So much of mirror manufacturing comes down to the quality of the materials and the reliability of the process. Before committing to a supplier, make sure you make the right inquiries to ensure you’re getting the best in both categories. Ask the following questions before choosing a supplier:
1. What is Your Source of Mirror Substrate?
Unlike humans, all acrylic is not created equally. Standard grade acrylic is fully acceptable for storm windows and fabricated displays, but makes a very poor quality mirror. Any minor defect or blemish is much more noticeable and objectionable in a mirror than in a clear sheet. Make sure your supplier knows the difference, and is in fact using mirror quality substrate, not a cheaper and inferior alternative. Replex acrylic mirror is made only from mirror grade acrylic from either of two of our supplier-partners, Plaskolite, Inc. (Optix brand) and Evonik (Acrylite FF1 brand).
2. How Do You Ensure Proper Tracking of Product Specification Data?
It is imperative that your supplier has a robust and well thought-out system in place to secure and control engineering documents, track revision levels, and train their staff how to correctly access this vital information. It is preferable for suppliers to replace paper-based product files with an electronic system in order to make their revision control process effective and trustworthy. We have found that one of the most efficient ways of doing this is by using tablet computers accessing our quality database through wireless LAN.
3. How have you tested your mirror?
Even if a supplier is using high quality substrate and has the correct specifications on hand for the production operators to follow, that does not mean their product will be durable in your application. Problems can arise from UV-induced yellowing, stress cracking, delamination, and corrosion of the reflective metal, to name just a few. Make sure your supplier has thoroughly tested their finished product in a manner suitable for your application. Make sure your supplier also maintains an ongoing system of routine testing to ensure that no major problems crop up in the future.