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September/October 2002

GLASS

Vanceva Shows Up in Variety of Vehicles
St. Louis-based Solutia Inc.’s Vanceva laminated glass is making its way into a number of the latest concept vehicles, including the Ford F-350 Tonka truck and the Pontiac Solstice. The F-350 features dark gray Vanceva in its windshield, while the designers at Pontiac chose light-purple Vanceva for its latest concept. However, even Porsche is using the lightly colored laminated glass in a production vehicle, its newly redesigned 911Targa, which features an all-glass retractable roof.

BOS Automotive Acquires License from Research Frontiers
BOS Automotive Gmbh & Co. KG of Stuttgart, Germany, has acquired a worldwide non-exclusive license to manufacture and sell automotive sunshades and sunvisors using Research Frontiers’ fast-responding suspended particle divided (SPD) light control film technology. The SPD-Smart™ sunshades and sunvisors will have the capability to be adjusted by light transmission with the turn of a knob or automatically, using a sensing device.

“Today’s trend to use more glass per vehicle, with larger windows and roof glass, has the drawback of increased solar penetration. The sun beats directly on the driver and passengers and increases the temperature of the passenger compartment and its components,” said Mark Lobanoff, president and chief executive officer for BOS. “Our focus groups, including one with a major automotive manufacturer, found that 85 percent of participants preferred automatic shading devices.”

New Collision Technology Could Decrease Car Crashes
In an effort to decrease automobile crashes, automakers are working on radar systems that will apply the brakes automatically if a car is on the verge of a collision.

“Through sensors, vehicles sharing the road in the more distant future would be able to speak to each other,” said Ford Motor Co. spokeswoman Sara Tatchio. “The possibilities are amazing.”

A big step towards realizing these possibilities was taken when the FCC recently approved the use of ultra-wideband technology in vehicles. This technology is capable of sending millions of pulses each second over airwaves to obtain a reading of an object’s location and distance.

Anticipating the FCC approval, automakers are already far along in developing their “smart cars,” and consumers could see this collision-detecting technology within a couple of years.

“It’s going to allow us to move forward with a system that will help avoid collisions and will detect pedestrians and other objects or other hazards,” Dennis Fitzgibbons, director of public policy for DaimlerChrysler, said of the FCC decision. “These are things we hope to make available as quick as we possibly can.”

HEADLIGHTS

Valeo Develops Light-Bending Technology
Paris-based Valeo is working to develop light-bending technology to allow headlights to direct light into road bends to increase forward nighttime visibility. The system features a bi-xenon projector or reflector headlamp that can rotate up to 20˚ from its normal position, or an additional projector or reflector, or a combination of the two, to deliver more light into a road bend. The movement of the light is controlled electronically by a Valeo control algorithm that uses signals from steering-wheel and wheel-speed sensors.

The company has plans for more front lighting systems, but bending-light technology is the first of them.

MIRRORS

Donnelly Provides Mirrors for New Ford SUVs
Donnelly Corp. of Holland, Mich., will provide the 2003 Ford Expedition and 2003 Lincoln Navigator with top-of-the-line exterior mirrors. These new outside mirrors are more than 30 percent larger than the current model, giving drivers a larger field-of-view of what’s behind them.

Several other safety features are standard on both sport utility vehicles, including Donnelly’s exclusive Illuminator, which creates a lighted approach to the vehicle when activated by the key fob, and heated glass for defrosting and defogging. The mirrors for all Navigators and high-end Expeditions also have memory recall, which allows the mirror to remember preferred settings, reverse tilt, which angles the glass down when in reverse as a parking and reversing aid, and turn-signal indicator to alert other drivers of intended lane changes and turning.

“This agreement with Ford exemplifies our ability to meet our customers’ high standards by leveraging our expertise in automotive electronics with our leadership in automotive mirrors and competency in body-matched painted housings,” said Dwane Baumgardner, chairman and chief executive officer.

ENERGY

GMIC Publishes Industry Roadmap
The Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) has published the Glass Industry Technology Roadmap, which presents the glass industry’s research agenda for realizing its long-term economic, energy and environmental goals

The Roadmap identifies priority research and development needs by time horizon in four key areas: production efficiency, energy efficiency, environmental issues and innovative uses for glass. The key research priorities for the near and mid term include advanced sensors and controls; furnace and emissions modeling tools; longer-life refractories; and improved recycling. Long-term research priorities include the development of next-generation melting systems, improved materials for operations, new glass compositions and raw materials, and advanced processing techniques for novel glass product applications.

The GMIC hopes that publishing the Roadmap will focus public and private research and development efforts on solving some of the industry’s toughest technical challenges, such as improving thermal transfer, overcoming material limitations, and characterizing key process conditions.

 

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