Our glass cutting process
The production of our panels takes time and skill, and combines cutting-edge technology with hands-on craftmanship and years of training and experience. From the precision of our cuts to the layering of our paint, every part of the process is done with care to a rigorous standard.
Although we do our best to produce panels as quickly as possible, we have extremely high standards of quality and will start from scratch if a finished piece does not meet our expectations. We also check and double check to ensure that no errors are made in the cutting and shaping of our splashbacks, and that the final result is a perfect fit. Furthermore, large sheets of glass must be handled with care, particularly before being toughened, so our staff observe strict safety protocols at all times and are trained not to rush!
We aim to produce our panels within 7 to 10 working days and nearly always meet this deadline. But for these reasons we cannot give a definitive date of delivery until the panels are finished and have passed our strict quality control requirements.
How our glass panels are made
Large sheets of glass, weighing many tonnes, are delivered to our workshops and loaded onto racks. This dangerous and delicate operation is carried out by our skilled machine operators.
We refer to the detailed measurement plans drawn up by our expert surveyors.
The panel dimensions are programmed into a computer, turned into CAD (computer-aided design) drawings, and sent to our water-jet cutting machines.
To create the correct size of panel, large sheets of glass are scored by machine but broken out (snapped) by hand. This has to be done quickly before the glass “heals”.
The panel size is measured for any slight inaccuracies, which are then corrected by hand.
The outer edges of the glass are polished by machine. Because the glass sits upright in the machine, our maximum panel size is 3900mm – a 4000mm high panel would be too dangerous to process.
Water-jet glass cutting
The panel is now ready to be moved to our water-jet glass cutting equipment. Using the CAD drawings produced earlier, cut-outs for sockets and switches are made using a high-pressure jet of water and sand. This cuts through glass with incredible accuracy.
The edges of the jetted glass are buffed to a smooth finish by hand.
Wash and inspection
The glass is washed and inspected for flaws, in accordance with our strict quality control guidelines.
Each panel is labelled by job, rotation and position – some of our larger projects require up to 50 panels, which are fitted together like a jigsaw. The glass can now be toughened for heat and impact resistance.
Preparing the paint or image
With the glass cut to size, and toughened, the panels are moved to our finishing studios for the next stage of the process – preparing the colour or printed image.
Colouring and printing
Once the colour has been finalised and the paint mixed, it is applied by hand to the back of the glass panels. Multiple layers and a skilful technique ensure a solid, even coating. Patterns and images are digitally applied using the latest printing technology.
Finishing by hand
All our panels are rigorously quality controlled by our trained craftsmen, and finished perfectly by hand.
Final clean and polish
Following their final inspection, our panels are cleaned and buffed once again.
When the panels have been cleared for delivery they are packaged securely. If we are sending them by courier we fix them into crates for added protection.
Out for delivery
Opticolour fitters travel all over the UK to deliver and fit our panels in a wide variety of residential properties and commercial premises.
The glass is handled with extreme care at all times.
We refer to the original installation sheet to ensure the fitting process proceeds smoothly.
Our fitters are trained to make the panels sit straight and plumb, even if the walls are not true.
Following installation, we refit electrical sockets, polish the glass, and clean up thoroughly.