Suntuitive Glass - Bright sunlight without heat

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Bright sunlight without heat

It’s early 1980s and after about a year of research, the “mixture in the beaker” was just right. A mixture that would bring a small company to a publicly traded company valued at billions today. Dr. Harlan Byker invented the chemistry portion of the first commercially successful electrochromic device, an automatic dimming rear view mirror for motor vehicles that has sold more than 400 million units to date.

With that success Dr. Byker changed his focus to architectural glass. His plan was to make it more intuitive and bring thermal comfort into the interior space without limiting natural light. That is when Pleotint LLC was born. The company is now a world leader in dynamic glass and consists of a glass fabrication division, an interlayer extrusion operation, research & development and of course the innovative Suntuitive Dynamic Glass product line.

Suntuitive Glass is perfect for daylighting and thermal comfort – the illumination of buildings by natural light through the strategic placement of skylights and windows. Sunlight has great benefits – it enlightens our mood, deepens our sleep and improves productivity. But sunlight through conventional windows has a side effect: often rooms heat up too much when there is direct sunlight. Instead of using blinds and shades finally dynamic tinting windows are available at a reasonable cost. 

The thermochromic technology of Suntuitive Dynamic Glass adapts to changing sunlight conditions to maximize natural daylight throughout the day. As the sun rises and sunlight begins to heat the glass, the Suntuitive interlayer will begin to darken, which we perceive as tinting. The interlayer uses the sun’s energy to mitigate solar heat and glare when there is direct sunlight on the window, while still allowing maximum daylight by clearing up when there is indirect sunlight. So instead of fighting the sun, Suntuitive Dynamic Glass works in harmony with the sun to provide optimal comfort and interior lighting conditions.

FLUX spoke with Dr. Byker, Chief Executive Officer of Pleotint about the production of Suntuitive Dynamic Glass and why feeders of Brabender Technologie are part of it. 

Tell us a bit more about PLEOTINT’s beginnings and its growth with Suntuitive Glass which is now the most used dynamic glass technology worldwide?

Pleotint had it’s first commercial project in 2010 and will soon celebrate ten years of continued excellence in dynamic glass. Since 2010 Pleotint has gone from local installs and fabrication to installations in 30 countries around the world in cooperation with a global network of certified fabrication partners, making Suntuitive the most adopted dynamic glass technology.

Could you please explain this “dynamic glass technology” in a few words? What is crucial for the production process? 

Suntuitive Dynamic Glass self-tints under direct sunlight. The ‘magic’ happens in a proprietary PVB interlayer sandwiched between the glass. To produce a high-quality, consistent product many variables in the interlayer fabrication as well as the glass fabrication need to be controlled within a stringent set of ranges.

What are the major benefits of Suntuitive Dynamic Glass and its unique passive technology that re-mains adaptive to the sun’s changing intensity throughout the day?

What makes Suntuitive Dynamic Glass unique is that the intelligence really is built-in. This means no external systems, in the form of controls wired to the glass and power supplies, are necessary. This results in an installation that is exactly like conventional glass, not complicating the building process in any way. 

Why did you choose Brabender Technologie and what kind of feeders do you use?

Brabender Technologie feeders were chosen because of their varied feeder technology and product offerings that help in the development and manufacture of Suntuitive films, which requires precision ingredient feeding and high accuracy. We currently use the FlexWall® 80 and DDSR20 type feeders.

How has Brabender Technologie’s high accuracy feeding equipment helped you through your manufacturing process? 

Brabender feeders have met our feeder operational requirements, providing consistently accurate contribution performance for our film manufacturing needs. In our feed application we have a sophisticated combination of materials and additives which include a powdered polymer resin. Ongoing consistency of all feeder contributions are crucial to the process.

Within your core markets where do you see the next generation of innovations taking you?

Dynamic Glass itself is still considered a ‘next-gen innovation’ as it is pre-mass adoption. In the coming years, we will see a market-wide awareness of the products and massive adaptation as the core markets realize the potential and benefits of this field-tested and durable product. That being said; at Suntuitive Dynamic Glass we are already working on new applications in areas such as bullet resistant with solar heat gain control as well as dynamic single pane glazing, which will provide a safer built environment and open up markets in new areas around the world. Other applications could be in heavy and farm equipment, public transit and automotive. These are exciting times for the next generation of glass: Suntuitive Dynamic Glass! 

(published in FLUX 1/2020)