Industry Plagued by Flux and Disruption

“We are on the verge of a major disruption,” said Dhiraj Uikey, glazing manager, SABIC. “Things are coming at a pace a lot faster than we imagined.”

Uikey’s comment, made as part of a panel discussion at the recent Auto Glazing USA event, was similar to others expressed in this session, and throughout the two-day conference dedicated to OE glass.

All the panelists seemed to agree that the industry is in a state of flux.

Panelists discussed the challenges related to automotive glazing. Participants included: Sean O’Malley, senior test coordinator, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS); Martin Tune, supplier quality, BMW Manufacturing Co.; Hugo Perez, global engineering manager, Antaya Technologies Corp., and Uikey.

The disruption or widespread change that Uikey referred to includes a vast increase in the amount of glazing used in vehicles—a demand the industry’s suppliers have to meet. To that end, Uikey said SABIC is currently working on large-sized panels for interiors.

“The concept cars you see have a lot of glazing,” added Tune.

Tesla was mentioned as perhaps the ultimate disruptor. “They are mounting cameras in areas you wouldn’t normally find them,” said Tune.

Ted Ladewski, optical quality engineer at Ford, and an attendee, mentioned Fuyao as a major disruptor as well.

“The industry is in such flux,” he said. “It would be great if there could be more data sharing. We are all in the same boat. There are almost month to month changes.”

Calibration of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) played into the discussion as well, as O’Malley reported there are windshield makers supporting the idea for certifications—a point to which he and others agreed.

When this may occur is up for debate. Overall, things progress slowly, suggested Joseph Poley, chairperson of the event and president of Poley Technology.

“The intent is there,” added Tune. “We need the solutions of those in the supply base. It is very difficult to start something new that is not tested. I encourage new partnerships with companies who can bring finished well-tested solutions that will help us in the autonomous market.”

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