Fiberglass is a group of products prepared from individual glass fibers combined into several of forms. FRP gratings manufacturers use these materials to prepare several fiberglass products for distinct customers in many industries. Glass fibers can be separated into two groups as per their geometry- continuous fibers used in textiles and yarns, and the discontinuous or short fibers used as blankets, batts, or boards for insulation and filtration.
Fiberglass is also known as glass reinforced plastics, which is prepared by reinforcing the plastic matrix using fine glass fibers. The raw materials needed for manufacturing fiber glass is easily available to the production units at low cost, thus, it is best alternative to carbon fibers for various applications. As fiberglass is less brittle, has good bulk strength and weight properties that help the material to overtake metals used by industries for manufacturing several products like septic tanks, high performance aircraft, roofing, pipes, stairs, ladders, automobiles, etc.
The manufacturing process includes various phases-
- Forming into fibers
- Continuous filament process
- Staple fiber process
- Chopped fiber
- Glass wool
- Protective coating
- Shaping the product
Manufacturers use furnace for melting the glass. Molten glass is kept at higher temperature than other types of glass to transform into fiber. Once the glass is molten, it is transferred to the forming equipment via forehearth placed at the end of the furnace.
Fiber formation includes several different processes. Textile fibers are formed from molten glass directly from the furnace, or the molten glass is fed first to a machine that develops glass marbles (1.6cm) in diameter. These marbles allow the glass to be checked visually for contaminants/ impurities.
Continuous filament method can develop a long continuous fiber. After the glass flows via holes in the bushing, multiple strands can be caught up on high speed rotary winder. This winder rotates at 3 km per minute speed, which is faster than the flow rate from the bushings. Strands are made and chemical binder is applied to keep the fiber strong during later processing. This filament is wound onto tubes and twisted and plied into yarn.
There are a lot more alternative methods used by FRP gratings manufacturers to prepare fiberglass at in house infrastructure. The process is performed under strict guidelines to get fine quality fiberglass which is later used in preparing FRP range of products.