Glass Tube Manufacturing Processes
Glass can be shaped, cut, drilled, polished, marked, and sterilized to meet your application. Glass is clean and inexpensive making it perfect for disposable medical or clinical laboratory applications. There are many glass tube manufacturing processes. Here is more information about the accu-glass process.
Molten glass allows for unlimited design possibilities. In addition to a broad array of shapes, permanent opal colors can be added to the glass to provide reflection backgrounds and identification striping. The process is controlled using SPC techniques and Windows-based software data collection is utilized to retain product history. Accu-Glass is capable of producing (outside diameters) OD’s up to 6.00 mm with wall thicknesses as small as 7% of the nominal OD.
Forming Glass Tubes
At Accu-Glass tubing and rod are formed by a very unique Direct Draw Glass Process. Glass material is continuously “pulled” from a vessel of molten glass. The advantage of this process over conventional “tank drawn” glass tubing is that a wide range of geometric shapes and very precise tolerances are achieved.
Additional advantages are the ability to manufacture lower volume runs more economically, and a very short turnaround time from order to shipment. The unique tooling utilized is designed and fabricated on site by Accu-Glass personnel to meet specific customer needs.
Internal diameters can be as small as 25 microns with tolerances down to ± 1 micron. The measurement methods used to achieve these extremely tight tolerances are diverse depending on the product application. These methods employ laser, optical, volumetric, and mass flow measurement technologies, many of which were developed by Accu-Glass. Dimensional tolerances of ± 1 micron for internal diameters for small tubing can be achieved.
Cutting Glass Tubes
Accu-Glass provides a variety of glass cutting processes depending on your application. The Score Break method is economical because of the high speeds achieved and does not require special cleaning since it is a “dry cut” process. Tolerances achieved are generally ± 0.010″ for length, however tighter tolerance specifications can be achieved in some instances.
The Precision wafer cutting process is used for applications where length and end cut requirements are more stringent. This method employs a gang arbor of stacked diamond cutting blades that are liquid cooled, with the product fixtured in a special wafer cutting machine. This equipment was developed and modified to cut glass tubing and rod to very exact specifications. Common product tolerances for the length are in the range of ± 0.004″. After cutting, the parts are cleaned using ultrasonic techniques and then packaged to your requirements.
Glass Tube Marking & Decorating
Accu-Glass has many years of glass tube marking experience, too. Various inks or enamels can be applied and “fired” on a glass tube. These markings can be used to designate volumetric size or specify a volumetric calibration point, and can be applied in many different colors or configurations to the glass tubes.
Specialty markings can also be applied to provide fluorescence under various light wavelengths for specialty applications. Calibration markings can be applied to achieve a volumetric tolerance of ± 0.25% for accuracy and precision of 0.5% or less.
Forming Specialty Glass Tubes
If you have needs for precise shapes and configurations in small glass tubing, Accu-Glass can form funnels and tips as an integral part of the glass tube forming.
For example, a “lead in” funnel can be formed to assist in the insertion of a fiber optic connector assembly. Tapered glass tips can be formed on the glass tubing to provide precise flow restriction or insertion capabilities. Our engineering staff can assist you in this area in order to meet your specialty needs.
Flame Polishing Smoothes Glass Edges
High speed flame polishing is used to smooth sharp glass edges which occur during the glass cutting process. This makes the glass tubes much more resistant to chipping during later use, and much safer for others to handle.
Additionally this “smoothing effect” makes it much easier to conform to various insertion requirements that are important during later product assembly.
Glass Tube Coatings
Unique glass coatings can be applied to the internal surfaces of glass tubing to meet your needs. Accu-Glass has a long history of providing glass products with various reagents or chemicals applied to the inner surface such as:
- Lithium Heparin
- Ammonium Heparin
- Monoclonal Antibodies
Glass Tube Packaging
Accu-Glass offers many variations of product packaging to conform to your production operations. Glass products can be sealed in a plastic pouch, packed in a box, or specialty packaging designs can be created to meet your exacting specifications.