Sight Glass Manufacturing

posted in: Thoughts | 0

We start there. It’s been two years of us buying and selling sight glasses made by others. Inspired by the insane attention to detail by KTM engineers, one of my favorite motorcycles, we set out to design sight glasses that combine function with aesthetics.

By nature, sight glasses are boring industrial components nobody looks at. They are designed to look through them, not at them. Sight glasses are supposed to let the light through with minimum obstruction. So, the metal frame around the window is a necessary evil in a sight glass design. However, the frame is what gives the sight glass its strength, it is an important element. We optimized our frame to give the window the maximum viewing area, where the aperture diameter is as a big as the metal frame can hold without breaking when subjected to operating pressure. The larger the aperture, the less pressure a sight window can hold; typically this is how it works. With the design we are building our Factor of Safety (FOS) is 1.2 with the design pressure of 9,000 psi. That’s over 3.8 miles below the ocean level. Most of our sight glass sales are for applications well below that high pressure range. We are covered.

All the reasons to make our own products are along the lines of better financial margins, better business model, our engineering passion for discovery, manufacturing experience, and industry contacts. Something like that. These are good reasons to build a business by. This week has been spent at machine shops, glass and fused quartz fabrication vendors discussing how to make the design more efficient for manufacturing. Orders and requests for quotation are coming in. We keep quoting high prices for custom units in low quantities, time and time again. It’s time for a catalog sight glasses, preferably in stock.

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