Though the years, glass washers have evolved and models expanded to produce machines capable of preparing sheets in sizes ranging from quarters and microscope slides up to 144” (3.65m) in width.
Along with the sheet size and processing range requirements, increases in technology generated stricter and more uniform cleaning specifications and requirements for surface energy and particle count, resulting in more critical design of these machines from the mechanics and surface agitation, rinsing and blow-off techniques, through the process monitoring and control of individual zones within the machine.
The downstream process dictates the amount of surface agitation, rinsing, and drying/blowoff required for the application, as well as the process monitoring and control of these zones. These machines are designed to produce clean surfaces equal to or better than an acceptable threshold for the intended downstream process, application or final assembly needs.
Different designs for surface agitation have been used for different functions ranging from cylinder/drum brushes, belt-style brushes, cup brushes, and contactless ultrasonic agitation, amongst others methods. Each design offers different advantages and disadvantages ranging from initial capital investment, effectiveness at different throughput speeds, lifetime of the brush or primary agitation medium, and maintenance and serviceability of the mechanics.