In the past 40 years, the surface area of glass in automobiles has doubled. Consumers are increasingly calling for greater comfort, safety and audacious designs. Car manufacturers must satisfy these demands while they contend with a host of issues concerning style, shapes, colours and materials. Saint-Gobain Sekurit has met these challenges with innovative glass products that enhance the driving experience, increase security and unleash the creativity of designers." />

Issue: Apr 2008

Consumers are increasingly calling for greater comfort, safety and audacious designs

Bruno Pouillart, operational marketing manager, Saint-Gobain Sekurit International speaks with Automotive Industries.

by Nick Palmen

In the past 40 years, the surface area of glass in automobiles has doubled. Consumers are increasingly calling for greater comfort, safety and audacious designs. Car manufacturers must satisfy these demands while they contend with a host of issues concerning style, shapes, colours and materials. Saint-Gobain Sekurit has met these challenges with innovative glass products that enhance the driving experience, increase security and unleash the creativity of designers. Bruno Pouillart, operational marketing manager, Saint-Gobain Sekurit International spoke to Automotive Industries.

AI. Automotive glazing is getting more and more important for the car manufacturers concerning the future design. What are the new glazing trends?

BP. Two major facts confirming this trend appeared on the market few years ago. More and more and especially on concept cars, there are vehicles where the windshields wraps around the A-pillar offering to the driver a panoramic view in addition to a very exciting car’s design. In the same time the windshield is continued up the roof area, providing new emotions like well being, openness, freedom and atmospheric comfort which is very well appreciated by the passengers. These new feature combining panoramic view and openness of the car to outside are currently investigated very intensively, and since both will massively change the design of the complete vehicle body, the development of such cars require high technical skills and time for implementation to a large scale. Indeed, this evolution depends by the limits in the design of the car body.

AI. Even the most luxurious cars are prone to excessive noise caused by engine and wind. How do you design acoustic glass to stop the sound from prime noise sources in the first place?

BP. With regard to acoustic glazing, being an innovation made by Saint-Gobain Sekurit, the company is aware of the fact that acoustic comfort in general becomes increasingly important in the market. A standard laminated glass consists of two glass panes, plus a PVB interlayer.

An acoustic glass consists of two glass panes, plus a PVB interlayer with a highly sound insulating core. There is no change in weight, thickness, or stiffness. Acoustic glazing that could applied on the windshield but also on sidelites give to the OEMs the possibility for differentiation through better acoustic comfort. Less noise automatically increases the passenger’s well-being and leads to a higher quality and comfort perception. Today, acoustic glazing no longer stands for problem solving, but present a comfort product. High and low frequencies noises, coming from the engine and the wind, are reduced, which allows a better communication inside the vehicle. This positively affects functions like voice control, hands-free speaking systems, mobile phones in general, and of the course the communication between the passengers. At the same time, negative effects on the driver, such as stress and tiredness through noise, are decreased.

AI. The car is a reflection of our own sense of style. How important is the auto glass for the atmospheric comfort of the passenger?

BP. Indeed, our car is a reflection of your own sense of style. From raked sports coupes to tough SUVs and luxurious sedans, our cars express an element of who we are and what we enjoy. The auto glass we choose is no exception. Along with a focus on security and comfort, Saint-Gobain Sekurit has developed a range of glass that lets the car owner to add a personal sense of style to the vehicle. Choose a shade of dark tinted glass to set off your sunroof. Create a "dark tail" effect by tinting only the rear passenger and back windows. Or take total control with electrochromic glass that lets the passengers to change the shade with the twist of a dial. No matter what glass the buyer select, he will enjoy complete heat and UV protection as standard. He will even increase security by making it harder for thieves to see inside your vehicle.

AI. Today's vehicle uses more glass than ever before. While that adds a new dimension in terms of style, it also means that more solar energy is getting inside.

How does your new anti-heat range help to prevent heat from building up and ensure passengers thermal comfort?

BP. Basically more glass means that more solar energy is getting inside, causing extreme temperatures and UV damage to interiors and passengers alike. Keeping driver and passengers cool is the challenge that Saint-Gobain Sekurit is dealing with for a long time.

We created an entirely new range of glass designed to prevent heat build up faster than ever before. Called anti-heat, our range of products fully answers to the various thermal situations that end users face. From glass that absorbs solar energy to UV filters and reflective coatings, users can easily define the exact level of comfort they desire.

Several types of anti-heat glass are today available; each can keep interior temperatures low in the hottest weather, creating more comfort while increasing the life span of upholstery. Anti-heat glass reduces the need for air conditioning, saving money on fuel consumption and better protecting the environment thanks to the reduction of CO2 reduction.

AI. In the area of safety and security what are your efforts to reduce the risk of ejection and the possibility of theft?

BP. Since many years SGS is convinced about the crucial role that laminated glass is offering in the domain of safety & security. Laminated glass delivers a double advantage. Not only it helps to keep occupants inside the vehicle during an accident, but it also protects from dangers on the outside, as it takes a thief 10 xs longer to penetrate laminated glass compared to standard tempered glass.

The outstanding safety provided by laminated glass is why it's been a legal requirement for new windscreens in Europe since early 80s. SGS prescribes massively the use of laminated glass to the other glazed surfaces of the car, such as side windows, sunroofs and backlite, to offer a whole protection.

Few years ago the use of laminated glass applied on sidelites was limited to high segment vehicles. Thanks to our efforts in terms of communication, promotion and prescription, laminated glass is today proposed on medium car segments, either on standard equipment or within an option form. Laminated glass is also more and more present on sunroofs. This democratization from luxury car segment to medium car range has a strong impact on the evolution of the number of pieces. For year 2007, and without counting the windshields, the market in Europe was roughly 1.6 million of pieces, the same market in 2011 will achieve a significant increase representing a level of about 2.146 millions of pieces.

AI. For the celebration of its 60th anniversary, Ferrari invited its sponsors, partners and suppliers to present the new 612 Scaglietti with electrochromic sunroof manufactured by Saint-Gobain Sekurit. What makes the new generation electrochromic glass-roof unique?

BP. Saint-Gobain Sekurit and Fiat Group developed solid and strong partnership since a long time. Sharing the same passion and expertise in innovation our companies work in close cooperation to introduce on the market added value functions. In January 2005 Ferrari officially launched during the Detroit Motor Show in USA, the first car in serial production equipped with an electro chromic sunroof. The EC roof devoted to the Superamerica car model was developed by Saint-Gobain Sekurit. Two years after, the Ferrari's 60th birthday was the occasion for the brand to produce a special series of 60 units of the 612 Scaglietti, all equipped with Electrochromic 2 version. More recently, at the Geneva Motor Show 2008, the 612 Scaglietti was used to inaugurate the new One-to-One Personalisation Programme, which allows every customer to personalise this flagship car. Among the wide array of new contents and options available, each V12 flagship now boasts the electrochromic panoramic roof which covers the entire top of the cabin. The electrochromic roof in new generation electrochromic glass strengthens the inside colors of the car. Provided by Saint-Gobain Sekurit, the electrochromic roof offers several positions which enable to control the desired light intensity, from clear to dark and vice versa, while keeping a total transparency. In less than two years SGS developed glass electrochromic new generation, thinner, less heavy and of with a better effectiveness. The thickness of glass is 6 mm for a total weight of 12.8 kg. The roof of Ferrari 612 Scaglietti protects better the cockpit and the passengers from heat, whether glass is in clear or dark position.

AI. What are the advantages that electrochromic glass has to offer to the car makers and passengers?

BP. In the automotive industry everyone is fighting to introduce on the market products that will offer to the users comfort, safety and functional innovations. The first player that succeeds in this field creates differentiation and consequently gets a competitive advantage with the other players. Laminated electrochromic glass fulfills all the conditions in the area of atmospheric comfort, safety and innovation thanks to its active function.

Electrochromic glass allows variable control of the sun’s energy transmission from 4% to 40% of light transmittance and from 2% to 20% solar energy. End users particularly appreciate the technology that offers the ability to control the light thereby minimizing the heat in the passenger cabin. Combining these benefits with a glass roof application further promotes the benefits of an openness sensation due to the panoramic roof application. The possibilities for the car user to adjust at will the level of light transmission that enters the cabin through the glass, depending on the situation:

Dark: privacy sensation and protection from the sun,

Clear: sensation of openness, transparency and freedom.

In addition to dark and light choice it gives the user the possibility to leave the glass at the desired stage anywhere in between the light transmission range.

Finally laminated Electrochromic glass’ memory allows the glass to maintain the darkest setting while the car is parked (and turned off), in order to help keep the interior of the vehicle cool and in order to protect the car’s interior from the sun’s damaging UV radiation.

AI. Currently available for sunroofs and glass canopies, will electrochromic glass soon be ready for use on other glass surfaces?

BP. Currently the main market for electrochromic glazing is clearly the domain of sunroofs and canopies, and this application will grow further in the coming years. For applications in sidelights and backlights of normal passenger cars, EC glazing is not yet feasible due to different technical requirements for such glasses. However, these problems will be solved and then we will see EC also in this domain. In the small segment of armoured glazing we will even see EC sidelights and backlights earlier, because here the standard EC technology employed already for roofs can be used.

Send your comment:
Name: Email:
Phone: Town & Country:
On a panoramic glass sunroof, the following information is on the glass:
V Saint-Gobain Sekurit
E6: DOT 27 M55600 AS3
43R - 005274
CCC: E000187

How much UVA and UVB is filtered through the glass sunroof?
Thank you
Ed Borowski , USA

Automotive Industries
Call For Interviews, News & Advertising


Thank You