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Glass Engineering: Design Solutions for Automotive Applications

2014 Edition, April 7, 2014

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2014 Edition, April 7, 2014
  • Published Date: April 7, 2014
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: SAE International (SAE)
  • Page Count: 137
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


My intent in writing this book is to develop engineers specializing in glass design (windshield, side, and backlite) for the transportation industry. The key word is "develop." You do not have to be a glass engineer or designer; in fact, any person with some mechanical reasoning ability can be successful.

Thirty years of experience has laid the groundwork for some practical and cost-effective engineering solutions. These design principles have been made design rules by corporations such as General Motors and Navistar. The results have been staggering: reduction in serial process design by over 75%, and warranty reduction that totals in the millions.

I will give some technical background just to refresh your physics, but the goal is to keep things practical.

My clients hire me to get their staff up and running within six months. The key to achieving success in a program remains in knowledge and the art of compromise.

Ergonomics and Aerodynamics departments (maybe managers?) support an agenda that achieves their goals. But if they are unaware of the financial constraints attached to their desired objectives, engineers may go well into the program timeline before they realize that these expectations may add more burden than what is allowed for in the program budget.

Another consideration relates to state and federal regulations which, if not thoroughly understood, may severely impact both timing and cost. This is a critical area of study if you happen to be building school buses.

An important fact that will impact or drive design will be the mode of transportation and the associated production runs. If one is working in the heavy truck, bus, or RV field, he or she will soon learn that the opportunities for favorable pricing might just have gone out the proverbial window. Limited production reduces the economies of scale dramatically, unlike the automotive industry where your production runs are based off of multiple vehicle lines and will likely be in the 150,000-vehicle range. The engineer is now faced with a dwindling supply base, unwilling to have up-front engineering work done at the supplier's expense.

I have seen many great concepts go by the wayside due to volumes and capacity constraints.

Another important factor, especially in glass, is logistics. When the purchasing department is looking to get their best price, as they should, unrealistic desires are placed upon the process. Transportation costs are the first thing that upper management keys in on during the program planning stage.

In the glass industry, float plants are few and far between. They are costly to build and must be run continuously for years to recoup the investment to construct them. In program sourcing for a product that may be assembled in the Mid-West, I may get favorable piece pricing from a supplier in the Far East. Now the fun starts.

The suppliers give you a price with a tremendous price delta, but are unwilling to set up a satellite facility near my assembly plant. Now you find that those great prices just evaporated, and you are back to the sourcing exploration phase. This is time that, unfortunately, is lost. In some large automotive companies, every minute a vehicle assembly is not operational can cost up to $26,000.

What is the purpose of the windshield in a modern vehicle? Is it a weather barrier, a projectile shield, a bug screen? In reality, a windshield is all those things and more, including a safety device. It is as important to your security while on the road as a seat belt, child seat, or even the air bag.

The windshield is designed to keep occupants from being thrown from the vehicle in case of impact, to support the roof in a rollover accident, and to position the passenger-side airbag for the most effective protection. Properly bonding that windshield to the vehicle's body is paramount to the safety of the occupants.

When I lecture or teach, I try to keep the subject light. I find if I make my students at ease with the topic, they become more engaged in the process. Unfortunately, some elements, such as the study of ceramics, can only be made so humorous.

Let's start looking at the process of making glass for ground vehicle transportation, specifically in the automotive arena of cars and trucks.
AIA/NAS Aerospace Standards