Representatives of some OEMS shared their views on a variety of auto glass issues May 15 with attendees of Automotive Glazing USA, part of the 4th International CTI Conference.
A few representatives mentioned that many regulations in place today are not functional for today’s environment---a topic that came up additional times during this two-day event.
“There are a lot of things in place now that shouldn’t be,” said David Allen, engineer with Ford Motor Co. “I look at light transmittance values and think how important is it that we re-look at those while at the same time we still have to perform safety tests for the unbelted passenger. I get concerned that we overregulate in a lot of areas but then in other areas we don’t keep up with technology.”
Martin Tune, supplier quality QMT, BMW Manufacturing Co., echoed that sentiment, saying, “We can’t do things the way we always have.”
All the panelists agreed that regulations need to be updated more regularly. The moderator of the session, Joseph Poley, senior research associate at Ploey Technology LLC, said, “You have to have an aggressive plan you want to do, but then the pushback comes with the public comment. It seems a little easier to go through the European system, but we haven’t been very aggressive in the U.S. We have accepted things that block progress.”
Another panelist agreed, saying in the U.S. we often “take a wait-and-see attitude.”
There is some good news, as Poley added that the industry is working “to bring in more acceptable test methods for plastic and we are taking steps in that direction.”
“Explosions” surrounding panoramic sunroofs came up during the conference and this group mentioned that as well, pointing out that NHTSA announced a study on ceramic printed glass that could possibly be used for these applications.
“This is a real good possibility,” said one of the participants.
That comment led to a question from an attendee regarding what type of glass is best for panoramic sunroofs, saying, “There is some pressure to go to more laminated panoramic sunroofs and some companies are using a plastic interlayer. Will there be more pressure to move toward laminated glass?”
“It’s a cost issue,” said Allen, “as only a few companies offer those. It’s up to the manufacturer to go with tempered or laminated.”
The panel ended with discussion on calibration, perhaps appropriate as this topic attracted a lot of discussion during the conference. Allen pointed out that we can tell a car owner they have to get their car calibrated, but we can’t make them do it.
“The Takata airbags can kill you,” he said. “We put that out there and we still can’t get the vehicles back from the owners and it’s free. That’s a real frustration.”
One attendee asked if the franchise models are prepared to handle all the calibrations coming their way. Allen replied that the bigger question is whose responsibility it is.
“It’s a little bit of the Wild West right now,” he said.