Ritec Retrospective: Shanghai World Financial Center

With a height of 492 metres, the Shanghai World Financial Center is one of the tallest buildings in China. It was designed by renowned American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) and developed by the Mori Building Company of Japan. The Center is a mixed-use supertall skyscraper, consisting of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks and ground-floor shopping malls.

Approximately 100,000m² of glass was treated with ‘non-stick’, easy-clean ClearShield® in the factory prior to installation in 2006. This meant any harsh inorganic contaminants on the glass, such as concrete splatter and cement dust, was easier to remove during construction. Therefore ClearShield® reduced potential costly delays during construction and provided a significantly lower-cost alternative to replacing the glass due to surface damage.

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

Ritec Retrospective: Rockerfeller Center, USA

Since 2000, buildings in the Rockerfeller Center complex were owned and managed by Tishman Speyer, a very large and well-known real estate investment company.

However, Tishman Speyer was constantly frustrated with the high-maintenance acid-etched glass elevator doors which had unsightly fingermarks on the surface. The company even considered replacing the doors at great expense, even though the glass was relatively new.

The ClearShield System® ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass surface treatment was subsequently specified and applied on-site in 2006, making the glass not only resistant to fingermarks, but also lower in maintenance. ClearShield® therefore helped save money on cleaning costs, and gave Tishman Speyer a long-term solution to keep the glass doors looking like new.

For more information about Ritec ClearShield®, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Achilles UVDB Re-Certified!

Ritec International is proud to be a fully-registered Silver Plus supplier on Achilles UVDB (Utilities Vendor Database) Community. This is the UK’s biggest utilities supplier online management community and the fourth year running that Ritec has successfully re-certified its registration.

UVDB is the utility industry pre-qualification system used by the utilities sector in the UK to manage risk within the supply chain and comply with necessary regulations. Utility companies strive for a transparent and efficient collaboration with best-in-class suppliers and UVDB helps to achieve that.

The scheme is a perfect fit for Ritec’s Systems that provide solutions for the renovation, ‘non-stick’ protection and maintenance for a range of surfaces. Ritec’s Systems include the ClearShield Eco-System® for glass and other vitreous surfaces, the Ritecoat System® for metal, plastic and painted surfaces, and the VoltShield System® for glass and glazed ceramic electrical insulators. The Systems were developed to resist dirt, staining and discolouration as well as upgrading existing surfaces so they are easier to clean and keep clean.

Martin Burkett AIIRSM, Ritec’s General Manager responsible for maintaining the registration, says: “Once again we are proud to be members of UVDB Community which allows us ultimately to save time and money in responding to repetitive pre-qualification questions. The scheme allows us to achieve new business through a transparent and open platform.”

For more information about Ritec, visit www.ritec.co.uk. For the official Achilles UVDB website, visit www.achilles.com.

Staff Promotion Announcement!

It gives Ritec great pleasure to announce that Mr Martin Burkett has now been promoted to the role of General Manager!

As Ritec’s Production Manager and Health & Safety Officer for over 23 years, Martin has been an invaluable member of the Ritec team and has made an outstanding contribution both to the company’s operations and in supporting its international network of Marketing Partners. Ritec thanks him for all of his hard work and continued loyalty and dedication.

Martin says: “I am excited about my promotion! I would like to thank Stephen – although he is sadly no longer with us – and Karen Byers along with Rakhi (Ritec’s Company Secretary) for recognising my accomplishments over the past few years by promoting me to General Manager. I look forward to the continued success of Ritec and our close-knit team”.

Congratulations Martin!

Ritec Retrospective: Luton Airport Parkway Railway Station, UK

The exterior glass of Luton Airport Parkway Railway Station in the UK had not been properly cleaned since it opened in 1999 so there was a significant amount of unsightly dirt build-up. Thameslink Rail, the company that runs the station, had to find a long-lasting solution. So in 2004, Ritec’s On-Site Application Team subsequently treated glass at the station, including the entrance façade and platform shelters with its award-winning ClearShield® System for glass renovation, ‘non-stick’ easy-clean protection and maintenance. This provided a cleaner and more comfortable environment for passengers and staff alike.

A representative of Thameslink Rail, the station’s operating company, said: “The glazing was difficult to keep clean – regular cleaning was not effective and was costly. We needed something that kept glass cleaner longer and, if needed, made the cleaning easier to do.”

Glass treated with ClearShield® resists staining and discolouration and so keeps glass looking like clean for longer. Brake dust from trains is particularly harmful to unprotected glass surfaces and is usually difficult, if not impossible, to remove. But thanks to ClearShield®, the glass is protected from harsh contamination such as brake dust, and cleaning the glass is made significantly easier.

Thameslink is extremely pleased with the ClearShield® treatment, and the brighter, cleaner station offers a much more attractive welcome to passengers.

For more information about Ritec ClearShield, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

“We literally see the world in a new way now!” – ClearShield® Rescues Windows in Norwegian House

Windows in a house in Høybråten, northeast Oslo in Norway, were renovated and protected with the Ritec ClearShield Eco-System®, saving the owners significant stress, time and money.

The homeowners had their old roof professionally refurbished. They were happy with the results but later discovered residue from fluids sprayed on the roof tiles had blown away and drifted on to glass on the front of the house, bonding to it and ruining the view. This inorganic contamination on the glass became impossible to remove using standard cleaning products.

The roofing company was contacted, but ultimately their only solution was to provide financial compensation to have the affected glass to the front of the house replaced. The homeowners had no option but to accept this, mindful that glass replacement would still be a hassle. But worse still, the homeowners later realised all windows around the house were contaminated so this also needed resolving, adding to the expense and stress.

OverflateXperten – Ritec International’s Marketing Partner in Norway – approached the homeowners with a fast, cost-effective alternative: the ClearShield Eco-System®. This is a unique and proven system specially developed to renovate, protect and maintain glass in situ. Rather than having to put up with the hassle and greater expense of having all the glass replaced, this was undoubtedly the better option. Additionally, any future contamination would not bond to the protected surface and would be easily washed away.

OverflateXperten’s proposal to treat all windows around the house was accepted and they got to work. In no time, the glass was renovated with specialist Ritec products so looked as good as when they were first installed. The next stage was to protect the glass with award-winning Ritec ClearShield® to provide a ‘non-stick’, easy-clean invisible barrier, upgrading the ordinary glass to ClearShield Eco-Glass® which has many benefits:

  • Always easier to clean and keep clean
  • Glass looks like new for longer
  • Resists staining and discolouration
  • Resists bacterial adhesion and growth

The homeowners were delighted with OverflateXperten’s glass renovation and protection work, saying: “Thank you for a great job! We literally see the world in a new way now!”

This project highlights the many benefits of glass renovation with the ClearShield Eco-System®. Not only does the process save time, manpower, hassle and money, it is greener to have existing glass treated and re-used in this way rather having to remove and replace with new windows.

For more information about Ritec ClearShield®, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Integer Hong Kong Pavilion

The Integer Hong Kong Pavilion is a research and educational project promoting better performance in housing by combining intelligent and environmental technologies with innovative construction techniques. According to the architects Leigh & Orange (L&O), this project researched and integrated a number of environmental considerations. It is designed with modular prefabricated elements that can be dismantled and with movable partitions and systems to allow flexibility. Low energy systems including passive systems, shading, insulation, wind turbines, photo-voltaic panels, solar panels, central air conditioning with local control have been integrated targeting 25% energy saving. Efficient water systems, including spray taps, dual flush toilets, rainwater harvesting, grey-water recycling targeted for 50% water saving. Other features such as improved air quality systems, waste separation refuse systems, planted sky gardens, atria, balconies, recyclable building materials including the Pavilion which can be recycled, or dismantled and re-erected in another location.

A team of experts from Hong Kong and London worked for more than 18 months to design and build the Pavilion and was opened in November 2001.

Ritec ClearShield® ‘non-stick’, easy-clean glass surface protection was specified as this too has green credentials: because the glass looks cleaner for longer and has less dirt build-up, this special glass reduces frequency of cleaning. This in turn saves water, and is easily maintained using products that are kind to the environment. Approximately 250m² of glass was treated on-site.

For more information about Ritec ClearShield®, visit www.ritec.co.uk.

Ritec Retrospective: Würth Museum, Germany

The Würth Museum in Künzelsau, Germany opened in May 2001. Visionary Danish architect Henning Larsen of Copenhagen specified #Ritec’s ClearShield® glass surface protection for the high quality glass supplied by Interpane. The glass used was 8mm special Ipasol Natura 6634 and a total of 2,100m² was treated with ClearShield® in the factory. Factory application of ClearShield® means lower costs and ensures effective protection before, during and after installation.

Thanks to ClearShield® ‘non-stick’, easy clean protection, any harsh contamination on the glass during construction phase such as cement splatter and concrete dust was easily removed and helped to reduce delays.

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

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.