Company Reports Breakthrough for Vacuum Glazing
Rayotek Scientific Inc, in partnership with a national optical inspection instrument company, reports that it has successfully engineered a system that can inspect glass micro-parts in very high volumes. This new system is said to be the final step of a multi-year engineering effort to develop processes to fabricate precision glass micro spacers to very exacting tolerances and cosmetic standards to be used in vacuum insulating glass windows.
“What makes this project unique”, says Bill Raggio, Rayotek’s CTO, “is that we will be fabricating these spacers by the billions and customer requirements are for 100 percent inspection for parts shipped.”
The spacers, which typically range from .5 to 1 mm in size, separate the two lites of glass in the VIG unit. If one spacer is out of specification, the entire VIG window can fail, sometimes months after assembly, officials state. Failure of a unit can be costly and potentially dangerous to the user; thus the requirement of 100 percent inspection with 100 percent pass for all spacers.
“Engineering the inspection system was almost as challenging as developing the process for making our successful VIG spacers,” says Raggio. “We are very excited about implementing this system because during the prototype phase of this VIG spacer project we had to inspect by hand under microscopes, a very laborious task that drove our QA team crazy. And humans do make mistakes, this system won’t.”
One of the many advantages to this inspection system is its relatively compact size, even when scaled up to process billions of parts. The goal is to fabricate and inspect the spacers through automated processes in the United States even though many of the spacers will be shipped overseas. "Rayotek is committed to American manufacture for domestic and foreign sales."
Based in San Diego, Calif., Rayotek was founded in 1992. It specializes in engineering and manufacturing sapphire, glass, fused quartz and fused silica products.