CNC Glass Machining - Commercial Glass
From the mid 1950's—with the introduction of the process by the Pilkington Brothers in the UK which revolutionized the making of glass, a process called "float glass"—architectural glass has found an ever increasing use as a design and construction material in today's modern buildings.
The use of glass includes a wide range of applications such as—windows, partition walls, stair rails, balcony rails, doors and stair treads, to name a few. The materials used as architectural glass include tempered glass, laminated glass, heat strengthened glass, as well as many other combinations of these glass types.
CMS/Brembana provides an equally wide range of special CNC machining centers to process and produce these glass structural and design components.
Commercial Glass - Overview
Using glass as a building material has become increasingly popular in the recent years due to advancements in the strengthening of the glass and also the accuracy in which it can be fabricated. Over recent years more and more glass is being used in construction. With today’s technology, less metal is required to fasten the glass to other substrates. This gives architects opportunities to show off certain aspects of their design while also creating a safe and functional space. Glass is also being used as a feature in many instances. New advancements in digital ceramic frit printing and laminating make this material both beautiful to look at and interesting as well as durable and sanitary. Going forward we will see more and more glass being used structurally in the building envelope.
Most glass projects begin as glass sheets coming from a float glass plant. The first operation is usually cutting the large sheets into the correct sizes for the application using a cutting table. Cutting tables actually don’t cut, but score the glass so the operator can then snap the glass to size. The Glass will be further processed for drilling and milling operations on machines such as JR, Speed or Vertec (vertical machine). Edging operations can be added on JR, Speed, Profile (Vertical Machine) and our Futura line of double edgers.
Machines used to process commercial glass
Cutting tables begin the process of yielding smaller pieces from larger flat sheets to a dimension which can be worked by other machines—both rectangular and shaped. These are cutting tables such as CMS Brembana's:
CNC Machining centers continue the process of working with these pieces producing finished edges to a precise dimension, along with holes, slots, shapes and almost anything else that can be imagined. Such CNC machining centers are CMS Brembana's:
Vertically oriented processing machines have an important place in glass processing because of some of the inherent limitations of horizontal machining centers. CMS Brembana's line of vertical machines optimizes the customer's resources of space and manpower in significant new ways. CMS Brembana's vertically oriented CNC machining centers are:
There's also an important place for a machine that create an edge on both sides of a part at the same time. These are called "double edgers". CMS Brembana's Double Edging CNC machines are:
Also, a number of processing operations are carried out by the use of high pressure abrasive water in machines known as waterjet cutting machines. An important one of these from CMS' line of waterjet cutting machines is it's Brembana/Tecnocut:
- Idroline S
Agil - Glass cutting table
Agil is a competitive, efficient, strong cutting table.
Agil has a fixed cutting table with loading arms, 2 interpolated axes and a pivoting head for cutting panes of straight and shaped flat glass with a thickness ranging from 3 to 25 mm.
Runner - Glass Cutting Table
Runner features a tilting cutting table for ease of the loading/unloading operation and comes with 3 interpolated axes for straight and shaped cutting of flat glass plates which range in thickness from 2 to 25 mm.
Heavy glass 19 mm thick - scored and cut
CMS/Brembana's line of cutting table machines are noted for their ability to deal with the difficulties of cutting thick, heavy glass sheets into parts ready to be worked in the next processing machines.
This pictures show a piece of commercial "heavy glass", 19 mm thick, ~3/4". The thickness of the glass is seen in the dark stripe running diagonally from top left to bottom right. The work which the scoring produced on the glass sheet can be seen to the left of the stripe. The "clean" break on the thick edge has been accomplished by the cutting table's "break-out" table capability.
The sheet having been cut into the parts required is now ready to be taken to one of either CMS/Brembana's horizontal or vertical CNC machining centers for edge and surface processing.
The JR and Speed are horizontal 3 or 4 axis CNC machines. The horizontal design of this machine lends itself to unique and custom shaped glass component finished parts. Horizontal machining centers have vacuum part holding cups and reference stops which the operator will need to position before the machine is loaded for work.
The JR and Speed horizontal CNC machining centers have been produced for many years and are the "work-horse" machine for many production shops.
CMS/Brembana's 3 axis CNC machines perform operations such as milling, drilling, edge grinding and polishing, and engraving. A wide number of options for these machines exist, such as: grooving, lettering and cup wheel polishing to name a few. With the addition of a fourth axis to these machines functionality is obtained such as sawing and drilling from both sides of the glass along with v-grooving capability.
JR - horizontal machining CNC center
JR is a multi-functional CNC machining center with 3 or 4 interpolated axes and an automatic tool changer, and carries out a wide range of processing operations on glass sheets such as milling, grinding, engraving and beveling...
Speed - horizontal machining CNC center
Speed is CMS/Brembaba's CNC machining center with 3 or 4 axes (upon request) for machining glass and similar materials, as well as natural and artificial stone.
Speed performs any type of drilling, milling, disc cutting (upon request), shaping, contouring, countersinking, recessing, pocketing, polishing, carving, engraving and even writing operations...
Maxima - horizontal machining CNC center
Maxima is CMS/Brembana's CNC machining center with 5 or 6 axes (upon request) for machining glass and similar materials, as well as natural and artificial stone blocks and slabs.
Maxima is ideal for any type of drilling, milling, disc cutting, shaping, contouring, countersinking, recessing, pocketing, carving, engraving, polishing, beveling with variable angle, writing and turning...
Most of the options come standard on this machine.
Vertical style machining centers for glass present a number of benefits.
- First, the foot print is much smaller which immediately saves floor space.
- Second, the vertical style machining center automatically sets the required vacuum cups and references each job, which greatly improves productivity.
- Third, when the glass is in the machining center, it's always in a vertical position which is safer and easier to handle.
- A vertical machine is also easier to automate with material handling systems:
- automatic loading/unloading,
- integrated washer
- auto stacking with paper separator
These are a few examples of what can be done. The lines are configurable according to the customer's need.
Vertec - vertical processing glass CNC
Vertec is CMS/Brembana's CNC drilling/drilling-milling vertical machining center for processing glass sheets.
Vertec is a vertical drilling CNC with 4 interpolated axes + 2 tool change axes for holes and countersinks on rectangular and shaped glass panes. The most innovative solution for vertical drilling and milling...
Profile - vertical processing glass CNC
CMS/Brembana's Profile is a "grinding-milling-boring" CNC machine with 4 interpolated axes and 4 correction axes for milling, polishing and grinding of square and shaped glass panes. Profile is the only true vertical CNC machining center...
"Double edgers" are machines that make a finished edge on two opposite sides of a glass panel at the same time. Double edging machines can be equipped with both cup wheels and peripheral wheels. "Double edger" machines are limited to rectangularly shaped pieces, although some models can carry out work on trapezoidal parts. Double edger systems can also be configured based upon the shape and amount of space available in the customer's factory. Straight, L-shaped and U shaped double edger lines are configurable according to the customer's requirement.
Futura P - double edging glass machine
Futura P is CMS/Brembana's Glass Flat Wire Grinding Machine.
Futura P is a double straight edging machine with cup wheels for maximum quality. Futura P can be equipped with automatic loading and unloading systems and an automatic paper interleaver....
Futura T - double edging glass machine
Futura T is CMS/Brembana's Glass Round Wire Grinding Machine.
Futura's is a double round edging machine with peripheral grinding wheels for maximum productivity. Futura be equipped with automatic loading and unloading systems and an automatic paper interleaver...
Double edger - edging tools closeup view
Double edger lines grind and polish two opposite edges of the glass at a time, thus taking half the time to process the edges as compared to a conventional single edging machine.
Double edger machines also ensure dimensional accuracy because two opposing sides are ground at a time.
Double edger - separation of glass
The double edger is designed to allow the most efficient distance possible between glass sheets for maximum processing output.
In this picture the double edger, Futura P, has only a small space between one sheet and the next.
Idroline S - waterjet cutting for glass
Idroline S is CMS/Tecnocut's hydro-abrasive waterjet cutting system in a perfect application for a wide range of glass cutting needs.
Idroline S is the newest generation of CMS/Tecnocut's CNC cutting robots, designed with a structure perfectly adapted for water-jet cutting technology, ensuring the best technological and productive performance.
Idroline S is made with heavy, rigid built frame with a fixed column gantry structure, ensuring long term maximum accuracy.
Idroline S is characterized by:
- Higher efficiency: highly intuitive man/machine interface and new workpiece clamping system
- Higher versatility: new machine sizes and wide range of supply accessories
- Higher reliability: NC and digital drives for the total control of cutting parameters
The power and flexibility of waterjet for cutting glass
The picture shows a piece of laminated glass with a thickness of about 60 mm (2.36") being cut by one of CMS/Tecnocut's abrasive waterjets.
Waterjet cutting for special shapes or thicknesses, such as this piece, demonstrates why it is easily the best choice for a number of difficult jobs.
The finish and flexibility of waterjet for thick glass
Following the processing operation in the preceding picture a finished part is shown. Though the part is quite thick, about 60 mm, yet the edge finish is clean and smooth.
Depending on the requirement, quality levels for edge finish can be obtained of from Q1-Q5.
In addition, with CMS/Tecnocut's IKC (Intelligent Kerf Compensation) system, providing 4th and 5th axis control of the cutting head, Idroline - S can control the angle of the waterjet cone to obtain a straight angled edge on the outside edges of the part, as well as straight walls on the "through hole" cut.
Profile Vertical CNC—CMS/Brembana Glass Division
CMS/Brembana presents an overview of its vertical CNC machining center—Profile. Profile is a "vertical" application, very much like its horizontal CNC machining center JR, but with all the advantages for glass producers of its space saving "verticality" and "inline" characteristics.
The video shows the work taking place from both the top and front of the machining processes.
Two edges can be worked at the same time—the top and bottom ones—even if one is not parallel to the other, as shown in the first piece being worked which is a "triangularly shaped" part with dimensions of 2000 x 576 x 8 mm thick.
A pencil edge machining process is applied to the edges as follows:
- automatically selectable vacuum pods are engaged in relation to both the shape and size of the part holding it firmly for the entire cycle
- edge grinding - with sector diamond wheel
- fine grit machining with diamond wheel
- polishing wheel for a finished edge
In the next machining example a drilling and milling process is carried out on a rectangular piece of 1600 x 875 x 10 mm as follows:
- drilling from the front and back of the piece is done concurrently, the backside bit is referenced as zero and drills partially through and can also carry out the countersink process as it finishes its work, while that of the front side will drill through from the front—a process which guarantees a perfect hole without chip our or potential breakage
- countersinking (separate or combined), from the front side, either separately or which can be combined into the tool for further time savings
- milling and edging operations for required design details
Processing laminated "heavy glass"
A piece of "heavy laminated glass" is machined, with dimensions of 3210 x 2400 x 30 (15+15) mm thick.
Profile, a vertical CNC machining center for glass, as is the case for all of CMS/Brembana vertical machines is resting the part to be worked at 5° from true vertical.
The video shows the steps of the process as follows:
- Automatically measuring the height
Glass with a weight greater than 580 kg (1276 lbs.) is held by Profile's vacuum cups which are automatically selected.
- NOTE: Profile does NOT rest the "heavy glass" panel on the machine's infeed rollers, but vacuum clamps and holds the part just slightly above the rollers (see the paper slipped between) so that premature wear out of the rollers is avoided, as well as compromising edge quality which would occur during CNC processing, if the panel were left to rest on the rollers.
- Selection of tools
- Pre-wash of suction (vacuum) cups to guarantee cleanliness and a perfect vacuum
- All 4 edges are processed in 5 passes: processing with 3 diamond wheels + 1 resin + 1 polishing
- Views of rough, medium, fine, resin and polishing
Vertec - Cardinal Glass case study
The Cardinal Shower Enclosures case study gives an overview on how CMS/Brembana's Vertec vertical glass processing technology impacted their production operations: time savings on producing their components, ease of information input, ease of loading the machine.
Cardinal also provides an explanation of how the machines works and it's impressive technology for hole drilling from both the front and the back, along with its "halo flood" technology (in which the part is kept 1 mm from the "halo" and rides on a cushion of water from both front and back) guaranteeing good holes without any possible scratching of the surfaces.
Remake levels have decreased and productive volume has increased.
Futura P - full flow through line with 2 double edgers
Shown in this video is CMS/Brembana's Futura P flow-through double flat edge processing line for glass sheets. The size of the sheet being processed is 1600 x 900 x 10 mm, with 330 sheets per hour flowing through the line.
Futura P has over 250 such installations world-wide—an indicator of its reliability and high end performance capability.
Futura P has the following capabilities—and is a system which can be adapted to meet any customer's specific needs:
- complete management of the machine from the operator panel
- automatic infeed loader from vertical glass rack
- tilting loading table
- automatic intermediate bar to support wide panels
- 1st machine
- configurations of from 8 -12 spindles
- 1st 90° transfer to 2nd machine
- 2nd machine
- squaring system
- arrises width and polishing wheels pressure management from the operator panel
- 2nd 90 degree transfer
- Automatic unloader, returning the sheet to a vertical position again
Futura P* - flow through line with 2 double edgers with unloading and automatic paper separation
Futura P is shown here setup as an automatic flow through line with a single double edger for processing 2 opposing edges at the same time, with the following capabilities:
- barcode reading system
- automatic infeed
- Futura P processing machine
- with a range of 8-12 spindles
- automatic center support for wide sheets
- washer/dryer for sheets
- unloading device returning the sheet to a vertical position
- automatic placement of 4 paper strips between sheets
Automated Flat Panel Processing—CMS Brembana KART+FT Double Edger+Vertec+Triulzi Washer
Automated flat panel processing is illustrated.
The line is automatically loaded with sheets from a vertical glass rack and the processing of two of its opposing sides is carried out at the same time with horizontal placement of the sheet on a Futura T double edger, following which it is automatically transferred in an uninterrupted fashion with vertical orientation to a VERTEC for processing of holes and drilling operations, followed by a proper cleaning at the end through a Triulzi Washer system with the parts being finally unload into a storage cart.
Glass Technology - Cutting tables
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Glass Technology - Double Edging machines
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Glass Technology - Vertical CNC modular working centers
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Glass Technology - CNC machining centers
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Glass Technology - Waterjet cutting system
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