Looming Issues Raised at GPD Automotive Glass Panel Discussion

Last week's Glass Processing Days (GPD) conference in Tampere, Finland, ran two full days of seminars concerning automotive glass (see Glassbytes, 6/20/05, GPD Looks at Auto Glass Issues), finishing on Sunday afternoon with 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).

Thirty minutes went quickly, rolling from the momentum of the seminar sessions that immediately preceded it.
"How difficult is recycling for the glass industry?" asked panel facilitator Tommi Salenius of Tamglass Ltd.
Alan Woodward of Pilkington noted that the product trend is laminated glass, which is harder to recycle and the more of it in use, the more the industry seems to go against the trend of environmental recycling.

"Will it ever catch up?" he asked in return.

One panelist pointed out that with different kinds of plastics in use, the more separation is needed to ensure proper recycling; add this to the fact that designers continue to incorporate new and different kinds of plastics and the mere sorting of the proper parts to begin the recycling process and the cycle becomes exponentially harder.

The conversation transitioned into one of liability and using the proper parts and installation techniques in vehicles.

"Is traceability going to become an issue?" one panelist asked. "Will you have to get really specific?"

The consensus was that, with rollover lawsuits becoming more frequent, even windshield manufacturers might later be named as defendants to a lawsuit with the claim that the windshield was not produced correctly or safely.

Discussion topics that thus far have only been mentioned sporadically, the panel discussion and the automotive glass seminars offered at GPD offered a glimpse into issues the industry would be well advised to consider sooner rather than later.

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