SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2014 > Flat Glass

The Spanish company Quality Espresso introduced its new espresso machine ”Visacrem V6” (”Gaggia G6” in Spain, Mexico and Portugal) in 2014. It features a new, revolutionized design of the control panel with SCHOTT® SeeClear glasses. Photo: Quality Espresso

Transparency and Reflection

SCHOTT’s new SeeClear technology combines transparency and reflection in one glass surface. This opens up a wide range of new design opportunities and functions for household and electrical appliances.

Corinna Huber

Wall mirrors that throw sunlight at each other: The effect of reflective surfaces is always astonishing – not just in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. Rooms appear brighter, more brilliant and far more spacious. It is no wonder this impressive effect was treasured by emperors and kings alike. Even today, interior designers and industrial architects exploit the potential of reflective elements: expansive glass fronts in modern houses and apartments enhance the feeling of light and space. Smooth, glossy furniture reflects the light – and built-in appliances are part of this ensemble – creating a harmonious unity in the room. The new BlackLine range from the appliance manufacturer Bauknecht deliberately uses the mirror effect: ”Whether it’s the built-in oven, the steamer or the microwave, the jointless, black mirrored surface gives our designs an elegant, premium look,” says Bianka Lange, Trade Marketing Specialist at Bauknecht. This timeless character is provided by the special mirror-coated flat glass SCHOTT® SeeClear, which is produced using an innovative process. ”This special process enables us to remove the mirror coating at selected areas on the glass surface with utmost precision,” explains Samantha Nardi, Business Development Manager at SCHOTT Italvetro in Italy, where the new technology was developed. SeeClear enables reflective elements in glasses for kitchen appliances – particularly appliances with electronic displays. ”Until now it was very difficult to realize displays on mirrored glass surfaces such as control panels, because the mirror effect interfered with the display user friendliness,” explains Nardi. With the new SCHOTT finishing process, the display becomes clearly visible and hence easy to read – a key factor in making modern household appliances user friendly.
BlackLine special edition from Bauknecht adds an extraordinary touch and blends in perfectly with modern, timeless designed kitchens. The built-in appliances feature a uniform design throughout and exude a sleek style thanks to the black mirror glass effect that varies depending on the viewing angle. Photo: Bauknecht

Transparency and reflection – in a single panel

The SCHOTT® SeeClear technology is the first to enable transparency and reflection to be combined in a single glass – opening up new options for the designers of kitchen appliances: “What distinguishes Bauknecht’s BlackLine range is its innovative design, using mirrored glass in the center within a black frame,” explains Astrid Rotarius, Global Marketing Director at SCHOTT Flat Glass. This means that the glass can either hide the view of the oven interior or make it visible: the glass front appears very differently depending on the lighting conditions, the angle of view and the operating mode of the appliance. This lends the built-in appliance a sophisticated look. ”The innovative design of this appliance line is a response to the growing trend toward using kitchens as living spaces,” explains Rotarius. In a ”living kitchen,” the kitchen and living room merge to become spacious open areas. The feeling of well-being is enhanced if the kitchen appliances are optimally integrated into the room. ”We have achieved this goal together with SCHOTT,” says Bianka Lange of Bauknecht.

SCHOTT® SeeClear glass is not only elegant and highly functional – it is also extremely durable: the tempered safety glass is very robust against shocks and blows. It can also withstand sudden changes in pressure and temperature. This is very important in a wide range of applications – for example, in control panels of espresso machines – where everyday use puts the glass under stress. ”Untoughend glass would be unable to cope in this environment,” explains Samantha Nardi. The Spanish company Quality Espresso, one of the five largest manufacturers of commercial espresso machines, has integrated SCHOTT® SeeClear glass in its new Visacrem V6 machine (branded Gaggia G6 in Spain, Mexico and Portugal) – and created completely new design and display features for its customers. Hotels, bars and gastronomy suppliers can now incorporate their own brand logo into the display. ”This turns the espresso machine into a highly visible advertising opportunity,” explains Nardi. The Visacrem logo is always in sight and appears in mirrored letters that are backlit by white LED lamps.
Photo: Quality Espresso
The program buttons on the glass panel also create a special effect: ”The reflective ring on the front of the glass and the white program icon on the back, which is lit by LEDs, produce a 3D effect,” explains Julian Melbourne, Export Director at Quality Espresso. In addition, the touch buttons on the control panel make the machine much easier to clean. ”This is a major advantage over the previous twist knobs and push buttons, which make cleaning difficult,” says Melbourne. SCHOTT’s innovative SeeClear glass fits right in with the high-tech standards of the Catalan company: the appliance’s transparent display area in the control panel has a color TFT display and a USB port for data exchange. ”Electrical appliances for the kitchen of tomorrow have additional electronics and smart functions – while also having to satisfy design standards,” says Rotarius. Mirror-coated glasses, innovative technologies and robust materials from SCHOTT now enable appliance makers to meet these requirements – not just today, but also well into the future. <


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