S.I. Howard Glass Company provides high-quality flat glass components to customers across a range of industries. We maintain a broad variety of standard glass parts and products and an extensive selection of custom glass fabrication capabilities. One of our core service offerings is lapping and polishing, manufacturing processes we use to reduce the thickness and improve the surface of glass materials and components.
Overview of Double-Sided Lapping and Polishing
Glass materials may undergo various finishing operations to ensure the final components have the right shape, size, and texture. Lapping and polishing are techniques used to alter the surface of a glass piece using abrasives. In lapping, the abrasive sits between two surfaces that are rubbed together. In polishing, the abrasive is generally rubbed onto a single surface. The former produces a rough surface since it uses coarser abrasives, while the latter produces a mirror-like surface since it uses finer abrasives. That’s why they are often used together to shape and finish high-accuracy glass components.
While lapping and polishing operations typically modify one side of a glass workpiece at a time, double-sided lapping and polishing setups enable both sides to be abraded simultaneously. The process uses a liquid filled with abrasive particles to shape and finish the surface. It puts very little stress on the component, allowing for minimal thermal distortion. Additionally, its planetary action, combined with the utilization of a top plate and a bottom plate, results in excellent transmitted wavefront error, parallelism, surface roughness, and surface quality.