The working process

Fiam's know-how, between craftsmanship and technological boundary.

The bending process consists essentially of three elements:

  • the moulds;
  • controlling the temperature of the sheet of glass at various points in order to soften each of these points differently, depending on the final shape to be achieved;
  • the master bender, who only after several years of training, guided by an expert “master glassmaker”, starts to undertake some of the operations on his own until he eventually takes full responsibility for them, enabling him to combine technical skill and manual dexterity.

This craft requires very diverse and complex skills, the achievement of which implies an undoubted passion for one’s work, namely:

  • guiding and imparting the correct temperature to the various points on the sheet of glass;
  • moving the reference mould, opening the hatch of a furnace with internal temperatures between 650° and 900°;
  • when necessary, moulding the glass by means of various tools until it assumes the desired shape;
  • maintain the balance of the glass between the solid and the liquid state, under unique conditions.

However, passion alone is not enough: dexterity requires a high level of sensitivity! The intervention of the master bender and his ability to work in harmony with the colleague assisting him in front of the furnace are essential elements contributing to the quality of the finished product. It is from this very meeting of technology and craftsman’s know-how that unique, non mass-produced items are born.

The bending process

Craftsmanship and technological process: the bending process

In order to transform a sheet of glass into a three-dimensional product, the sheet of glass must be subjected to a heat-treatment process consisting of three stages, each of which occurs within a temperature range that is well defined for each product being worked:

  • heating, prior to bending;
  • melting, during which the glass changes shape due to gravity. During this operation, the artisan responsible for melting “helps” the glass to assume the desired shape, endowing the finished product with that uniqueness that differentiates it from the mass produced article.
  • cooling, which occurs in different chambers, is the process that determines whether or not there are any residual tensions inside the created object.

Fiam currently has furnaces reaching internal temperatures of between 650° and 900°C. This equipment is designed and built within the company and represents the pinnacle of our know-how.

THE FUSION

The know-how makes the difference: the fusion

THE FUSION

The know-how makes the difference: the fusion

The engraving done by Fiam is the abrasive-mechanical type and is carried out manually by the master engraver, making use of specific grinding wheels to create the desired decorative motif.

Here too, the human contribution is essential. The person, although following a predefined pattern, contributes through his sensitivity, infusing the design and, therefore, the product with an unquestionable uniqueness.

The engraving

Exclusive beauty: the engraving

The production, from scratch, is one of the most fascinating points in the production process, in which craftsmanship finds its most spectacular expression!

On a specially equipped bench, the master sculptor appears almost like an artist due to the sensitivity required by the process and for the end result itself. Selecting the most suitable piece of glass time after time, drawing the shape that each piece must take, preparing each fragment of glass by grinding the edge and smoothing it to avoid it causing injury and finally sculpting it by means of a special “tool” with an almost rhythmical movement: piece after piece the master sculptor’s skill is manifested and one can see the meeting point of creativity and dexterity.

This stage is followed by operations that are also a testament to the absence of mass-production in the creation of these pieces: the individual fragments, once sculpted, are finished on the sanding belt and then joined one to the other to make up the table leg, which is then ready to be bonded to the table top (an operation performed by Fiam).

The sculpting

The uniqueness of craftsmanship: the sculpting


Watch the video

The sculpting

The uniqueness of craftsmanship: the sculpting


Watch the video

This process consists of depositing metallic silver (through the precipitation of silver nitrate) on the parts not in contact with the tin, and allows the creation of glass with the ability to reflect any rays of light that strike its surface.

This operation is based on chemical reactions, but also involves careful control of all the parameters that determine the quality of the end product in that they are influenced by weather conditions.

Although characterised by a high technological content, the experience and sensitivity of the artisan in charge of silvering is also essential in ensuring a good result in this process.

The silvering

Precision and sensibility: the silvering

In order to unite two or more separately produced parts, Fiam utilises two types of bonding: welding by means of UV rays and bonding using silicon or polyurethane.

Welding by means of UV rays

One of the features of the glues used for this type of bonding is that they contain particles that are only activated by a particular light-spectrum frequency (with a wavelength of 362 micron), which is that of ultra-violet light.It requires only a few seconds of exposure to the right light emitted by special lamps to bond the parts together permanently. In order to ensure that the lamps emit the required light frequency, Fiam uses a special instrument, called a UV-meter, which constantly monitors wear and tear of their power.

Bonding with silicon or polyurethane

These types of glues catalyse over time by means of the combined effects of temperature and humidity. In order to achieve the best possible result, the assembly department is able to monitor both of these parameters daily, making adjustments every time the readings fall outside the established limits that guarantee the best bonding characteristics.

The assembly of showcases

The assembly of a showcase, one of the Fiam products with the highest number of parts to be assembled (curved glass, wood based panels that are either painted or veneered, metal sections, hinges, locks, etc), is a particularly complex operation, also due to the problems that may be experienced with tolerances and lining up of the abovementioned parts.

The assembly

The value of the hand work: the assembly

The assembly

The value of the hand work: the assembly