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May/June 2003

AGRReports
    breaking news

SAFETY 
AGRSS Council Forms Subcommittee to 
Study Alleged Contamination Issue

The Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council has formed a subcommittee to address an unusual, alleged windshield contamination that may cause adhesion to fail. Sources say the contamination in question has appeared on certain windshields manufactured in the last year around the frit, possibly caused by machinery during the encapsulation process. Installers who have encountered the contamination say it is irremovable by ordinary means and could cause the windshield’s adhesive system to fail.

Russ Corsi, manager of technical automotive services for Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, is chairing the AGRSS subcommittee. The subcommittee was formed “to investigate whether AGRSS should recommend changes to the Z261.1 standard referenced in the ANSI/AGRSS Standard, based on perceived problems with certain components used in the installation process.”

Members of the subcommittee include representatives of glass manufacturers, adhesive manufacturers and several retail installation companies.

Corsi said the subcommittee has not officially met yet, but will as soon as it is slated for the Society of Automobile Engineers’ (SAE) agenda.

“We’ve determined that we have to get the Z26.1 standard revised and the way to do that is through the SAE committee,” he said. “We’ve contacted the chairman of that committee, John Turnbull, and he’s going to advise when we can go to one of their meetings and present how we’d like to modify Z26.”

Corsi continued, “ ... the glass manufacturer must provide to the installer a clean frit surface so that the glass will accept any urethane system the installer may use.”

At the AGRSS February meeting in Reno, several companies stated that they had encountered windshields contaminated with a release agent residue left by the encapsulation process and were experiencing adhesion failure as a result. The contamination is apparently not removable by simple processes.

Sources have speculated that the problem has occurred only on windshields imported from China, but Greenville Glass/Fuyao Glass Group (FYG) denies the claims that any of its windshields are contaminated.

“Please note that there have been NO reports made to Greenville Glass of any complete or partial adhesion failures with FYG Products,” said Greenville Glass in a written statement. “We have immediately taken the responsible position to solicit several of our customers for feedback on this issue and are pleased to state once more that NO occurrences were 
reported.”

The company continues, “FYG takes steps to clean each individual part before and after the encapsulation process along with routinely running scheduled adhesion/pull tests with their products.”

Xinyi Glass vice president Alex Chan echoed this sentiment.

“We don’t have any problems with the releasing agents,” he said.

However, China-based Shenzen CSG said that it received complaints about its encapsulated windshield DW1217GBY in May 2001 being contaminated with an oily 
substance, but has since cleared up the problem.

“We started cleaning the windshields in the production process,” the company said in a written statement.

However, the company informed customers that already had the windshields in their possession that to clean the glass they must use Dimethyformamide, Aletone or Methyl Ethyl Ketone with a piece of cloth.

Adhesive manufacturers such as Madison Heights, Mich.-based Sika Corp. and Dayton, Ohio-based Essex ARG have their own cleaning suggestions, though.

Essex has developed a process to remove the contaminants using GC-800 glass cleaner and a gentle “wet scrub” with an abrasive pad, followed by a second cleaning with GC-800 glass cleaner.

Sika currently is conducting testing to develop its own process as well. The company has suggested the use of xylol/xylene for cleaning the glass, but said that due to the chemical’s possible toxic nature it is continuing to search for a better method.

To detect this unusual contamination, installers will notice a beading, bubbling or gassing of glass cleaners or glass primers when applied to the frit around the windshields. If the problem is not treated, it could cause an adhesion failure.

Corsi said the real duty is in the hands of the manufacturer.

“The onus will go back to us—we need to get it clean to begin with,” Corsi said. However, he added that PPG has not produced any glass with this specific kind of contamination.

SERVICES
PROSTARS Offers New Training Program in Shops
Pittsburgh-based PPG Prostars has a launched a new training program called 10 Star Technician Training (TSTT). The program is a mentor-based in-shop training program designed to produce well-trained, experienced and dedicated auto glass installers. Resources for the shop include a DVD/video, hands-on training, assignments, quizzes and Internet support.

TSTT features 10 technician modules and one mentor module. The program also offers a special mentor website to help track student progress and administer a written, final exam. Prostars says the program can be used to train new hires or as a refresher course for more experienced techs. It is available to all Prostars shops and has been developed in accordance with the AGRSS Standard.

HAND SHAKES
Lo-Can Purchased by TCG International
Lo-Can Glass, which is based in Woburn, Mass., recently was 
purchased by TCG International, and changed its name to Lo-Can Glass International. The company will maintain its headquarters in Woburn and will continue to be managed by Richard Tankel, whose father Alan started the business in 1953.

Lo-Can specializes in exotic and obsolete automotive glass.

AGRSS
Shops Use AGRSS Registration to Increase Business
Cindy Minon-Ketcherside, owner of JC’s Glass in Phoenix, has started promoting her recent AGRSS registration in her yellow page ads to show her company’s commitment to safety. In addition to being one of the charter AGRSS registrants, Minon-Ketcherside is the chairperson of the AGRSS Committee (see related story on page 22).

JC’s Glass also is using the registration logo in other facets of its business.

“All technicians will have an AGRSS patch,” she said. “Brochures talking about the standard and safe installations are left in each customer’s car, customer service representatives talk about drive-away time and certifications on their inbound and outbound calls, and a press release went out to the media in December.”

Minon-Ketcherside is not the only one taking advantage of the program’s benefits, though.
Rusty Earles of Earles Glass in Troy, Ala., has plans to use AGRSS information on his website to inform potential customers.

“I have set up a website called www.earlesglass.com,” he said. “Eventually, I want it to open with a message about safety and link to other sites such as www.agrss.com and www.glassbytes.com so other people can learn more about safety when they visit it.”

KUDOS
Johnson Auto Glass Celebrates Big 5-0 
Johnson Auto Glass and Trim Shop of Plattsburgh, New York, is celebrating its 50th anniversary of service, according to vice president of operations Dan Johnson. The company runs one large shop location and have several smaller locations spread across five counties in Northern New York.

Harmon “Jack” Johnson, Dan’s father, started the business in 1953. He passed away in 1961 while fighting a fire as a volunteer fireman for the city and his wife Daisy took over.
In 1988, Daisy retired and Dan and his brother Richard took over the shop. Currently, Johnson Auto Glass does replacement, repair, convertible tops and automotive trim. 

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