Using Tin-Side Sensors to Identify Tin and Air Sides of Float Glass

Also referred to as the float side of glass, the tin side of glass refers to how glass is manufactured. To ensure the finished product is completely flat, molten glass is floated over a bed of molten tin. As the glass moves and settles over the tin, some of it gets absorbed into the glass. Once the glass leaves the manufacturer, companies using the material for their own manufacturing purposes must be able to identify the tin side of the glass from the opposite side (which is called the air side). This is where a tin-side glass sensor comes into play.

The tin side of glass will be contaminated by the tin, and in industries where additional material will be applied to the glass or pieces of glass will be fused, the air side is much more preferable. Examples include chemistry, in which the air side of glass is better suited for testing because there is little to no tin to throw off the results. Painting must be done on the air side to prevent unexpected reactions, and scoring of glass is always done on the air side because it breaks more cleanly. That said, the tin side of glass does have its benefits, such as making certain coatings appear richer in color.

While understanding which side is which will differ by the application, what matters is the method for finding out and how it can be done efficiently. The tin side of glass can’t be seen by the naked eye. However, it will react when an ultraviolet (UV) light comes into contact with it. While an employee could take a handheld UV light to the glass, this isn’t exactly the most efficient process — particularly in today’s high-speed production environments. To discern one side of the glass from the other, an automated tin-side glass sensor solution is needed.

EMX Industries, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of tin-side glass sensors. Learn more about our UVX series tin-side glass sensor here.

Benefits of an Automated Glass Sensor

Implementing a tin-side glass sensor into the production environment eliminates many of the headaches and time-consuming processes that would otherwise come with manual efforts. For example, it first removes the need for human batch processing. Production floor workers have enough going on, and depending on workflow and the amount of material, they may not have the time to be repeatedly shining handheld UV lights on glass material to determine one side from the other. A tin-side glass sensor can be seamlessly integrated into factory processes and production lines, and as we’ll cover shortly, in a very flexible and adaptable way.

And while there are a variety of handheld tin-side glass sensors, the focus of any production leader is uptime and overall production. Not only do handheld sensors slow down production due to the injection of a human element, but they also don’t support secondary operations because they’re not integrated in-line. With a proper sensor integrated into a production line, companies can focus on other strategic and production-related needs while processes continue to move forward thanks to the response from the automated sensor.

Don’t forget that the tin side of glass is not visible to the human eye. Because UV light must be used to detect it, human manual verification not only takes more time and resources but also opens the door for potential quality issues. What is the degree or strength of the tin side of the glass? Simply verifying its presence isn’t enough. With a tin-side glass sensor, no manual verification is needed. If a piece of glass has a layer of tin that exceeds quality thresholds, the sensor — properly integrated — can be used to trigger a secondary operation, notify a production worker, or initiate other alert-based processes.

But what about different types of glass? Obviously different industries and product needs call for separate types of material with unique features. Some pieces will be darker, thicker, or have higher reflectivity. It’s critical that the tin-side glass sensor be able to work with these variations. 

Why the UVX Tin-Side Glass Sensor is the Clear Choice

Designed, engineered, and manufactured in-house at EMX Industries, Inc., the UVX tin-side glass sensor offers companies a variety of benefits. First, it features a numerical display and teach mode, allowing manufacturers to set specific parameters and thresholds for the glass they’re working with. It can be easily integrated into virtually any production environment thanks to its adjustable light source, ability to work over distance, and calibration capability.

The UVX tin-side glass sensor accepts a wider range of glass types, making it the ideal choice for companies that may be working with numerous materials. It’s easy to install as well, meaning companies can put it to work immediately and start to realize its benefits both in their production and on their bottom line. And because it’s manufactured in the U.S., service and support are readily available whenever needed.

Experience the UVX Difference

Whether you’re looking for a tin-side glass sensor solution or are looking to upgrade a manual verification process, the UVX tin-side sensor is the answer. We’ll prove it, too — simply send in a sample of your glass for testing, and we’ll provide a report detailing the sensor’s performance for your specific application.

Submit a sample request with EMX today.