The name of SCHOTT is known throughout the world for its quality glass, although many may be unaware of the vast extent to which its products are now employed for architectural purposes. The first and still the most widespread use for this versatile vitreous material in the field of construction was for the manufacture of glazed windows, a practice that emerged during the 16th century and which was, at that time, limited to the construction of more important buildings and the homes of the wealthy. They consisted of small panes, held in position by a strip of lead to form the form of lattice still seen today in the ornate, stained-glass windows typical of churches and cathedrals.
While SCHOTT and other brands of architectural glass have since been employed in many other innovative applications, that which is used in the manufacture of windows today has undergone some striking improvements and has become far more than just a means with which to admit daylight and to protect the occupants of a building from the weather beyond. Sun damage to carpets and soft furnishings was once commonplace, especially in the type of climate experience in South Africa. With the development of products that resist the passage of harmful UV rays, this need no longer presents a problem. One particularly valuable use for this UV-resistant material is to protect paintings from sun damage.
In developing its range of architectural glass, SCHOTT has also been required to overcome another of the material’s less desirable properties – the tendency to reflect light. Inside a building, excessive reflection can seriously interfere with visibility, which in turn can take its toll on staff productivity. Externally, it can become an inconvenience to the occupants of adjacent buildings. The development of anti-reflective products, such as AMIRAN®, has proved to be invaluable for use in structures, such as display windows, museum cabinets, and recording studios where it eliminates the need to make use of awnings or other anti-reflective measures.
It is, however, not only its optical properties that have created the demand for SCHOTT architectural glass. Equally important as a safety material is PYRANOVA®. As one of this leading German manufacturer’s fire-resistant products, it is now making an important contribution to the fire precautions applied in many commercial and residential structures around the world. A laminated composite that consists of a fire-resistant layer sandwiched between sheets of floating glass, the former swells upon exposure to fire, thus preventing its passage, as well as that of the accompanying smoke and radiant heat. By delaying the spread of combustion, this product provides the time for occupants to exit the building in safety, and it can be incorporated into smart doors and stylish panels in order to create a protected escape route.
Over the years, SCHOTT architectural glass and its other innovative products have, quite justifiably, earned international acclaim for their exceptional quality and reliability. In South Africa, LIT Africa is a company that, over the course of more than 50 years, has built itself a reputation as a preferred supplier of these products and many other advanced materials that have become essential to construction and to many of the nation’s other key industries.