Whether for private or professional purposes, drones are more sophisticated, and more popular than ever. The unmanned aircraft – usually designed as multicopters or quadrocopters – have been subject to statutory labeling requirements since April 2017. Since then, owners of a flying drone with a take-off mass of 0.25 kilograms or more have been required to label the flying object with a name and address. This allows the owner to be quickly identified in the event of a crash. It is important that the label is “permanent and fireproof and firmly attached to the device,” writes the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) on its website.
Reliable drone labeling is made possible by glass and the expertise of Roboterwerk. Image: Roboterwerk
Glass for a reliable label
The company Roboterwerk has now identified glass as the ideal carrier material for air drone labeling and offers an ideal license plate solution. In a special process, the ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT is labeled with a glass-titanium-carbon composite (ceramic). The ceramic withstands temperatures of over 1000° Celsius.
“The ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT is fireproof, stable and light. This ideally suits it as a carrier material for drone license plates, as it is much more refractory than widely used aluminum,” says Moritz Aßmus-Hubrich, Press Spokesman of Roboterwerk GmbH.
Roboterwerk uses the aluminosilicate glass SCHOTT AS 87 eco, produced in Germany, hardened to a thickness of less than 150 micrometers and which only changes its shape at temperatures of 870°C, meaning it survives lithium-ion battery fires at temperatures over 660°C. For comparison, aluminum melts at only 660.3°C.
“Made in Germany”
“Many countries have already introduced a mandatory labeling requirement for air drones. In Germany, this label must also be ‘fireproof,’” says Aßmus-Hubrich. “However, since the term ‘fireproof’ is not clearly defined, we are playing it safe with ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT: it retains its shape reliably in the event of fire without having a negative influence on weight or disturbing sensors. Glass is a significant step ahead of other labeling solutions.”
“We are delighted that Roboterwerk approached us with this idea,” says Dr. Thomas Werninghaus, Senior Sales Manager at SCHOTT Advanced Optics. “The example demonstrates the many possible applications of ultra-thin glass and invites engineers and product developers from all industries to constantly rethink the fields of application of glass.”
Roboterwerk sells its engraved glass drone license plates through online retailer Amazon. It is considering expanding sales activities to local electronics retailers. Drone owners can find out more about legal requirements on the BMVI website – the ministry has summarized all the rules for operating drones on one page (www.bmvi.de/drohnen).
SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 33 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,000 employees, sales of 2.05 billion euros were generated in fiscal year 2016/2017. The parent company, SCHOTT AG, has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.