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Fire rated glass embraces low-iron glass trend with innovative new products

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Fire rated glass embraces low-iron glass trend with innovative new products

Bill O'Keeffe | June 13, 2019

There is an increasing demand for low iron glass as designers are being drawn by the color—or to put it more accurately—the lack of. When you look through a piece of standard glass, it is typical to notice a blue-green tint caused by the iron induced during the glass manufacturing process. As the name suggests, low-iron glass contains lesser amounts of iron, resulting in a clear appearance rather than the blue-green tint, allowing for a crisp, clean look and view.

With better clarity comes improved color neutrality. Consider retail stores that typically do not want a blue-green light cast to obscure their product’s appearance. The clarity and accuracy of these product displays pulls in more customers and results in increased sales. The use of low-iron glass in hotels and other public spaces makes views to the outside and interior spaces more vibrant. Low-iron glass allows for higher light transmission and increased daylight.

All the benefits of using low-iron glass as mentioned above are now possible with a USA-made fire rated glass—not just in 20 to 45 minute ratings, but in 60 to 120 minute ratings as well. There is a perception that the thicker the glass, the more color neutrality or visible light transmission will suffer.  While this may be true for many foreign-made fire rated glazing products, this is not true for SAFTI FIRST’s new generation of USA-made fire rated glazing solutions.

In fact, we have a low-iron choice for our complete line of clear, fire rated glass products. Our newly released product, SuperClear 45-HS-LI, comes standard with low-iron and has created a major change amongst designers, architects, and owners as they favor its use in place of ceramic glazing. Seeing is believing—and you can do just that by watching the video or ordering a sample now.

SuperClear 45-HS-LI is a real breakthrough in 45 minute, fire protective glazing products. With an approximate visible light transmission of 90% - and more importantly with no tint - compared to 88% for premium filmed ceramic and 85% for premium laminated ceramic.  This makes SuperClear 45-HS-LI the clearest 45-minute, fire protective glazing product on the market today. SuperClear 45-HS-LI meets all fire, hose stream, and safety requirements for 45-minute door, sidelite, transom, and openings, and is available in large sizes. It has a high STC/OITC rating for sound attenuation and can be used in both interior and exterior applications, with insulated, obscure, decorative or filmed make-ups available. SuperClear 45-HS-LI is listed and labeled by both UL and Intertek/WHI, and is available in sizes up to 3,880 sq. in. Another advantage is its availability and fast lead times. SuperClear 45-HS-LI is approximately half the cost of filmed or laminated ceramics used in the same 45 minute applications.

Low-iron glazing plays a critical role in 60-120 minute applications as well, and architects are starting to demand this clarity for these projects also. William Rawn and Associates specified SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Low-Iron Glass for Harvard Business School’s Klarman Hall to achieve the fire rated and aesthetic requirements of the project. Our SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Low-Iron glass provided a visible light transmission of 89.5%, the highest of any 2-hour fire resistive glazing product.  For reference, other 2-hour fire resistive glazing products on the market have a visible light transmission of 74% (as published on their marketing literature). That is a remarkable 15% difference in clarity.


Photo credit: Andy Caulfield.


With the use of low-iron glass clearly now the choice and steadily on the rise, I anticipate the exclusive use of these clear, tint-free products. For more information on all our fire rated glazing products, visit us online at www.safti.com. For more information on SuperClear 45-HS-LI specifically, you can visit www.safti.com/sc45.  We would also recommend viewing our company video for an inside look at our fully vertical-integrated fire rated glass and framing manufacturing facilities in Merced, CA.  If you have any questions, please contact Diana San Diego, Vice President of Marketing, at dianas@safti.com.

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