by Bob Beranek
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There was a great deal of interest in the introduction of Pilkington’s new Calibration Tool, the Opti-Aim™, at this year’s Auto Glass Week held in San Antonio, Texas.

Every time the tool was demonstrated on the show floor, the Pilkington booth was surrounded by an interested audience. The Opti-Aim is not for sale yet; estimates are it will be available during the first quarter of 2017, although Pilkington did accept pre-orders during the show.

The tool is simple to use and effective with both dynamic (in motion) calibrations and static (in shop) calibrations, although Pilkington recommends that a test drive be done after every calibration to assure systems are working properly.

According to Pilkington, the tool will come with everything needed to calibrate the vehicle including the aiming panels, an electronic device that plugs into the OBD port, and the necessary training to successfully complete the calibration.

Corning Glass had a booth that featured their Gorilla Glass product. The first use of a Gorilla glass windshield in a production vehicle was in the 2016 Ford GT model. The glass is lightweight and resists breakage better than regular annealed glass. I predict Gorilla Glass will be looked at seriously by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to aid in weight reduction and better fuel efficiency in new vehicles. Corning even brought along a device to demonstrate the features of the Gorilla Windshield and the break-resistant properties.

The Replacement and Repair Olympics did not disappoint either. Both competitions brought participants from all over the world. The repair champion came to from Lugo, Spain. Braulio Lopez did a great job and we congratulate him on a job well done.

Alfredo Calva of Alfredo’s Auto Glass in Corona, Calif., captured the Regular-Sized Company award after several times trying. You may know Alfredo from his YouTube installation videos. Desmonde Ellington from GlassPro in Mount Pleasant, S.C., won the Large Company award. Congratulations to all the competitors, not just the winners. They all did extremely well. The competition is not easy to win, but these technicians show that attention to detail and perseverance will take you far in the AGR Industry.

This year’s event drew more than 30 percent more attendees than last year and had rave reviews from all who attended. I urge all who read this post to plan on attending next year’s Auto Glass Week in Florida and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy yourself and learn new things.

sa2Auto Glass Week™ is October 5-7, and your visit to the international trade show and festivities is the best way to get involved with your industry and take a few days off. San Antonio, Texas, the location of this year’s show, has a lot to offer. Walk along Riverwalk, sip a margarita and enjoy the music seeping out of the many restaurants and bars along the way. Go to historic San Antonio and visit the Alamo. Walk your industry’s trade show floor and learn what is new and upcoming.

I believe that being a good industry citizen is an important part of your commitment to your career.  Getting involved with the AGRR industry means that you make the difference regarding the direction we follow in the future. How can your presence at an international trade show help your own business and further the automotive glass industry? The show is more than a big convention center with lots of booths:

  • It is seminars, demonstrations and building lasting relationships that can help you in your daily work. Earn Continuing Education (CE) credits towards your Auto Glass Safety Council™ Certification by attending many of the seminars.
  • It is watching the glass replacement, tinting and windshield repair competitions. See how the best compete under scrutiny and side-by-side challenges. Learn some techniques that will make your job easier and increase the quality of your work.
  • It is getting involved with or just sitting in on the industry committee meetings that are going on before, during and after the show. Learn and share your thoughts on how the industry works. You never know, you might bring up an idea that has never been tried or thought of before.
  • It is networking with clients, suppliers and fellow automotive glass professionals. Share a beer or cocktail with your peers. They have tried different things and succeeded or have failed and can share the reasons why.
  • It is also a lot of fun through a golf tourney, pub crawl and silent auction.

sa1Yes, a trade show does cost you a little money and time but it gives back much more. Deduct the cost as a business expense. You can’t do that with vacation costs.

Maybe an annual visit to Auto Glass Week is not in the cards or the budget, but a bi-annual visit to the international show and a bi-annual visit to regional shows would work great. Look at the international trade show as one of your annual vacations that can be fun and informational at the same time. Get involved and enjoy yourself.  See you in San Antonio.

Last week we looked at tool options for trimming back the urethane bead to the level suggested by the adhesive manufactures (1/16th on an inch) when replacing a windshield. This week we’ll address the procedures that must be employed to make sure the glass is solidly bonded and the installation is leak-free.

If you use a razor blade style tool, the strip-out may not leave you with a 1/16-inch buffer. Used properly, it will usually take the bead right down to the painted surface, leaving only a trace of existing material. If the blade angle is too high, then the paint is damaged and more priming is necessary. However, if the tool is used to “shave” the urethane from the metal, scratches will be minimal but so will the existing bead. Is this wrong? You may think so if you are the one going back on a second or third installation. There is no easy way to get to the OE bead if some is not left behind from the first installation.

If you use a scraper tool like a chisel, then I would suggest to turn the chisel with the beveled side facing down to the metal. Using the tool in this way leaves a 1/16th-of-an-inch-of old urethane, strips off the majority of the rest and reduces the chance of damage to the metal. This requires a little more effort by the technician but it does leave behind the amount of existing urethane that is called for by the adhesive companies. It also makes it easier to reach the OE bead on the second or third replacement.

Any tool you use to strip the urethane must be sharp. If you have a razor blade tool, change the blade on every strip-out. If you have a utility blade style of tool, use one side of the blade for one vehicle and then the opposite side of the blade for the next. Chisel style blade tools must be kept sharp and honed between installations. I used to sharpen them on a grinding wheel or a wet sander every morning and then hone them before every install throughout the day.

09152016bobWhen using a long-handled utility knife to strip the bead, some technicians will hold the tool with two hands and strip the urethane. The problem with this method is that if there is a defect in the bond, such as paint delamination, the blade can skim over the defect and the problem will escape detection. If the technician starts the strip-out and then pulls and stretches the removed bead with one hand while he uses the tool with the other hand, a defect will show itself and the technician can then deal with the problem.

Once the adhesive is removed, the next step is to make sure the existing bead that is left behind is ready for the application of the new bead. DO NOT touch the freshly exposed bead if you can help it. If you must touch it, change your gloves from safety gloves to new nitrile gloves so you will not contaminate the existing bead. Check for some uniformity in the existing bead you are bonding to. If there are real high or low points, the glass could fracture upon setting. Next, check for any scratches or gaps in in the bonding area. If there are some present follow the adhesive company’s detailed instructions for primer application.

Lastly, check the old bead for “flaps” in the bonding area. What I mean by “flaps” are overlapping slivers of urethane laying on top of one another. They are very hard to see sometimes but they have to be eliminated. If a fresh bead of adhesive is put over a flap, then the seal will leak at that point and the bond compromised.

Master the strip-out and you will reduce your installations times by several minutes.