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Glass beads

Minireflectors for nighttime visibility of road markings

Reflective glass beads are among the most economical means to create safer driving conditions. Only road markings that contain glass beads are night-visible. No beads - no visibility at night. When a car's headline beam shines on a striping which integrates glass beads, the striping seems to light up and gets much better visible at night. This effect is called retroreflection.

Glass beads and road marking materials together form a retroreflective system. With its glass bead productions in Austria, Germany, the USA and Saudi Arabia, SWARCO has evolved into the world's second largest manufacturer of glass microspheres. Glass beads are the result of a recycling process. Flat glass cullet (waste glass from window manufacturers) is crushed and transformed in furnaces into spherically shaped reflectors that become a road safety product.

The numerous SWARCO bead products comply with national and international standards and mostly bear the CE mark. Our customers can choose from a large variety of sievings which are harmonised with the individual road marking materials. The smallest beads we offer are not bigger than a few thousandth parts of a millimetre. The biggest ones are approx. 1.5 to 2 mm in diameter.

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