Chicago’s “The Ledge” Sets the Stage for a New Glass Innovation

The Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, in Chicago is an ideal place to learn about a new glass product. Sheathed in bronze glass, the tower stands 110 floors and, even from floor 99, you can feel the building sway—about 5 inches, according to Lou Cerny of Arlington Glass & Mirror. Cerny, who was the project manager for The Ledge, a series of glass observation boxes along the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, spoke last night to a group attending a new product launch organized by Vetrotech Saint-Gobain. That new product is called Keralite Select, which combines patent-pending surface polishing technology with what the company calls advanced composition to create “the sharpest, most accurate color-viewing glass ceramic in its class.”

As Kevin Frisone, Vetrotech’s sales and marketing manager, North America, explained, fire-rated glass ceramics typically have a certain level of haze. This new product, which has fire-ratings in 20, 45, 60, 90 and 180 minutes, was created to “have the lowest haze” compared to similar products on the market.

Keralite Select scored 97.1 out of 100 on the color-rendering index of 97.1, which, according to the company, is the highest R96a value for glass ceramics. It also has a haze value of 0.5 percent, which Frisone says is the lowest available.

Describing the product, Frisone said it’s both “higher performing and better performing,” providing clear, sharp images. “It provides a truer color,” he said, adding it also provides a high visible light transmittance, which can allow in an increased amount of natural light.

Speaking of the new glass, Frisone added, “It provides function and aesthetics … allowing architects to be more creative …”

For additional life safety, a surface-applied film is also an option.

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