One significant trend in automotive glass is the one that may result from a joint venture between Saint-Gobain Sekurit and Corning Inc.
The two companies are teaming up to determine the feasibility of mass producing Corning’s Gorilla Glass®, a chemically tempered glass much stronger than conventional automotive glass, known as soda lime glass (SLG).
Gerry Pariji, international marketing manager for Saint-Gobain Sekurit, made note of the venture during a presentation on new trends in automotive glass October 6 at Auto Glass Week™ in San Antonio, Texas.
Saint-Gobain Sekurit was interested in the glass and its potential in the industry, Pariji said, because of its light weight and strength.
“The 4-millimeter windshields are here,” he said, “and 3-millimeter is possible with chemically tempered glass,” such as Gorilla Glass.
But it is expensive to make.
“We wanted to know if it could be mass-produced,” he said.
The materials, such as chemically tempered glass, are just one of the trends Pariji discussed. Another trend is size.
Windshield sizes have been growing toward a full glass canopy, Pariji said, noting that in some cases, the area of the glass is more than 2.5 square meters from front to back. And with the increase in surface area comes a host of considerations.
An increased need for solar efficiency, Pariji said, means the glass will have to be darker and have more solar countermeasures for passenger comfort and UV protection. Also, more glass content on the roof means a heavier roof, which could pose problems for already top-heavy SUVs.
Pariji also touched on electronic content, saying there will be a “steep curve in the coming years” with regards to the synchronization required for the various elements of electronic content, as more become envisaged for automotive glass.
After playing a Saint Gobain Sekurit video that incorporated some present and perhaps future electronic content, Pariji noted to the audience that some things we have to come expect on a windshield were missing in the video.
“No cameras,” he said. “No rearview mirror. No sensors. All those sensors will be embedded into the glass.”
Auto Glass Week is being held through today at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio. Stay tuned to www.glassBYTEs.com(tm) for more from the event.