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Category Archive: Glass Manufacturing

Four Key Applications for Glass Wafers

Glass wafers are circular pieces of precision glass used in numerous technical and industrial applications. Swift Glass’s wafer fabrication process utilizes proprietary technologies to deliver the finely-made components required by our customers in a range of demanding industries.

High-quality glass material is selected, then the wafer is carefully shaped via cutting and grinding processes, then further machined to create the wafer’s edge profile and detailing, followed by finishing processes such as lapping and polishing. Each wafer is subjected to a highly controlled inspection process using precision laser measuring equipment to gauge total thickness variation and ensure it is within accepted tolerances.

Below, learn how glass wafer technology is being utilized in four popular sectors: MEMs and electronics, semiconductors, biotechnology, and integrated circuit (IC) packaging.

MEMs and Electronics

The microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS) and electronics industries utilize glass wafer fabrication in wafer packaging and as substrate carriers. In MEMS and electronics applications, glass wafers are used in wafer packaging of sensitive components, due to their superior functionality and extreme reliability over time and in the face of harsh environments.

As a carrier substrate, glass is chosen due to qualities such as thermal stability and chemical resistance. In the medical device industry, these wafers are used to facilitate gas-tight MEMS enclosures.


Glass wafers are used as a carrier substrate in the production of semiconductor wafers, which are fabricated from more delicate materials that can easily bend or tear. The glass substrate component allows the semiconductor wafer to be handled safely in spite of its delicate, thin qualities. Glass is chosen for its superior chemical and thermal stability, and the possibility of reuse can reduce cost and environmental impacts for some applications.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand rapidly, the glass wafer semiconductor market is expected to grow more than six percent between 2018 to 2022. There is significant crossover between semiconductors and other sectors. For example, semiconductors (and the wafers they contain) are used in a variety of MEMS and consumer electronics featuring IoT connectivity.

optical glass wafersBiotechnology

Wafer fabrication produces glass substrates used in a variety of biotechnology applications. Borosilicate glass, a quality option in glass for medical devices, offers superior resistance to high levels of heat and energy, as well as radiation exposure, such as within X-ray equipment.

Wafers are also used in the production of microfluidic chips using nanoimprint lithography, where glass acts as a substrate. Glass offers the clear optical transparency required in many biotechnology applications, making it a common choice for use as a capping layer over devices made from silicon. Wafer bonding processes such as anodic and thermal bonding create a hermetic seal.

Integrated Circuit (IC) Packaging

Glass wafers are used in a variety of integrated circuit (IC) packaging applications, acting as a substrate to deliver better performance and cost effectiveness. Glass vias (TGV) and wafer level glass capping (WLC) are improved packaging solutions that offer enhanced technical performance, thanks to specific glass properties including stiffness and roughness under 0.5 nm rms. Glass protects the IC against impact and corrosion while holding the contract pins and leads that connect it to external circuits.


Learn More About Glass Wafer Fabrication

Swift Glass produces a wide range of precision glass wafers to meet the unique specifications of your application. Learn more about our glass wafer fabrication process and request a quote for wafer fabrication today.

Request a Quote

Swift Glass Now Offering Gorilla® Glass Fabricating

We’re excited to announce that Swift Glass now offers custom cutting and precision grinding glass fabrication services for Gorilla® Glass.gorilla-glass-badge

Swift Glass’s advanced technology can transform Gorilla® Glass with custom waterjet cutting and glass cutting, edge grinding and beveling, and even additional chemical strengthening for protection against extreme environments.

“We’re thrilled to add another top-quality Corning glass to our inventory of glass materials,” said Sheila Burke Reynolds, Vice President of Swift Glass Company. “Gorilla® Glass provides a high-end solution for our customers’ very particular industry needs.”

The Swift Glass/Corning partnership rests firmly in both companies’ long histories of innovation. Corning’s research has delivered social breakthroughs from the glass for the original Edison light bulb to the first low-loss optical telecommunications fiber, while Swift’s manufacturing technology has provided groundbreaking solutions in optics, aerospace applications, biomedical technology, and more.

Swift Glass provides more than just cutting, grinding, thermal tempering and chemical strengthening services. Its company-wide commitment to excellence ensures quality solutions from initial material selection all the way to final inspection and packaging.

For more information on Corning Gorilla® Glass and Swift’s portfolio of specialty materials and manufacturing services, visit the Gorilla® Glass capabilities page on Swift Glass’s website or contact the Swift Glass Company online to request a quote.


How Much Does Glass Cost? 3 Important Factors

If you’ve ever wondered why your glass order was quoted at a certain number, you are not alone.

“What makes up the cost of my glass?” is one of the most common questions we get here at Swift Glass.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the price of a glass part — the quantity of the order and the size of your glass piece being the two most obvious factors. Here are three other notable considerations.


irregular shaped glassAdvances in manufacturing technology have led to advances in glass shaping capabilities. Processes like state-of-the-art glass drilling, waterjet cutting, and computer numerical control (CNC) machining can all be applied to glass shaping.

Today, glass parts can have virtually any shape, from standards like squares and circles to highly complex organic, irregular, and geometrical shapes. The more complex the shape of your glass, however, the more advanced technologies required to produce it. The use of advanced machining processes adds to your glass prices.


edge-grindingThere are many different forms of edgework that you could specify for your glass part, and they all have an impact on the price of glass.

The most basic edgework, a simple cut, is required for virtually every glass part as a matter of course, and will have minimal to no impact on the cost of glass.

Cut and swipe, a swipe being a very slight bevel, will increase your glass price modestly. Very complex edge grinding, such as special or custom bevels, could increase the cost of glass considerably.

Strengthening & Tempering

heat strengthened glassStrengthening and tempering procedures — additional steps performed after your parts are cut — increase your glass prices. If your glass parts are going to be used in a challenging environment and face exposure to extreme heat, pressure, stresses, or chemicals, a strengthening processes is likely required.

Chemical strengthening processes are best for glass that will encounter wind load and thermal stress, while thermal tempering is ideal for glass that will be used in high pressure, high heat, and explosive environments.

Get More Price Factors

The glass price factors here are only a small sample — there are dozens of considerations that go into the price of a glass quote. To learn more about the different ways glass cost is determined, download Swift Glass’s latest guide, What Affects the Price of My Glass?

Learn how your glass quote is calculated

Download the Guide >



The Rise of LED Technology in the Lighting Industry

LED lights and lighting systems are becoming increasingly common in the lighting industry.

The rise in the use of LED lights by commercial building owners and managers, and industrial manufacturers is due in part to the federal government’s energy efficiency standards. Updated periodically by the Department of Energy, new efficiency standards in 2012 require lights to use 25% less energy.

More importantly, commercial and manufacturing spaces are also realizing that using LED lighting carries a great number of benefits.

The Benefits of LED

LED Light Bulb on White backgroundLEDs, or light-emitting diodes, use a semiconductor as a light source. In short, voltage applied to the semiconductor prompts electrons to jump from one atom into an electron hole, an atom with a missing electron. This recombination releases energy in the form of visible light photons.

The primary benefit of LED lights is their incredible energy efficiency, using as much as 90% less power than standard bulbs. LED bulbs have vastly greater lifespans than standard bulbs, lasting up to 40 times longer — an average of 50,000 hours as compared to about 1,500 hours for incandescent bulbs.

Related to lifespan is their increased durability — the diode is encased in epoxy resin, making it much sturdier than the thin filaments of incandescent lights. They are resistant to shocks, impacts, and vibrations, so they are much harder to break. Their durability also allows for their use in extremely cold and extremely hot applications.

Popular Applications and Installations

SONY DSCLED lighting and lighting systems are being used in a variety of applications. Household use is increasing, as is commercial and industrial usage. But there are other interesting usages arising, as well.

One of these is in sports arenas. It was long believed to be impossible to light large venues with LED lights, but that has proven to be very false — in 2015, roughly 90% of all large-scale sporting venue operators that installed new lighting systems opted for LED lighting systems. Sports teams across the nation have saved millions of dollars in electricity costs after making the switch.

Another unexpected application for LED lighting has been museums. The University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, as an example, switched to LED lighting as part of an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. They’re expected to eliminate 44 tons of carbon from their footprint, not to mention their expected savings up to $64,000, over the next 5 years. As an added bonus, LED lights generate no ultraviolet light at all, protecting the museum’s delicate artifacts from UV damage.

Manufacturing Glass for LED Lighting

Having been manufacturing glass for the lighting industry for more than 80 years, Swift Glass is a nationally recognized expert in lighting glass — including LED lighting glass. We’ve manufactured glass for major LED installers using specialty glass. We can also offer thermal tempering for added strength. These capabilities, and more, make Swift Glass ideal for manufacturing glass applications for LED lighting and lighting systems.

Visit our lighting applications page for more information about our LED lighting glass capabilities, or contact us today.

Learn More About Our Lighting Applications

Letter from the President: Why More Manufacturers Are Reshoring

Reshoring manufacturing jobs back to the United States from overseas is a trend we’ve been seeing over the past several years, and one that’s sure to continue into the near future.
According to a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report, the U.S. gained 10,000 reshored manufacturing jobs in 2014, and hundreds of companies will follow suit in the coming years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReshoring is becoming more popular for manufacturers across the country as they recognize the true cost of working with offshore factories. Long lead times, poor communication, high transportation costs, huge shipping risks, lower product quality, and a closing wage gap abroad are just a few of the many factors pushing us towards a reshoring initiative.

In addition to declining conditions abroad, American technology and productivity are stronger than ever. In just a few years, there will be virtually no benefit or cost savings to keeping our manufacturing operations overseas, and soon we will see more products than ever, “Made in America.”

Some of the most impactful benefits of reshoring include:

Higher Quality Materials

Overseas manufacturing does not always guarantee the same quality standards like ISO, for example, with which domestic manufacturers are expected to comply. As a result, product quality can be lower in comparison.

Competitive Prices

In addition to the recent increased labor cost trend in China, overseas manufacturing naturally requires greater shipping costs. By moving manufacturing back home, we can reduce these shipping costs while maintaining wage expenses.

A Strong Economy

Reshoring creates more jobs at home and invigorates the U.S. economy.

Shorter Lead Times

Housing every step of production under a domestic roof increases agility and autonomy, which in turn cuts down on order lead times. The lengthy hassle of dealing with overseas shipping that can add weeks or even months to a product’s time to market will be avoided.

Here at Swift Glass, we’re proud to support the recent reshoring trend in American manufacturing and the positive impact it has had on our economy. Located in Elmira, New York, Swift Glass has provided industries across the country with glass fabrication services for nearly 100 years — and hope to provide the same level of service and quality for 100 more.

Thank you to all of our customers for their continued support of Swift Glass, and for customers everywhere who are creating more reshoring opportunities.


Daniel J. Burke
President, Swift Glass Company

How Is Glass Involved in 3D Printing?

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is rapidly transforming industrial manufacturing as we know it.

Initially used to create models and prototypes, 3D printing is now increasingly being used to construct finished products.

swift-glass-3D-printingIn the near future, this technology will hold the power to manufacture food, cars, implants, and even soft tissue organs.

The 3D printing process uses computer-automated layering of material to create a three-dimensional object. Just about any material available in liquid or powder form can be 3D printed. The industrial robots performing the layering can be programmed with complex shapes and geometries to produce a diverse range of parts with extreme precision and detail.

Where Does Glass Fit In?

During the 3D printing process, the object being created requires a platform on which to rest. Because of the high temperatures experienced during 3D printing, this plate must be made from durable, heat-resistant materials.

Borosilicate – a glass substance constituted of silica and boron oxide – is the material of choice for these applications. An extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion makes borosilicate more resistant to thermal shock than any other common glass. Even when exposed to high temperatures (up to 500°F or 260° C), borosilicate remains durable and clear without losing functionality.

Get More Information from Swift Glass

Swift Glass has been a worldwide leader in custom glass fabrication for almost 100 years. In addition to waterjet cutting, glass tempering, polishing, grinding, lapping, and drilling services, we offer a variety of borosilicate and infrared reflecting borosilicate (IRR) glass from major manufacturers such as Corning and Schott.

For more information about Swift Glass and our offering of glass for 3D printing, please visit our borosilicate materials page. You can also check out our latest eBook about strengthened glass called Creating Glass That Withstands Extreme Environments.


Manufacturing Strengthened Glass for Extreme Environments

High-intensity industrial processes call for durable equipment that will prove resistant in the face of even the toughest of applications.

Sheets of Factory manufacturing tempered clear float glass panels cut to sizeIf you’re carrying out procedures against harsh or extreme conditions, it’s essential that your application is equipped with the proper glass component. Tempered safety glass in windshields, for example, provides extra security in the event of breakage.

High performance glass is required to withstand a vast range of pressures, elements, and external factors, each of which vary by industry. When operating in high intensity environments susceptible to extraneous factors, it’s important to be aware of common concerns that can arise.

Below are a few common risks associated with extreme industrial climates, along with the glass strengthening solutions that help reduce those risks:

High-Pressure Exposure

One of the most frequently noted stress points for high performance glass, this can manifest itself in marine, architectural, and even aeronautical environments.

Strengthened glass, however, can help prevent or reduce the adverse effects of high pressure. In addition, strengthened glass helps shield your work environment from harm caused by explosions, bullets, and projectile aftermath, each of which may pose a threat to safety and productivity. Safety glass offerings, like tempering, can help to ensure a less devastating effect upon impact than with regular glass.

Extreme Temperatures

Exposure to extreme temperatures can result in potentially adverse effects upon operations. Fortunately, heat-treated glasses can offer dramatically increased protection against hazards like thermal shock. Heat treatment offers glass—a material often susceptible to high temperatures—increased protection against high-temperature breakage.

Harsh Environments

Exposure to intense, abrasive elements or harsh, wet and extreme environments holds the potential to work against high performance glass. For certain extreme or outdoor environments, heat-tempered glass may not be necessary, but it can provide exceptional resistance against thermal stresses and extreme wind pressure. Fully tempered glass, however, can offer unparalleled safety when it comes to ensuring safety break pattern. If operations are under harsh weather conditions, tempered glass ensures your work environment remains both active and safe.

Learn More in Our eBook

At Swift Glass, we’re dedicated to providing consumers with the high quality materials they need for safe, efficient, and effective day-to-day procedures. For additional information regarding glass strengthening solutions, access our new eBook titled Creating Glass That Withstands Extreme Environments.


Swift Glass Acquires FJ Gray Division of Gray Glass

ELMIRA, N.Y. — January 2016 — Swift Glass, a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of quality fabricated custom glass parts, has purchased the FJ Gray Division of Gray Glass in Queens Village, New York.

The FJ Gray Division comprises the industrial, optical, specialty lighting, and educational glass fabrication segments of Gray Glass. Swift Glass began to fabricate, ship, and invoice work for FJ Gray on January 1, 2016. All new order processing, quotes, and product fabrication will now take place at the FJ Gray Division of Swift Glass Company in Elmira Heights, New York.

Since 1946, FJ Gray and Company has been a leading global custom glass specialist offering precision glass and industrial glass products. For Swift Glass customers, this acquisition brings a lineup of product offerings that complement their existing capabilities, including tempered glass, scientific glassware, gauge glass, tubing and rod, borosilicate, welder’s glass, and a host of other specialty glass products.

FJ Gray has extensive experience working with engineers, scientists, designers, and OEMs like Boeing, NASA, the US Military, the US Government, and a number of large corporations engaged in scientific research, aviation, and aerospace.

About Swift Glass

Swift Glass is a privately owned worldwide leader in the manufacturing of quality fabricated glass parts.

An ISO 9001:2008 certified and ITAR registered company, Swift Glass offers assistance in material selection, craftsmanship, design and custom solutions while possessing the utmost devotion to precision and quality.

Glass manufacturing capabilities include chemical strengthening, thermal tempering, polishing, edge grinding, drilling and more. Swift Glass works with leading glass manufacturers such as Corning, Schott and GE and stocks a wide range of materials that allow us to respond quickly to customer needs.

Viscosity, Refractive Index and Other Important Glass Properties Involved in Material Selection

Glass is among the most versatile of materials. Depending on its composition, treatment, and manufacture, it can be customized for high performance in countless applications.

material-properties-chartIn order to get the right fit for your next glass project, remember to consult properties such as the corrosion resistance, thermal properties, viscosity, dielectric properties and refractive index of potential materials. These properties tell a lot about how a material reacts to its environment, which is especially important for your application’s performance.

Sample Material: Borosilicate

When compared to other types of glass, borosilicate has a high corrosion resistance to acid, but a low corrosion resistance to weathering. Its thermal expansion is very low, and its volume resistivity and thermal shock resistance are both high — but not the highest. Its light transmission is excellent.

Pyrex® and Borofloat® are common types of borosilicate, though both Schott and Corning craft a series of variations with increasingly specific properties.

What does all of that mean?

Because of its resistance to high temperatures and chemical corrosion, borosilicate makes an excellent material for the biomedical and research industries. It’s also an ideal material for optical, lighting and industrial applications.

Because this is a glass that demonstrates strength without being the absolute strongest, borosilicate is an affordable material, making it extremely popular in many industries. Of all possible glass materials, it’s the Swift Glass choice for all of our annular edge glass. Its edges can be ground specially to be sealed in a flange for biomedical, research, optical, optoelectronic, photonics and analytical applications.

Other Material Options

For the toughest situations, traditional glass materials may not be enough — no matter how naturally strong. Thermal tempering and chemical strengthening can further prepare glass for high-intensity applications, such as:

  • High Pressure Windows
  • Explosion-Proof Windows
  • Lighting Products
  • Industrial and Residential Doors

The additional safety and dependability offered by tempered glass serves many industries, from automotive to medicine.

Resources for Selecting Materials

For quick reference, the Swift Team has assembled a Glass Material Properties Chart addressing some of our most popular material choices, ranging all the way from soda lime glass to fused silica. We also offer material consulting from our team of experts, as well as tempering services for specialty projects.

Download the Glass Material Properties Chart now, or contact the team to learn more today.

Download Now: Glass Material Properties Chart

What If Your Glass Piece Requires an Irregular Shape?

What happens when you need glass cut into something like the shape to the right?

cloud-glassPrecision glass manufacturers utilize a variety of technologies to craft even the strangest of shapes that require clean edges, precise spheres and smooth surfaces.

The glass mirror piece in the photo to the right is one example. Precision manufacturers like Swift Glass utilize a variety of techniques to achieve difficult configurations like this one.

Before you dismiss your drawing as too difficult, check out some of the capabilities that glass manufacturers are leveraging today:

Waterjet Technology for Precision

The highly pressurized stream of water from a waterjet cutter provides an exceptionally smooth and controllable tool. These cutters can automatically switch from low to high pressure mode in the midst of a single tool path, allowing for specialized cuts at high speeds — even in the most brittle glass.

Our waterjet cutters work with CAD compatible software, integrating drawings seamlessly and efficiently from original concept to final product.

Our tools can cut virtually any shape down to 0.5mm thick, and can handle glass materials up to 9 inches thick. High pressure waterjet cutters create pinpoint accuracy smoothly cutting holes, notches and details without damage or distortion.

Irregular shape water jet cutting works well for quartz, optical glass, fused silica, Borofloat®, Pyrex®, and many other specialty materials.

CNC Machining for Tough Glass Materials

Three- and four-axes diamond tooling technology allows manufacturers to cut the toughest materials, including quartz and high-pressure gauge glass. These glass milling solutions serve a range of industries, from optical and lighting to aerospace and energy.

Glass Drilling for Unique Projects

Many businesses require glass doors, mirrors, or furniture with functional or decorative holes. Glass manufacturers use high precision hole drilling to meet exact dimensions and specifications. Diamond-tipped drill bits have the ability to cut holes perfectly with very close tolerances, for materials up to 1.25 inches thick.

Swift Glass is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of fabricated glass parts, including reliable cutting solutions for glass shapes of all kinds. With over two decades of experience in custom water jet cutting, we can confidently promise both versatility and precision for even the most intricate projects.

Ornamental components, solar panels, gauges, wafers, and explosion-proof glass are all fabrication projects that the Swift Glass Team has handled for customers. Access our library of Standards and Specifications for more information about the requirements we can meet.

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