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Schott invests €30M to open new glass-ceramic facility in Germany

27 Nov 2019

Mainz hosts state-of-the-art CNC competence center focused on glass-ceramic Zerodur.

Specialty glass manufacturer Schott has opened a state-of-the-art CNC competence center for its glass-ceramic Zerodur in Mainz, Germany. The company marked the occasion by last week holding a festive reception ceremony.

Glass-ceramic components will be processed according to customers’ specifications at the new production facility by using electronically controlled CNC machines. The investment amounts to more than €30 million, and up to 70 qualified specialists will be employed at the site.

“We are creating the means to enable us to better meet customers’ future requirements in terms of both volume and quality,” commented Dr. Frank Heinricht, Chairman of Schott’s Board of Management, alongside the Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, and customers.

'Earthly foundations'

“With Zerodur glass-ceramic, a material was created here in Mainz that is actually made to reach for the stars. But for this to happen, earthly foundations must be created,” said Dreyer. “Schott is the largest industrial employer and trainer in Mainz and sets standards as a glass industry leader in environmental protection and energy efficiency.”

The new production facility bears the name of Jürgen Petzoldt, the pioneer of glass ceramics at Schott. Dr. Petzoldt was responsible for the development of Zerodur from 1966 and was also one of the fathers of the Ceran glass ceramic cooktop panels. He was a member of the Schott Board.

The new CNC Competence Center is the largest component of a multi-part investment program for optics manufacturing in Mainz, which has a total volume of over €40 million. This includes a CNC machine facility for processing glass-ceramic parts up to 4.5m in diameter, which was put into operation in 2017.

Go-to glass ceramic

Zerodur has a very low thermal expansion of almost zero and its range of resistance to extreme temperature shocks extends from 700°C to -200°C.

Schott says it has been “considered to be the best substrate material for astronomical reflector telescopes for five decades and is also a pivotal material in aircraft navigation equipment, chip manufacturing, production of flat panel displays and precision metrology.”

The most significant application for the glass-ceramic is the Extremely Large Telescope, being assembled in Chile, which will receive a primary mirror 39 meters in diameter. After its commissioning in the mid-2020s, it will be earth’s largest scope for stargazing.

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