMarkets reports in “Opportunities for Smart Mirrors: Self-Dimming and Beyond 2013-2020”, the size of the market for smart mirror technologies is already at approximately $1 billion in 2013, and we expect the value to grow to over $3.4 billion by the end of the decade.

    Some of this growth will come from increasing deployment of electrochromic self-dimming rear-view mirrors, both interior and exterior versions, like those on the market today from firms like Gentex and Magna. There is an existing, proven demand for these mirrors; they are already found in over one-fifth of new automobiles, and the proportion is expected to steadily grow over the next eight years. In fact, for many years now, the term “smart mirror” has been taken to mean just these self-dimming automotive mirrors.

January 2013
  • January 11, 2013 Category: Glass and Glazing Advanced Materials

    In the past year, we have seen the flexible glass suppliers expand their commercialization efforts.  Corning officially launched Willow Glass in 2012, its 100-μm-thick material designed for lightweight, cost-efficient display products. AGC is offering a 100-μm-thick flexible glass material for “sheet-to-sheet” handling.  And Schott's D 263 eco product is available in sheet form with thicknesses down to 25 μm.

    In its earliest days, flexible glass was often associated with the intrinsically flexible display concept.  This connection is natural; one advantage of flexible glass is that it offers the superior performance of glass – high barrier performance, durability, and clarity – but in a flexible format.  But unfortunately for manufacturers of flexible glass there do not yet seem to be any good demand-side reasons for such displays.

September 2012
  • September 24, 2012 Category: Glass and Glazing Smart Technology

    Double glazing shipments worldwide are worth billions of dollars annually.  But growth of this traditional business is slow (this is especially so given the woes of the construction industry) and one would never identify it as an opportunity per se; that is no one would suggest that “double glazing” as a business that people should jump into as a way of making big money.   It has been at least 30 years since someone could seriously make such a claim.   In one trade press article that NanoMarkets retrieved as part of the research for this report, the double glazing industry was portrayed as “boring,” which seems to NanoMarkets to be a fairly reasonable characterization of the glazing industry considered as a whole.

    But in the past few years – perhaps as long as five years – there are signs that the double glazing business has started to become much less boring.  What we are seeing – or at least beginning to see — is this sector begin to clearly transcend the “double glazing” name or even the (more general) “insulated glazing” name.  There seems to be a new business emerging that is more deserving of the name “advanced glazing systems,” a name that seems to capture the sense of novel technologies playing an important role.

    What has happened here seems to us to be much more than a shift in industry semantics brought about by changing times and marketing approaches.  Instead, we are talking a real shift in direction brought about by changing demand patterns and novel technologies.  Such a change is surely deserving of a new name; so surely the “advanced glazing systems” epithet is a good one to use.

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