GPD Looks at Auto Glass Issues

By Brigid O'Leary

TAMPERE, FINLAND--Glass Processing Days, which wrapped up today in Tampere, Finland, included seminar tracks for the auto glass industry over two of the three days of this international conference, which attracted 850 people.

Seminars began on Saturday, with the auto glass segment beginning with Donald Ableson of General Motors giving the keynote speech on how auto glass design will lead vehicle styling trends.

"The auto glass industry has adapted to designers' palette with color and designs ..." Ableson said.

Bernard Jean Savaete with BJS Differences followed Ableson with a presentation on the requirements for the auto glass industry, detailing what he thinks are significant trends including weight reduction, safety-security, optical clarity and passenger comfort. Among other aspects of auto glass Savaete addressed were standards for OE glass, saying that "We don't have any international standards for the quality of glass between raw material and the final product." He also spoke of a new requirement in auto glass: aesthetics. He opined that current standards in Europe and the United States are "old and focused on safety ... and do not cover enough aesthetics."

Ashley Toor and Alan Woodward, both of Pilkington, each continued with the topic of aesthetics, discussing different aspects of panoramic and cielo (extended windshield and sunroof) glazing. While Torr linked the use of both new glazing techniques to what is happening with the architectural glazing industry, Woodward addressed more specific issues of using larger and more cumbersome shaped glass, such as avoiding double images created by the bending of windshield glass for the new styles, as well as visual clarity in the area currently obscured by the A pillar.

With the discussion of larger glazing areas on vehicles also came three seminars concerning thermal and solar protection. Hisashi Ogawa with Nippon Sheet Glass and Jiro Miyai of Sekisui spoke before lunch and Giovani Manfre of MG Consult S.r.l. took to the podium immediately after lunch, discussing the need for thermal and solar control, the products and technology available and test results reflecting not only how important the needs are but how effective the solutions are as well.

Other topics covered on Saturday afternoon auto glass seminars included the use of laser cutting for free-form shapes, plastics in the auto glass industry, cameras in the manufacturing process (to detect flaws before the glazing is completed) and the technology behind head-up displays that are becoming available in cars.

The Sunday seminars revisited the laser cutting subject briefly, as well as the need to monitor the production line. After a morning keynote by Tommi Salenius of Tamglass on high-performance auto glass and the need for new technology, new topics including the new horizon for glass heating, numerical modeling of shaping and strengthening glass sheets and auto glass decorative elements (focusing on the black protective bands and dots on vehicle windows) were introduced.

After lunch the theme was the environment and the auto glass industry's role, followed by a panel discussion that started with considerable attention paid to the environmental issue before going on to cover the role of record keeping of windshield manufacturing (particularly in relation to lawsuits concerning windshield failure).

GPD finishes today with seminar tracks for architectural glass processing, architectural use of glass and market trends.

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