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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 to Attend Photonics West 2017 Exhibition

Swift Glass is excited to announce that we’ll once again be attending the annual SPIE Photonics West Conference and Exhibition, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from January 28 to February 2.


Hosted by the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), Photonics West has been the world’s largest multidisciplinary event for biomedical and medical photonic technologies for over two decades. Attended by over 20,000 people, this exhibition draws industry leaders from across the country to view new technologies, hear educational speakers, and network with others in the field.

State-of-the-art medical devices and systems, the Internet of things, smart manufacturing and “Industry 4.0” autonomous vehicles, communications equipment, new scientific research, and various displays will all be on view at the photonics exhibition. Attendees will have the chance to go to technical and networking events, as well as professional development seminars and student events. Various workshops will also be offered, with topics including laser applications, optomechanics, semiconductor lasers and LEDs, and biomedical spectroscopy, miscopy, and imaging.

We’ll be set up in Booth #608, displaying various types of display glass, as well as large chemically strengthened rectangular glass and other samples of our chemically strengthened glass. We’re looking forward to speaking with other optics conference attendees and showcasing our unique product line. We hope to see you there!

As an ISO-certified and ITAR-registered company, Swift Glass is committed to quality in everything we do. Our custom glass manufacturing capabilities include chemical strengthening, waterjet cutting, edge grinding, thermal tempering, surface lapping, CNC machining, polishing, drilling, and optical glass fabrication.

To learn more about this exciting glass manufacturing conference, reach out to us today. And, for more information about our diverse service offerings, visit our website.

Thermal Glass Tempering vs. Chemical Strengthening: What’s the Difference?

Glass Solutions for Extreme Environments

Glass is among the world’s most sophisticated materials. Specialty glass can withstand high pressure, extreme heat, and extraordinary environments.

There are two primary methods for strengthening glass: chemical strengthening and thermal tempering. Both of these processes alter the outer surface of the glass, causing it to have a higher compression than the interior glass, which is in a state of tension. Depending upon the specific application, each process offers unique advantages for a material’s final makeup.

Chemical Strengthening

thermal-tempering-500x370Also known as ion exchange, chemical strengthening treats glass by submerging it in a molten potassium salt bath, causing sodium ions in the glass to be replaced by potassium ions from the bath. The potassium ions, which are larger than the sodium ions, squeeze themselves into the gaps left by the smaller sodium ions when migrating to the potassium solution. The surface of the glass is then in a state of compression while the core is in compensating tension.

The chemical composition of the bath can vary widely, allowing this process to be tailored to the material’s final application.

Chemical strengthening can create a high-performance glass with no notable distortion and a very shallow surface layer of strengthened, alkali-rich material. The added strength of this specialized glass makes it ideal not only for harsh environments but also for high-performance applications in conductors, semiconductors, energy, medicine, and more. Chemical Strengthening can be performed on much thinner glass than heat tempering.

Glass Tempering

safety-glassTempered glass undergoes an intense heating process immediately followed by rapid cooling. This extreme temperature shift causes the glass surface and edges to compress, creating an extremely tough outer surface with a tensioned glass core.

When broken, tempered glass breaks into small particles along circular edges, eliminating the risk of dangerous shards. This makes tempered glass an ideal choice for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Industrial environments
  • Safety glass (windshields, windows, and situations with exposure to projectiles)
  • High-temperature environments and thermal stresses
  • High-pressure applications

From aviation and aerospace to laboratories and industry to household items and fire safety, both chemically strengthened and thermally tempered glass offer countless solutions to daily safety and environmental challenges.

Glass Solutions from Swift Glass

extreme-environmentsNo matter the size or demands of your project, Swift Glass can help. Our specialists offer ultra-high pressure cold cutting, CNC machining, polishing, drilling, printing, and a host of other manufacturing capabilities to support both our chemical strengthening and thermal tempering services.

To learn more about high-performance glass that can withstand even the most difficult circumstances, download our new eBook, Creating Glass That Withstands Extreme Environments, or reach out to us today!

Glass vs. Plastic: Which Is Best for Your Next Project?

When choosing between glass and plastic for an application, many people with cost-conscious applications expect plastics to be the cost-effective choice. But you just may have more options than you think.

In the long term, plastic can actually accrue higher costs in maintenance, replacements, and repair work. Both materials offer specialized benefits in a wide range of applications, but the perks of glass offer long-term benefits and unexpected savings.

Low Maintenance, High Performance

Sheets of Factory manufacturing tempered clear float glass panels cut to sizeGlass promises superior overall performance when compared to plastic: better transmittance, improved insulation, and high scratch resistance are just the beginning. Customers choose glass for its high-end aesthetics, weather and chemical resistance, and low expansion and contraction in extreme temperatures.

But it’s more than just a higher level of performance — glass offers durability, meaning lower costs for maintenance. Less frequent repairs and replacements also mean less cost in the long-term, not to mention less stress.

Versatility Without Compromise

The resilience of glass, as well as its wide variety of treatments and formulations, allows it to outperform plastic in countless cost-effective applications across industries, including:

Cost Effective Performance at Swift Glass

price-of-glass-coverThe Swift Glass team stands ready to help every customer find the best glass material fit — and still save money. We focus on procuring the ideal material investment for a project, and we’re proud to maintain a vast inventory of glass variations to suit any project, performance challenge, or price point.

Learn more about what affects the price of your glass parts with our new eBook, or contact us today!


3 Reasons to Use Waterjet Cutting

A waterjet’s small stream size and controlled pressure makes it the ideal choice for cutting many materials. From shaped mirrors to cell phone panels to very thick materials, waterjet cutting is the go-to method for a variety of industry applications.

Here are three reasons why manufacturers choose waterjet cutting for their projectswaterjet_closeup_large

Smoother Cutting

A water jet cutter’s highly pressurized stream of water — sometimes cut with garnet or aluminum oxide as the abrasive — provides an exceptionally smooth and controllable tool. Controlling the speed of cutting allows thin or thick glass or ceramic to be smoothly cut very economically.

Etched, taped, and coated surfaces are safe for waterjet cutting, too.

Superior Precision

Regardless of the shape, size or specific glass material, our omni-directional jet stream can cut almost all shapes down to 0.1mm in thickness. The high pressure generated from the machine’s water pump creates pinpoint accuracy to smoothly cut holes, notches and details without distortion.

This kind of precision makes waterjet cutting optimal for applications in all types of industries — automotive, lighting, architecture, energy, marine, medical, aviation, and more.

High Performance for Thick Materials

A wide variety of glass products benefit from water jet cutting, from ultra-thin smartphone panels to thick multi-layered bullet-proof vehicle and building panels to delicate stained glass windows. As the thickness of glass increases, waterjet cutting offers superior speed and accuracy, even for materials like explosion-proof glass.

The Swift Glass Team offers precision cutting for glass and ceramic up to several inches thick. Some other applications for waterjet-cut glass, both thick and thin, include:

  • Ornamental Components
  • Solar Panels
  • Gauges
  • Wafers
  • Wood burning stoves

With more than twenty years of experience in water jet cutting, the Swift Glass team can confidently recommend its versatility and precision for your next project. We work with the latest cutting technology to accommodate even the most complicated projects.

Find more information and specifications on water jet glass cutting and other services at Swift including our capabilities at swiftglass.com, or contact The Team with questions about your project today.

Are You Asking Your Glass Manufacturer the Right Questions? The Swift Glass Team Can Help

Eighty years of business adds up to a lot of projects, and that means a lot of questions. Our team is experienced, available, and happy to help — but do you know what to ask them?

Over time, we’ve paid attention to the most common questions that come up in glass manufacturing, and thought we’d give you a head start on your next project. We’ve found that these are the most important points to consider in order to ensure every client selects exactly what is needed.5-questions-to-ask-cover


What temperature and pressure ranges can your materials handle?

It’s important to consider every facet of your design’s projected performance and exposure before selecting a material. Manufacturers like Swift Glass keep an immense inventory, with both raw materials and ready-made products available. This wide range of choices means that it’s more likely we’ll have the perfect glass in stock to meet your desired temperature and pressure ranges.

Having these materials at the ready means a product’s turnaround time is far more efficient. However, this isn’t a place to rush! Carefully evaluate the qualities you need, including:

  • Thickness
  • Normal Service Temperatures
  • Extreme Service Temperatures
  • Maximum Temperature, Thermal Shock
  • Maximum Temperature, Thermal Gradient
  • In/In/ oF Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

We carry Float, Pyrex®, Borofloat®, Quartz and Vycor®, covering nearly any high temperature or pressure application. Once you’ve determined your project’s range, check out our website, eBook resources, or call the team for material-specific details and reference charts.


What is the difference between tempered and non-tempered glass?

Once glass is machined to final size, it may stay as annealed or it can be tempered in a heat treatment process. This process heats the glass above the strain point; then rapidly cools the glass- putting the surfaces in compression. Doing this operation increases the resistance to thermal shock as well as making the glass able to withstand up to 4 times the amount of pressure compared to un-tempered glass.

Find more details about tempered glass with our full response in the new eBook, 5 Important Questions to Ask Your Glass Manufacturer. You’ll find detailed answers to the questions highlighted here, as well as three more common questions:

  • How quickly can my project be completed?
  • How can we reduce our project’s costs?
  • What is the vendor’s production volume?

These are our most common questions, and they’re a great place to start! Find the whole eBook here on our website, or contact the team with your own questions today.


Now Presenting: The Redesigned Swift Glass Website

With so many advances in modern technology over the years, Swift Glass is proud to announce our own revolutionary development: a newly redesigned website.

We have taken extreme care in providing an updated interface, with streamlined information about our products and the industries that we serve.

Whether you are an engineer, designer, or procurement manager, you will be excited to learn that we have increased our site’s user-friendliness to better improve your overall experience, and offer solutions that cater to your projects and applications.

What’s New?swift-glass-screenshot

With nearly 100 years of expertise in custom glass fabrication, Swift Glass is no stranger to transformation.  We’ve evolved with the times and understand that today’s fast paced, digital business climate requires the ability to access information and resources anytime and anywhere.

Whether you are using our website on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone, Swift Glass’s newly redesigned platform allows you easier access to products, resources and industry information, such as:

  • Product specification data;
  • Information on the materials we use, as well as their benefits and applications;
  • Insight into our manufacturing capabilities and inspection process, and;
  • Free, downloadable reference guides and videos available in our resource library.

Swift Glass Makes Your Fabrication Project Easy

We are here to do the hard work so that you don’t have to. Our goal is to help you find what you need at the click of a button. If you are having trouble determining the perfect glass solution for your project, fear not.  Our site now includes in-depth profiles for materials such as: Borosilicate; Patterned Glass; Gauge Glass; Optical Display Glass; Sight Glass; and; Quartz/Fused Silica.

In addition, we offer a new portfolio feature that visually showcases our state-of-the-art work. We believe that jumpstarting a new fabrication task should be simple and comprehensive. Our updated website is an investment in our commitment to providing the best solutions for our customers.

Visit our site today and start learning what Swift Glass can do for you.

Visit Our New Website

What Makes Borofloat® Glass So Special?

Borofloat® glass
is one of the world’s most influential specialty glass materials, able to meet a huge range of the most technologically challenging applications.borofloat

Borofloat’s® unique characteristics make it ideal for:

  • Jobs that require extreme temperature and fluctuation in that operating temperature. Because of its low coefficientof thermal expansion, Borofloat® is the best choice for such applications.  Our glass can even operate in conditions where temperature is very different from the center of the glass to the outside edges.
  • Photonics, optics and opto-electronics. Borofloat® glass also has extremely high transparency in the near-infrared and ultraviolet ranges. In addition, our glass does not distort light as it passes through the lens.
  • Equipment in the biomedical and analytical industries. High resistance to acids and alkalis, not to mention organic substances is another great feature of Borofloat® glass.  Without resistance to these substances, damage to a lens could result in faulty readings from the equipment.
  • Inspection panels for high pressure or heavy load applications. A lens made of Borofloat® glass is resistant to scratches and abrasions.  When an application requires heavy loads, or high pressure, this becomes critical.  In addition, the strength of Borofloat® means that you don’t have to worry about damage to a critical component.  This strength allows it to be used as an inspection panel without concerns of breakage during use.

Applications for Borofloat®

All of the properties that make Borofloat® glass special allow it to be used in a wide range of applications and markets, including:

  • High- Performance Lamps –Borofloat® has been used in cinema projectors and theater lights, not to mention other powerful types of lighting equipment.
  • Oven Windows – Capable of handling temperatures up to 450 degrees Celsius, Borofloat® can be used in ovens without fear that the glass will be damaged by the high heat.
  • Laser Optics – Borofloat® lenses are ideal for applications such as lasers, allowing as much of the light spectrum to pass through it as possible.

Whatever heavy-duty applications you need glass to work with, Swift Glass can provide you with exactly what you need. To learn more about Borofloat®, watch the video below.

You can also contact Swift Glass today to see how we can help you with your industrial glass needs.

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