Glass in transport
An enabling technology
Flat glass is an integral part of most automotive vehicles and is essential to Europe's transport industry. Windscreens, backlights and windows for cars and all types of vehicles provide safety, security, durability, excellent visibility and allow to develop modern design and increase comfort for passengers.
As the future of transport requires advanced interconnected technologies, glass already allows the integration of sensors, cameras, antennas, GPS and several other functionalities in an invisible way. In addition, glass delivers advanced solutions for automated-driving.
Glass in automotive
Glazing solutions for the automotive industry need to offer the highest possible performance in terms of safety, security and durability, as well as style and comfort for vehicle manufacturers and for their passengers.
It is perhaps not generally known that innovative products make a significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions thanks to lighter but stronger glass pieces, heat-reflective glass limiting the use of fuel-thirsty air-conditioning, solar PV panoramic glass roofs, etc.
Modern windshields are not just an indispensable component of cars, they ensure the safety of our road trip.
Windshields are usually made of laminated safety glass which consists of 2 or more curved sheets of glass with a plastic interlayer laminated between them.
They deliver high visibility while ensuring safety for the driver and the other passengers, but can also act interactively. They can be connected to a camera to allow the driver to access to different views around the vehicle or integrate sensors for data communication and mobile information. Integrated sensors can as well scan the road for added assistance.
In most advanced vehicles, dashboard information is being projected onto the windscreen so that the driver can keep his attention focused on the road.
Good visibility conditions are key to driving safety, and visual comfort is part of visibility. Side screen and sun roof bright sunlight into the vehicles improve the driver’s vision.
Light and aerodynamic design requires glazed surfaces of increasingly complex geometries, which can be a real manufacturing challenge to ensure durability and perfect vision.
Having a sun roof is today an optionthat provides exclusivity and a personal style to the car.
Driving with the sunroof open let in fresh air and creates a romantic atmosphere. It gives a feeling of freedom and evasion simply by providing natural ventilation to the car with reduced noise levels compared to opened side-windows.
In electric or hybrid cars, sunroofs can now also integrate solar PV modules to help recharge batteries for operating the comfort equipment and thus help extend the vehicle’s range.
Ensuring comfort of passengers and drivers
In other vehicles like lorries and busses glass also contributes significantly to the comfort of passengers and drivers.
Truck are characterised by very large windshields. Glass moderates the solar radiation that heats up the inside of the cabin by absorbing sun rays and reducing UV transmission, but can as well keep the cold out thanks to insulating glazing solutions.
Glass in buses is not only for the driver‘s comfort, visibility and safety. These same properties apply for side windows, which are typically of a large size to enhance the passengers’ experience.
More specifically to buses, comfort is not just linked to high visibility and temperature control. Comfort also means reducing noise. Acoustic glass in buses helps limiting the driver's tiredness and provides better travelling conditions for the passengers.
Finally, if we consider that the amount of glass in a bus is on average ten times that of a truck, it is easy to understand how a lighter glass can positively impact fuel consumption by reducing the weight of the vehicles.
Ships and Boats
Glass on boats has different applications depending on the type of boats. The armoured windows that are used on navy vessels are similar to the windows on military vehicles, while the glass on commercial and cruise ships is not very different from the glass used on cars.
Glass on boats therefore needs to satisfy a wide range of performance criteria, especially as international standards governing marine safety become increasingly demanding. The design of glass is continuously adapted to the changing speed and design of boats. For example, high speed vessels need to be equipped with highly resistant but still light glazing.
In aircraft design, glass strength is of particular importance. Especially for cockpit windows, but also cabin windows, glass is reinforced to a very high strength by making its surfaces permanently compressed.
Windshields on planes are as well equipped with heating systems especially engineered to protect against the static electric charging that can occur during flights. Glass technology applied to aircraft also includes protection from solar radiation, frost, electro-magnetic radar beams, and, thanks to increased durability, the particularly damaging effects of bird strikes against windscreens.