Ritec Retrospective: Blue Lagoon Resort, Iceland

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in the country. However, the silica-rich environment is aggressive to unprotected glass surfaces, making them practically opaque if not cleaned frequently. 

In 2004, the ClearShield System® was specified to provide a long-term solution. Some 700m2 of glass was renovated on-site to restore the original ‘as-new’ appearance, before the application of award-winning ClearShield® protection. This made the glass surface ‘non-stick’ and easy to clean, as well as providing effective resistance against the silica contamination and other forms of staining. Routine cleaning helped ensure the glass looked like new for longer.

For more information, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Remembering Stephen Byers: A Tribute to the Father of ‘Non-Stick’ Glass Surface Technology

Stephen Byers with wife Karen Byers

On 6 March 2021, the glass industry sadly lost a popular and respected character. Stephen Byers passed away peacefully from pneumonia aged 79, with wife and business partner Karen Byers by his side.

Stephen, with Karen, will forever be known as the pioneers of the ‘non-stick’, easy clean glass industry. The inseparable couple had to fight hard and challenge the industry and transform perceptions and attitudes towards the protection and maintenance of glass surfaces. Stephen was a visionary with their high quality ClearShield® glass surface technology that over the years many have attempted to imitate, or even pass off.

Born in Texas in 1941, Stephen graduated from Missouri University with an MBA and degree in Chemistry. He then worked for multinational chemical companies and in 1977 moved to the UK for a two year assignment. In that time, Stephen met Karen and decided to remain in England. They married in 1981 in Denmark, Karen’s home country.

In that same year, Stephen investigated the concept of ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass and subsequently acquired rights to new potential technology for the protection of various surfaces. Extensive research and improvements followed, and the new technology was branded ‘ClearShield’.

Stephen and Karen renovating and protecting the glass magrodome with ClearShield on board the QE2 in 1985

ClearShield® was initially tested extensively on glass in the marine environment to prove it was easier to clean and keep clean. Stephen remarked, “If ClearShield works on glass in the harsh marine environment, it’s going to work in any environment!”. After successful small scale marine trials, ClearShield® was ready to be launched commercially.

However, selling the concept to the glass industry would be a mammoth task; they displayed staunch determination and unwavering dedication to raising awareness on the corrosion of glass, and most importantly how it may be avoided or corrected. And their efforts paid off.

Consequently, Stephen and Karen single-handedly created a new and global industry for the protection of glass surfaces, now firmly accepted by the whole of the glass and construction industry. ClearShield® led the couple to develop a unique, fully-integrated system to renovate, protect and maintain glass: the ClearShield System® (later rebranded the ClearShield Eco-System®).

In 1985, they treated their first cruise ship, the QE2. This was a prestigious project indeed, and would pave the way for treatment to other cruises liners: to date, ClearShield® has been applied to over 60 cruise liners.

Richard Branson and his crew on board Virgin Atlantic Challenger II – treated with ClearShield® to optimise visibility – passes Bishops Rock Lighthouse to break the record for the fastest transatlantic surface vessel crossing in 1986

In 1986, Stephen and Karen helped a certain Richard Branson break the world record for the fastest transatlantic surface crossing. Richard’s powerboat, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, had her exterior glass treated with ClearShield®, making it resistant to the harsh sea spray and optimise visibility. This saved the crew precious time from having to stop and clean the glass.

With awareness of ClearShield® increasing, Stephen and Karen formed Ritec International Limited in 1987. That same year, ClearShield® won the Prince of Wales Industry Award for Industrial Innovation & Production. Those of you of a certain age may recall HRH Prince Charles throw a bucket of mud against a large piece of glass half-treated with ClearShield® on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme, the mud effortlessly running off the protected side. Even at trade shows, visitors will spy Ritec’s ‘mud dome’ demonstration units and say they remember seeing the technology demonstrated on said programme; certainly ClearShield® has made a lasting impression to some!

HRH Prince Charles displays great pleasure in demonstrating ClearShield® on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme in 1987

Ritec were – and continue to be – members of the GGF (Glass & Glazing Federation). Over the last 30 years, Stephen worked relentlessly with the GGF to begin development of some industry standards, and to make health & safety and ethics driving factors in the growth of this new industry. He held various positions, including Chairman of the London Region from 2006-10 as well as being a founder Chairman of the GGF Modified Glass Group in 2013. For 10 years, Stephen also served on the GGF Marketing and Communications Committee and was on the GGF Glazing Executive for 7 years.

Stephen and Karen’s achievements were recognised in 2019 by the GGF when they received an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry, a fantastic honour.

From humble beginnings, Stephen and Karen’s technology is today used in more than 70 countries on commercial and residential buildings as well as on ships and other transport vehicles, and in many other applications. ClearShield® has also won several international awards on the way. However, what is less known is that they introduced crucial innovations such as a ground-breaking system for the protection of glass and ceramic electrical insulators with their VoltShield System™, as used by the National Grid.

But it is not just his business achievements Stephen will be remembered for. His determination, positivity, kindness and graciousness will never be forgotten. Stephen Byers, you will be sorely missed.

Ritec Retrospective: Sanderson Hotel Shower Cubicles

In 2002, shower cubicles in the chic Sanderson Hotel in London’s West End were restored to their original pristine appearance by Ritec’s ClearShield System®. The refurbishment project at the lavish urban retreat involved renovating and protecting sandblasted glass shower cubicles in 150 rooms using award-winning ClearShield® ‘non-stick’, easy clean technology.

An imaginatively-created hotel like Sanderson clearly seeks high standards, with the best service and surroundings for its customers, so the use of ClearShield® to re-invigorate the bathrooms was a natural choice. Each of the large walk-in shower cubicles is a different size and shape in rooms which are set up according to the principles of Feng Shui.

Thanks to ClearShield®, the shower cubicles became easier to clean and keep clean, and created a more hygienic environment as ClearShield® impedes the adherence and growth of bacteria.

Today, ClearShield® has been applied to over 5 million glass shower enclosures worldwide, ensuring durable limescale resistance, improved hygiene, easy-clean properties and a long-lasting sparkling look. If it is good enough for the Sanderson Hotel, you can be sure it will be good enough for you too!

For more information, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Announces Sad Loss of Managing Director Stephen Byers

Stephen Byers (right) with Karen Byers being presented with the GGF Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award by then-GGF President John Agnew


It is with the deepest sadness to announce that Mr Stephen Byers, co-developer of the ClearShield System® and co-founder and managing director of Ritec International Limited, passed away peacefully on 6 March 2021 aged 79, as a result of pneumonia.

Stephen and his wife and business partner Karen are well-known figures in the glass industry both in the UK and internationally. The inseparable team set out over 40 years ago to challenge the glass industry and transform perceptions and attitudes towards the protection and maintenance of glass surfaces. They displayed staunch determination and admirable dedication to raising awareness on the corrosion of glass, and most importantly how it may be avoided or corrected. And their efforts paid off.

Stephen and Karen single-handedly created a new and global industry for the protection of glass surfaces now firmly and permanently accepted by the whole of the glass and construction industry. Their award-winning ClearShield System® (later rebranded the ClearShield Eco-System®) for the renovation, protection and maintenance of glass, pioneered and still continues to be a leader in ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass surface technology.

Stephen and Karen’s achievements were recognised in 2019 by the GGF (Glass & Glazing Federation) when they received an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry, a fantastic honour. Stephen worked relentlessly with the GGF to begin the development of some industry standards, and to make health & safety and ethics driving factors in the growth of this new industry. Today their technology is used in more than 70 countries on commercial and residential buildings as well as on ships and other transport vehicles, and in many other applications. But also lesser known, Stephen and Karen introduced crucial innovations such as a ground-breaking system for the protection of glass and ceramic electrical insulators with their VoltShield System™.

Mrs Karen Byers says: “I feel privileged to have enjoyed such a wonderful life with Stephen and to have shared the excitements and challenges of creating amazing innovations with him. I am determined more than ever to keep Ritec International running smoothly, feeling great strength to ensure its prosperity so that Stephen’s legacy may live on for many years to come”. 

Karen and the rest of the Ritec team would like to provide reassurance that the company’s activities will carry on uninterrupted in honour of Stephen.

For those who wish to send a message of condolence, please email condolences@ritec.co.uk.

Ritec’s ClearShield Eco-System®… keeps inaccessible glass looking pristine for longer!

A residential property in the upmarket Palm Hills area to the west of Cairo, Egypt, experienced the benefits of the Ritec ClearShield Eco-System®. A staircase window, 3 metres (10 feet) from ground level, suffered from dirt and sand contamination. Due to its inaccessibility, the residents just were not able to clean it safely. So since it was installed just two months ago, the glass already looked old before its time.

Fortunately, 5ive Stars – Ritec’s official Marketing Partner in Egypt – had the solution. Fully-versed in applying the Ritec ClearShield Eco-System® for the renovation, protection and maintenance of glass, they solved the problem. They organised access equipment and renovated the glass using specialist Ritec products to ensure the glass was chemically clean. The next stage was the application of award-winning ‘non-stick’ Ritec ClearShield® liquid glass surface treatment. Once cured, this special protection forms an invisible barrier on the glass surface that resists any contamination. Because there is significantly less dirt build-up compared to ordinary, unprotected glass, ClearShield® helps to keep the glass looking beautiful for longer.

Unlike a coating, ClearShield® is a unique and proven highly durable glass surface treatment that does not crack, peel or discolour.

With the glass looking as good as new, the residents are absolutely delighted with the treatment.

For more information on the Ritec ClearShield Eco-System®, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Solar Panels, Cypria Maris Hotel, Cyprus

Cyprus enjoys around 330 sunny days annually so solar panels installed on hotel roofs for heating water is not an uncommon sight and the Cypria Maris in the city of Paphos is no exception.

However, the hotel’s location created problems for its solar panels. First, they faced the sea, so contaminants from the sea bonding on the panels was extremely corrosive to the surface. Secondly, the dry and dusty environment meant the panels easily got dirty. The panels were therefore performing inefficiently.

ClearShield® ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass surface treatment was subsequently applied on-site in 1988 to the panels to protect them from the dirt and contamination. After treatment, not only were the panels operating with optimum efficiency, they became easier to clean and keep clean. The frequency of having to access the roof to clean the panels was also reduced, saving time, energy and water.

For more information about Ritec’s glass renovation and protection solutions, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

In August 1985, British entrepreneur Richard Branson attempted to cross the Atlantic in record time in his powerboat, Virgin Atlantic Challenger. However this attempt failed and he geared up for a second attempt less than a year later. During trials, one of the major difficulties encountered by Richard and his crew on the Atlantic Challenger II was the encrustation of heavy salt deposits on the vessel’s windscreens. Valuable time and effort was wasted when they were subsequently forced to stop and scrape the glass in an attempt to improve visibility.

Before setting out his second attempt, Branson had the windscreens of the Atlantic Challenger II treated with Ritec ClearShield® ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass surface protection to avoid the same situation re-occurring.

In June 1986, Richard Branson and his crew succeeded in crossing the Atlantic in the record-breaking time of 3 days, 8 hours and 31 minutes, shaving 2 hours off the record. The ClearShield-protected glass was a big help, resisting harsh staining build-up and optimising visibility.

For more information about Ritec’s award-winning glass surface protection solutions, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Santander Offices, Mexico

Transparencia en Servicios is Ritec International’s Marketing Partner in Mexico. One of the company’s most prestigious contracts was managing the renovation, protection and maintenance of glass with the ClearShield System™ at three Banco Santander SA office buildings in Mexico, one in Sante Fe and the other two in Querétaro. Work started in 2002 and the contract covered interior and exterior glass as well as other façades, with some 51,000m² treated on-site in total. 

The award-winning Ritec ClearShield® glass surface treatment resists staining and discolouration for a pristine look. The newly upgraded ‘non-stick’ surface makes glass cleaning quicker too.

This is a great example of how The ClearShield System™ is the only complete solution for durable glass surface protection.

For more information about Ritec’s glass renovation and protection solutions, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Edinburgh Airport Control Tower

Edinburgh Airport is the UK’s sixth busiest airport and its control tower was newly-built back in 2005. At the time, the lead contractor was recommended by a control tower design and build specialist to specify award-winning Ritec ClearShield® ‘non-stick’ glass surface treatment. Durable ClearShield® treatment is proven to resist dirt and moisture build-up, improving visibility for air traffic controllers as well as reduce maintenance needs.

Ritec’s On-Site Application Team subsequently carried out the application of ClearShield® on the distinctive 57m / 187ft high tower. Not only does glass protected with ClearShield® look cleaner for longer, cleaning time is reduced.

For more information about Ritec’s glass renovation and protection solutions, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Al Salam Avenue Tower

The glass façade of the 26 storey Al Salam Avenue Tower in Abu Dhabi was suffering from the problem of concrete slurry run-off. This was impossible to remove from the glass using conventional methods. Ritec International’s On-Site Team was called out to carry out remedial treatment so travelled to site.

The Ritec ClearShield System™ was the ideal cure, restoring the glass back to its original ‘as-new’ appearance, using specialist renovation products. With the glass now chemically clean, award-winning ClearShield® protection was then applied as a preventative measure, providing an invisible ‘non-stick’ barrier to stop dirt from sticking to the glass in the future.

For more information about Ritec’s glass renovation and maintenance solutions, visit www.ritec.co.uk.