September/October  2003

Off the Line
Jason Wright
    oem glass manufacturing newsIan Fellows 
jason.wright@us.pilkington.com                                            ianf@iwaynet.net

The Future of PVB Interlayers

by Jason Wright and Ian Fellows

AS WE WORK IN A MARKET that is growing increasingly competitive, OEM auto glass manufacturers face a common reality: a continual call for leaner and more cost efficient processes in relation to manufacturing. 

To make these adjustments, PVB interlayer manufacturers regularly partner with OEM auto glass manufacturers to maximize production efficiencies.

The Future
In the future, suppliers will have access to formulations that improve glass friction performance. Once the PVB has been placed on the glass, it needs to remain in place as a second lite of glass is laid on top and the excess PVB is trimmed away. 

The good news is the availability of new formulations that prevent slips at the lay-up or pressing phase by increasing the friction between the glass and the PVB interlayer.

Another important aspect to consider is the adhesion grade of the product. Now, PVB can be made with a specific level of adhesion-ability, suited to fit the environmental conditions of each facility. 

Proper adhesion is critical to the performance of a windshield. Too much and the piece will have low impact resistance, while too little adhesion can result in delamination or unbonded areas in the glass. 

Working with the right adhesion grade will guarantee the best result for your process.

Finally, the significance of surface pattern cannot be underestimated. It is well known that the surface pattern, or emboss, on the PVB sheet can help push air out from between the glass and the PVB during pressing. 

Although other surface patterns for vacuum ring and vacuum bag press systems are available for this purpose, the nipper roll press system is the most common in manufacturing, requiring nano-scale peaks and valleys that channel the air to help it escape. 

Of course, matching the surface pattern with the right process will result in better de-airing, edge sealing and transparency.

New Technology
New interlayer products (both those on the market or in development) show a great deal of promise for the future of automotive glazing. They will help the industry make the jump from commodity-type pricing models to more value-added 
products.
One advance is in the area of sound-control PVB. By changing the physical properties of PVB (generally making parts of it softer), a sound-dampening feature can be achieved. 

Already popular overseas, several OEM auto glass manufacturers are now considering options for introducing sound-control windshields to the North American market in one form or another.
Likewise, great strides have been made on the solar-control windshield front. Driven by increasing windshield size and steep installation angles, OEM manufacturers are looking at ways to reduce the load on automotive air conditioners.

Although previously on the market, the latest incarnations of these new, more-efficient windshields have been made even better by PVB vendors who have found ways to achieve a solar-control function through the interlayer. 

Clearly, the collective future for OEM auto glass manufacturers and PVB interlayer suppliers will depend on unprecedented partnership. 

To achieve long-term results, neither party will be able rely on satisfying only its immediate audience. Rather, both will need to be engaged at every point in satisfying the 
end-user. 

Itís one of those rare win-win-win opportunities for OEM manufacturers, PVB suppliers and customers across the country. 


Jason Wright is the technical services manager for Pilkington North America. Ian Fellows is a sales representative for the Sekisui America Corp., a PVB manufacturer. Both are based in Columbus, Ohio.



AGRR

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