Research and Development

R&D Centers Worldwide

Overview

Inventions and continuous advancements in the production of flat glass have enabled cutting-edge facades, automotive glazing, and technical glass applications.
Thanks to R&D, NSG Group has been able to offer customers new products, greater performance, and excellent service.

Research & Development

Changing our surroundings...

Innovation has been at the heart of NSG Group since its inception. Inventions and continuous advancements in the production of flat glass have enabled cutting-edge façades, automotive glazing, and technical glass applications.

Because of this, NSG Group has been able to offer customers new products, greater performance, and excellent service, thanks to the efforts of NSG Group R&D.

NSG Group is also using glass innovation to address many 21st century challenges, including Climate Change, Wellbeing, and Digitization.

NSG Group can take on these challenges as a result of a strong history in innovation, a diverse talent pool of scientists and engineers, and a progressive approach to academic and industrial collaboration.

 

 

 

 

Historically, the glassmaking industry has been insular and slow-moving. Knowledge was less likely to be shared and collaborative approaches were not common.

In the modern world, in addition to the challenges of climate change and globalization, the pace of development and changes in technology mean the historical way of working is no longer sustainable. Companies must be open to different perspectives, and quicker to react to the changing world. Consequently, NSG Group has been developing productive and collaborative partnerships with universities, tech start-ups, and key global business partners.

Examples of outcomes from these types of cooperative efforts are described here:

PHYSEE
The relationship between NSG Group and PHYSEE is an excellent example of how large companies can work with scale-ups, engaging on multiple levels.
Initially work began locally in The Netherlands with research on digital sensors in the window manufacturing process and the interaction has since expanded to joint scientific research on advanced thin film coatings to maximize the benefit of solar energy.

Both companies continue to learn from each other during the collaboration – NSG Group benefitting from the perspective and innovative attitude of a tech scale-up, while PHYSEE gains insight into the operation of a global materials and manufacturing business.

PHYSEE was recently named the most innovative company in The Netherlands by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

 

This solar cell equipped glass with an experimental luminescent coating re-emits light after being exposed to sunlight. The efficiency of this PHYSEE PowerWindow was made possible through collaboration between NSG Group R&D Scientists and PHYSEE.

 


University of Liverpool

NSG Group is engaged in a KCMC (Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry) partnership with representatives from the University of Liverpool, and the Hartree Centre. The cooperation aims at accelerating discovery of the next generation transparent conducting materials.

Using computational materials discovery and optimized supercomputing, we will expedite the rapid screening of new compositions. Materials that show promise will then be evaluated though experimentation and coating deposition to give a full analysis.

This KCMC partnership, supported by investment from EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), enables the partners to transfer expertise, key tools and techniques, and support academia working across the project.  

 

 

 

Computational software generated an example of crystal structure for transparent conducting materials. 

 

...improving our world

With energy being a key part of the glassmaking process, NSG Group is investigating how to reduce the carbon and energy footprint throughout the glass supply chain - from sourcing raw materials, transport and logistics, to firing and producing the glass itself.

Projects are underway to develop local sources of renewable and low carbon electricity for NSG Group’s facilities, such as the Lathom Solar Farm. 


The use of next generation digital technology is allowing logistics and operations to become more environmentally friendly, by maximizing efficiency, eliminating waste, and reducing costs.

Examples of NSG Group technologies include Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass which helps reduce dependence on polluting chemical cleaning agents and labor costs, and the environmentally-friendly Pilkington AviSafe™, which has been developed to prevent birds from colliding with buildings.
As the effects of climate change worsen, there is a greater need to reduce the environmental cost of producing food and other horticultural crops. To that end, NSG Group is developing bespoke glazing products for the greenhouse industry, that will increase light transmission, promote plant growth, and reduce losses stemming from condensation and cleaning.
 

The development of thermally-efficient coated glass products, in conjunction with the increased adoption of double and tripled-glazed windows, has brought greater comfort to occupants, as well as cheaper energy costs and reduced carbon footprint.

In order to truly make the heating and cooling of buildings carbon neutral, ever more advanced products are being developed by NSG Group, allowing uncompromised thermal performance, color, and light transmission. NSG Group’s research allows the standards of Passive House and Zero Energy Buildings to be achieved in both new developments and renovations, even accounting for many different climates and seasonal effects.

 

Going beyond this, research is underway to develop and enable technologies that will allow buildings to become net contributors to energy grids, rather than consumers. This is achieved indirectly by supplying advanced conductive glass substrates to the photovoltaic industry, and directly via new glazing technology such as Building-Integrated Photovoltaics. 

NSG Group is a world leader in the development and production of transparent conductive oxide coated glass, which has multiple applications in advanced glazing, refrigeration, resistive heating, solar energy, and dynamic façades. NSG Group is continually advancing the use of coated glass for sensors, interfaces, and displays.

Innovative products developed by R&D find many applications in digital signage – including touch screen interfaces, mirror-hidden TVs, and large dynamic advertising displays. More information can be found at the Digital Signage page, via this link

 

With its excellent functional and aesthetic properties, glass is often the first choice for architects and designers. However, the glass can often be concealed by supplementary manual systems such as curtains, blinds, and shutters.

 

NSG Group is active in the field of next generation dynamic glazing, that can respond to changes in the environment, to keep occupants comfortable without conceding views or performance. 

 

NSG Group has developed other glass applications that switch between transparent and opaque with the touch of a button. So, the UMU that uses the NCAP technology (a liquid crystal polymer) to switch between opaque and transparent by the push of a button. Click here to learn more

 

Another example is Pilkington Sundym™ Select, often used in automotive roof lights. With a simple switch, the driver can vary the light transmission between near total darkness to almost clear glass in a matter of seconds. Additionally, state of the art infra-red reflective technology with enhanced ultra violet protection provides the highest level of solar protection in vehicle glazing to date.

 

People’s interaction with glass is often in cars; not just presently, but increasingly in the future as the world shifts to a model of ACES vehicles. As the automotive industry advances, in-car glass may be used as displays for cameras, blind spot detection, vehicle information, multimedia, as well as an interactive interface.

For electric vehicles, conserving energy is critical, as they cannot take advantage of the heat produced by internal combustion to demist glass. Special glass products are being developed by NSG Group to reduce the vulnerability of glass to mist, fog, and ice. 

Additionally, selective solar shading through the use of coated and laminated glass can prevent interior overheating.

NSG Group R&D is making efforts to ensure that innovations in glass can be made at a pace to match and even surpass those of the fast moving automotive and tech fields.