Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Further research and testing has been carried out to discover the best way to stamp the glass with its ID and what the stamp would look like.
The options range from etching, engraving or embossing information onto the glass, to RFID tagging.
We are weighting the pros and cons in order to get the optimal solution.
Some of the factors to take into account are:
How does the tag fit into the circular economy: How the tagging system can be re-used/recycled once the glass it is installed onto is dismantled. Or, in case of a stamp put onto glass during production, how the treatment of that area will affect the recyclability of that area of the glass.
Readability: How easily readable is our stamping process for phones and/or scanning devices.
Scanning device: is our stamp readable by a mobile or only by specialist reading devices?
Application/manufacture: How easy is applying/producing the stamp during the glass manufacture process?
Cost: Which option is the most cost effective and thus more likely to be widely adopted by our target market?
Application/removal: How easy is it to apply or remove our stamp/tag?
Life span: Does the tagging method use any kind of battery? What is its service life? Is it compatible with the glazing system lifespan?
Damage of the stamped area: How to identify the glass in case the corner where the stamp/tag is applied is damaged?
Core ID has been contacted to seek more information on the RFID tags and Pilkington to enquire on which processes could easily be applied to glass in the plant and on how that would affect the recyclability of the glass.
Some of the findings from those conversations can be found below:
There are multiple types of tags, some of them able to withstand 250 degrees temperature, but these are usually with a metal antenna.
A bespoke tag with entirely organic material and designer imprint is possible, however this would increase the cost of the tags and have some readability issues, as both phones and scanning devices struggle with lighter or bespoke solutions.
The tags recommended by Core ID for this specific case were UHF and NFC.
UHF tagging requires a scanning device that is expensive (around £800-1500 per device), but can scan many tags at the same time from a long distance (suitable for warehouses and big buildings).
NFC is a more consumer focussed tagging system, that can be installed to gather all the information in the glass and can be linked to GlassPass' website to get further information from our database. This tag can be read with a phone app, but can only be scanned individually, from a very short distance.
It is possible to create a tag that combines both UHF and NFC.
Tagging can happen both inside and outside. Scanning from the outside on the inside of the glass should also work.
NFC was the system recommended for a first trial run.
STAMPING ON GLASS
Etching, engraving or embossing can be done in the plant and without affecting the recyclability or the properties of the panel.
The additional cost of the above operation may be around a maximum of £1/m².
The main question still to be answered regarding stamping directly on glass is the readability of the stamp, as there won't be much contrast to make it easier for devices to scan.
Further testing will be required, however due to the constraints of Covid, this has not yet been possible.
Some home prototyping/experimentation has been taking place in order to test how the GlassPass stamp could look.
The GlassPass team has been finding inspiration in varied places, from QR codes and CD writing to the organic forms of nature, the helix of DNA and/or considering the inclusion of organic matter in the tag.
Some examples and process photos are below:
CD writing inspired prototype using sugar
Resin prototype with QR code
Tests for stamping using organic matter
Wax prototype using organic shapes and the inspiration from the DNA helix
ON SITE TAGGING AND APP TRIAL
In parallel, conversations have been taking place with URM and Erith Contractors (both have been involved in the Verde SW1 project) to run a retrospective stamping trial run in a building that is currently under demolition works.
Due to the demolition sequence and current program, the glass that is going to be tagged at the moment are internal glazed partitions located on the ground floor of the building.
For the trial run we have coded NFC tags and are developing the interface and database where the glass DNA information is going to be stored.
As mentioned, this trial will have the tags being applied retrospectively and will be documented with photos and videos. These will show not only how the information can be added to one unique ID and fed to the database, and how the database can be updated once a new step in the glass pane life takes place, but also how GlassPass would fit into the demolition process.
NFC tags to be used for the trial run
Tag and app interface test
Test of tag installed on a window
Further discussions with glass manufacturers and a better understanding of the overall production and processing of glass also helped the GlassPass team to understand that the best stage to apply the tag on the glass rather than being on the float plant, is likely to be during the processing, by windows and curtain wall manufacturers. This is due to the fact that, depending on the size of the window/curtain wall specified, the glass pane that leaves the float plant is likely to be cut into smaller pieces by window and curtain wall manufacturers to suit the sizes specified to each specific project.
Each pane of glass will have to leave the plant with a root tag that then is ramified into as many as different products result from it, and the database updated accordingly. Alternatively the glass manufacturer tracking numbers will have to be uploaded to the GlassPass database along with the relevant information and later, when the tags are applied, that information will be transferred to each individual tag and any relevant additional information added.