Glasstec, the world’s largest glass show is being held this week in Dusseldorf, Germany. This behemoth biennial event mostly focused on glass manufacturing and processing, including auto glass manufacturing and its related coatings, frits etc…
Indeed, auto glass and its manufacture was a popular topic at this year’s event, it signaled a renaissance for the design and distribution of these car parts. Most projections saw the amount of glass in vehicles doubling over the next 20 years, a fact not lost on the glass and machinery manufacturers here who are gearing up their machinery to accommodate the changing look and functions of vehicle transportation.
Sekisui, for example, displayed its take on future transportation—a mini-van sized touring bus with huge expanses of glass in encapsulated mouldings. Something very familiar was missing inside of the vehicle–the driver’s seat. Instead, the automated vehicle had four swivel seats that rotate to form a circle for conversation among passengers. Travelers could also rotate the seat 180 degrees to view the outdoor vistas. Not in a talkative nor sightseeing mood? No worry as each passenger seat also came equipped with a built-in iPad.
The vehicle’s windshield was large and tightly curved. Compared to the new shapes seen at the show: windshields with very high and very low radii of curvature and the machinery to create them. There were new types of thin glass on display, and they were different because inventors have been able to advance their strength characteristics to the point where such glass can even support a full vehicle hanging from it.
If glasstech is any indication, and it usually is, these are exciting times for auto glass manufacturers and the car makers who use their product.