No longer, and for a significant time, has glass been limited as a material to the manufacture of window panes and glassware; the significant  advances both in technical possibilities and material composition, not to mention the constant evolution of design tastes, have carved a growingly significant niche for glass as a material for architecture and furnishings. Of course, this scale of application presents vastly different issues and problems, and glass processing for such purposes requires several specific passages to be viable. One of these is glass grinding, a highly specialized procedure requiring the use of specifically designed machines; and in order to better understand its nuances and importance we’ve interviewed the staff at Angelo Schiatti, an Italian manufacturer of CNC Glass grinding machines.

What is the actual purpose of glass grinding in the greater scope of glass pane manufacturing?

The glass grinding phase comes after cutting, and has its main reason in a consequence of that very procedure; that is, the fact that cut glass always presents very sharp edges, which prove impossible to handle safely without further processing. The primary purpose of a glass grinding machine is that of smoothing those edges so that operators can safely handle them – and the same goes for final users, once the glass panes are installed.  That said, of course, glass grinding machines also have an aesthetic function.

Let’s expand on that. How can glass grinding improve the appearance of glass panes?

As we’ve said, a grinding machines mainly works to smoothen and dull sharp edges so they are no longer dangerous to handle. Modern CNC machines, however, can be programmed to grind the edges in far more complex ways than a simple dulling, resulting in aesthetically pleasing profiles which designers are often eager to exploit.

Could you make us a few examples of such more complex profiles?

Traditionally, the basic ground edge is called a “pencil” edge, and is simply rounded and smooth. Modern machines allow for simple creation of “flat and arris” edges, which are flat and perpendicular to the pane surface, with small 45° inclines leading to them, or more complex solutions. One of these is known as the Ogee profile, and consists of a double, concave-convex curve; another popular profile is known as “Waterfall”, and is a quarter-circle. The latter is very popular with many designers due to its  peculiarity of avoiding light refraction.

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