Flat glass bending

© Felizitas Gemetz / Fraunhofer IWM

Unique, industry-oriented research unit for testing and evaluating bending processes


The Fraunhofer IWM offers an industrial glass bending unit for glass dimensions of up to 1 m² with extensive manufacturing and measurement equipment. Depending on the type of application, different techniques are used to apply the bending forces and to heat the glass.



  • Adjustable, follow-upbending tool
  • Local heating of glass sheets with various heat sources (hot air, laser)
  • High-power CO2 laser with beam guidance via scanner system
  • 2-dimensional online measurement of glass temperature
  • High automation potential with central process control and reproducible process sequences
  • Research system offers possibility of customer-specified modifications

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© Benjamin Blankenburg / Fraunhofer IWM

We develop industrial processes by means of simulation methods and laboratory experiments


In addition to the conventional experimental approach, we use simulation models to investigate interactions and the influence of process parameters. In the numerical models, material properties are taken into account in order to derive process sequences.
In the time-related development, thermal fields and material deformations are calculated. An example for the use of simulation results can be seen in the following illustration. Here the temperature development at a laser-irradiated ring and the vertical displacement at the center of the circle are simulated through the effect of gravity.

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Application examples


With the trialing systems of our research center and the simulation tools we have developed, we support our clients in developing complex bending processes and in process optimization, particularly for the shortening of processes, quality improvements and cost reductions. We also devise solutions for realizing shape diversity and provide proofs of concept.

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Manufacturing processes, product examples


  • Processes with and without a mold and the use of adjustable molds
  • Processes involving heat and force applied locally
  • Processes for small batches and variable geometries
  • Processes for glass parts with particular requirements (e.g. surface quality, contour accuracy)
  • Glass products for architectural use (e.g. curved panes for insulated glazing in building facades)
  • Technical products (e.g. curved solar modules, instruments with built-in displays)
  • Design products 

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  • Rist, T.; Gremmelspacher, M.; Baab, A., Innovative glass bending technology for manufacturing expressive shaped glasses with sharp curves, All Eyes on Smarter Glass, Glass Performance Days 2019, GPD Conference Proceedings, Complex Geometry & Curved Glass; Vitkala, J. (Ed.); Glaston Finland Oy, Tampere, Finland (2019) 34-35 Link
  • Rist, T.; Gremmelspacher, M.; Baab, A., Feasibility of bent glasses with small bending radii, ce/papers Vol. 2 Issue 5-6, Special Issue: Engineered Transparancy 2018 Glass in Architecture and Structural Engineering; Jesse, D. (Ed.); Ernst & Sohn Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin (2018) 183-189 Link

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