Research Frontiers, developers of SPD-SmartGlass, an electronically tintable glass, recently released its financial statement for the first six months of 2017, which reveals strong use in the automotive segment. The company’s revenue, which historically was attributed to the glass’s use in non-automotive applications, is now being supported by its use in the automotive industry, according to the report.
“The majority of [Research Frontiers’] fee income comes from the activities of several licensees participating in the automotive market,” the report notes. It also states that the company believes the automotive market will continue to be its largest source of royalty income for the next several years. Licensees include Saint-Gobain, Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW), Pilkington, AGC Automotive Americas, American Glass Products, Advnanotech, BRG Group, Cricursa, Daimler AG, Isoclima S.P.A, IntelliTint and Tint-It JSC.
The report continues, “The company’s royalty income from this market may be influenced by numerous factors including various trends affecting demand in the automotive industry and the rate of introduction of new technology in OEM product lines. In addition to these macro factors, the company’s royalty income from the automotive market could also be influenced by specific factors such as whether the company’s SPD-SmartGlass technology appears as standard equipment or as an option on a particular vehicle, the number of additional vehicle models that SPD-SmartGlass appears on, the size of each window on a vehicle and the number of windows on a vehicle that use SPD SmartGlass, fluctuations in the total number of vehicles produced by a manufacturer, and in the percentage of cars within each model produced with SPD-SmartGlass, and changes in pricing or exchange rates.”
The statement also notes that the company received royalty income from the glass’s use in the Mercedes Benz S-Class sedans and coupes, as well as the SLK and SL roadsters, commonly known as the “Magic Sky Control” option.
In the foreseeable future, Research Frontiers anticipates more licensees adopting its glass for automotive applications. “Production efficiencies are also expected to continue with the introduction of the higher vehicle production volumes for various car models going forward, and the company expects that lower pricing per square foot of the … technology could expand the market opportunities, adoption rates, and revenues for its technology in automotive … applications,” according to the release.
SPD-SmartGlass uses colloidal particles that are integrated within a liquid suspension or a film, enclosed between two sheets of glass. The occupant can then manually control the shading of the vehicle’s windows or sunroof.