Solar Gard Invests in New Magnetron Sputtering Machine

September 27th, 2017 by Katherine Coig

Kendall Combs, general manager of thin films, Solar Gard

Solar Gard Saint-Gobain has recently installed a new roll-to-roll magnetron sputtering line to its facility in San Diego, Calif. Kendall Combs, Solar Gard’s general manager of thin films, says the machine positions the company to expand its manufacturing capabilities by allowing them to put multiple layers of precious metals onto its film.

“It’s going to be a significant in terms of delivering quality products,” Combs says. “We had to construct an entire new building to house it. No one’s allowed in there except for our engineers—they’ve only let me in a couple of times.”

Combs says it was an investment six years in the making, having broken ground on the annex to house the machine at the start of 2016 and completing it by the year’s end.

“It’s a really big deal for us,” Combs says. “It was a rather expensive investment—tens of millions, but now we are able to add the most advanced coatings to our films.”

Saint-Gobain has been manufacturing glass for more than 350 years, Combs explains, so bringing the ability to manufacture retrofit technology that accommodates energy and solar performance codes was a natural progression for Solar Gard.

“We’re addressing the demand we have and the trend that we see as building codes become more stringent,” Combs says. “It’s all about performance … There is nothing that outperforms the complex metal stacks that this machine produces, and we are addressing the tremendous demand our network already has now and the trend we see as the market advances.”

The company began using the magnetron machine since the first quarter of this year, Combs explains, and says the company is focusing on its Hilite series. The machine has allowed them to produce 72-inch widths, as opposed to previously being restricted 60-inch widths.

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