Here is the breakdown on glassboard manufacturing to ensure that you get what you expect
First, chalkboards. Then whiteboards. Now glassboards have taken over workspaces, hospitals, homes, and classrooms. Glassboards deliver the consistent, clean-erase functionality that traditional whiteboards only promised, with sleeker freestanding and floating designs that eliminate hardware. Glass fabrications also offer endless customizations to maximize functionality and reflect brands that turn glassboards into statement pieces.
Yet, not all glassboard manufacturing and fabrication processes produce the same results. When it comes to long-term functionality and durability, glassboard specifications get technical. In this blog, we break down the various glassboard manufacturing techniques to ensure that your glassboard meets expectations for years to come.
Clean Erase (Prevent Ghosting)
Ghosting is the residual writing that remains on the whiteboard after cleaning. Soft writing surfaces degrade, absorb ink, and are prone to ghosting.
Traditional whiteboard writing surfaces are made with a thin layer of porcelain, a softer, porous material. Specialty cleaners will preserve and better clean porcelain; however, as porcelain deteriorates, readability will decrease and eventually require replacement.
Glass is a much harder, more non-porous writing surface that does not degrade or ghost. The heating of a specialized raw material mix to extreme molten temperatures creates a fire-polished glass, which is one of the hardest natural materials produced.
Pro Tip: Ask your manufacturer about glass thickness and fabrication process. Be wary of non-tempered glass products, as they could shatter.
Beyond ghosting, surface glare (the amount of light that bounces off the glass) and opacity (the amount of light that transfers through the glass) impact glassboard readability.
Glossy finishes are the hardest surfaces but are highly reflective, which can impact readability. A matte finish eliminates glare, but the etching process increases porosity. Special cleaning products are required with matte finishes; however, unlike porcelain, matte surfaces do not degrade and can be returned to their original, clean-erase state using a variety of readily available erasers and glass cleaners.
Limiting the amount of light that transfers through the glass is another way manufacturers improve readability. Adding a color film or spraying paint onto the back surface of the glass are common ways to achieve varying levels of opacity. With both, creating a strong bond with the glass surface is important, and different types of bonds require different chemical treatments. The more paint layers, the more opacity, but layers must be applied with an even texture.
Adding a color backer to the paint shuts out all light transfer. Low iron glass (a glass that has had the natural green color extracted from the glass) ensures paint clarity and color integrity.
Pro Tip: Ask your manufacturer about the type of glass used in their glassboard fabrication. Inquire about opacity specifications, peel test results, and the use of automated spray technology to give you a better understanding. Make sure to request a color sample. Check for vibrancy, color accuracy, and adhesion.
Freestanding & Floating Looks
Eliminating visible hardware gives glassboards their highly-prized wow factor and increases writing space. Understand that glassboards are much heavier than whiteboards, so hardware specifications must meet safety standards and visual aesthetics.
For wall glassboards, top and bottom z-clips that run the entire width of the glassboard and are pre-mounted into the steel backer eliminate visible hardware, make for easy installation, and achieve a secure and stable mount.
Mobile glassboard hardware must securely balance the glass while absorbing the micro-vibrations caused by rolling, writing, and erasing. Locking casters are an absolute must.
Pro Tip: Ask your manufacturer about their safety specifications and installation techniques that secure the glassboards and prevent vibrations, tipping, and falling.
Creating a magnetic glassboard is done by adhering a layer of steel to the back surface of the glass. Any sharp steel edge will rub against the paint or glass, creating noticeable imperfections during delivery and installation. Stamped-cut steel will have sharper edges, while laser-cutting leaves softer, smoother edges less likely to impair the glass.
Again, different chemical preparations are required depending on whether the steel adheres to paint, film, or glass. The thicker the steel, the stronger the magnetic field, and the heavier the glassboard is to handle and install.
Pro Tip: Ask your glass manufacturer about their steel manufacturing and adhesive specifications. Remember that galvanized steel also does not degrade or corrode.
Most magnets are designed to have direct contact with steel and won’t work on every glass-to-steel ‘sandwich.’ To ensure the strongest magnetic field through the thickness of glass, buy rare earth magnets that won’t scratch the surface of the glass.
Pro Tip: Ask your glass fabricator for a recommendation on where to purchase raw earth magnets with rounded and polished corners.
Check out how we fabricate magnetic glassboards in this video.
At Minneapolis Glass, we custom fabricate wall, mobile, desk, and medical glassboards with precision craftsmanship and automated technology.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tour our glassboard fabrication process.