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The importance of glass quality and reliability on board

TILSE explores some of the key issues with superyacht glass installations, and the most effective ways to mitigate them……

In order to create dramatic panoramas and deeper connections with the external marine environment, superyacht owners and designers are specifying bigger and more complex windows on board. As these glass surfaces become a more prominent feature on board, however, the expectations in terms of optical quality and long-term reliability increase. As a result of this, yacht glazing solutions supplier and producer TILSE is observing an uptick in the number of clients asking for help to rectify problems with their windows on board.

 “We are receiving more and more enquiries from older yachts – between eight and ten years old – where the glass on board has started to delaminate,” reveals Henning von der Thüsen, managing director at TILSE. “Not only does it not look good, but delaminated glass poses a safety risk and must be changed due to class and flag state requirements. This can be a shock for many clients because the reliability of glass is often expected to be endless.”

Delamination of glass window

As superyachts are exposed to extreme environmental conditions, including UV light, high temperature differences and humidity, the ageing of materials can be accelerated. In the instance of glass on board – for which compound safety glass consisting of two or more layers laminated together is required – the industry standard compound material PVB Foil is very vulnerable to humidity, and this vulnerability is a key cause of delamination.

“Our glass does not use PVB Foils as a compound material because there is no foil on the market that is 100 per cent humidity resistant,” adds von der Thüsen. “Instead, we developed a special adhesive resin, TFG, which is humidity resistant and very reliable, thus mitigating the effect of delamination due to humidity.” Thanks to its unique adhesive technology, TILSE is experiencing high demand from refit projects where delamination has occurred (even on yachts with as little as four years in operation).

Optical distortion 

While clients value the long-term durability of glass on board, they also place great importance on the optical quality. Caused by a lack of quality control in the production process, optical distortion is another issue prevalent in glass installed on board superyachts and typically occurs on curved glass surfaces but can occur on plane windows also. As distortion results in deformations to the view through the glass, clients are increasingly requesting distortion-free windows. Achieving this is becoming more and more challenging due to the increasingly extravagant designs that push, and sometimes exceed, the limits of what is materially and physically possible.

To maximise the optical quality of its products, TILSE implements stringent measures during the production process. “We carefully select the raw materials and have intensive quality controls at each step of production to ensure there are no imperfections,” explains von der Thüsen. “If we do find any imperfections at any stage, the glass will be rejected. Some clients request a factory acceptance test to check the glass fulfils their expectations, which we are also happy to accommodate.”

As superyacht designs incorporate increasingly extravagant window arrangements on board, the reliability and optical quality of these glass surfaces will be ever more important. With its innovative compound technology and meticulous production processes, TILSE is paving the way for the future of superyacht glazing solutions, in terms of both safety and aesthetics.

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