by Bob Beranek
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“I was contacted recently by a marketing strategist representing an inventor who created an interesting technology. It is called Eclipse. The inventor is Bob Momot from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Eclipse is a system using a film that literally eclipses a light source, preventing the glaring and/or blinding effects of bright light that hinders clear visibility. The inventor told me that it is just like a total eclipse of the sun, where the sun is blocked but all images around it are clean and clear.” —Bob Beranek

Tinted, sun-shaded and solar glass parts do their job adequately, but the Eclipse technology carries other potential benefits. Clear visibility without glare has been a goal of manufacturers ever since glass was discovered and perfected for use in eye glasses, buildings and the auto industry. If this use of LCD pixels works, I predict that it will be a very popular add-on to windshields.

The practical side of implementing this film with the manufacturing of automotive glass has not been perfected, but the technology behind it is impressive. If it can be merged with other films already applied to the various glass surfaces, it seems to me vehicle designers and engineers are going to be very interested. Glare-free windshields could literally eliminate the need for interior visors.  If visors can be eliminated, it means that the weight of those parts can be subtracted from the overall weight of the vehicle, thus making it more fuel efficient. In addition, visors have been known to seriously injure occupants in a collision. The elimination of sun visors would mean the absence of another dangerous appendage in the vehicle.

The one key component to implementing this new technology is how compatible is it with other films. Solar film is usually applied to the number two surface of laminated glass so it can protect the lamination, interior plastics and fabrics. Reflective film, such as HUD film, is usually applied to the number three surface so the reflection is not distorted by the poly-vinyl butyral inner-layer. Obviously, you cannot use a film coating on the one or four surfaces because it will wear off or can be easily damaged due to cleaning or scraping the surface. This means that Eclipse must be able to be applied to another film. When I posed these questions to Mr. Momot, he was unable to answer. Mr. Momot is not an automotive glass manufacturer so his knowledge is limited in the application of his film to other applied films.

My last question was, “Does the Eclipse require an electrical current to work?” His answer was yes it does. The need of an electrical connection should not be a deal breaker for auto engineers because there are currently many types and styles of automotive glass that carry electrical current or have antenna systems that require a connection.

Keep your eyes out for this one. It is some cool technology that may very well be standard equipment someday. To read up on this a little more, take a look at this site, http://eclipse.mediabutton.com/.

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There was an interesting discussion recently that I thought I would bring up for readers to debate. The discussion is about the condition of the existing urethane bead once the glass is removed by the new wire-out tools. It seems that there is a belief that the bead is already trimmed to the proper height due to the design of the wire-out tools and that additional stripping is unnecessary. Also, there is some concern regarding the rough condition of the urethane bead when the new cord is used in the cut out. This brings to mind two questions.

Does the existing urethane bead need to be trimmed down or is the bead height adequate for bonding immediately?

What is the ideal surface for urethane bonding to itself, smooth or rough?

One of the selling points of the wire-out tool is that the existing urethane bead is cut closer to the pinchweld surface. This allows the technician to save time by not having to trim back the urethane bead for bonding. The directions given by adhesive manufacturers have been to trim back to 1-2 mm or 1/16” of the existing adhesive bead. The amount of bead left by the wire out tool depends on the design of the tool. The closer the wire is to the interior glass surface the closer the cut will be to the pinchweld. You will need to trim it back if there is more existing bead left by your particular tool. Remember that the 1-2 mm guideline is there for a reason and must be met as close as possible to the recommendation by the adhesive manufacturers.

There are basically two types of cut out material for the new wire-out tools, the wire or the cord. The wire cuts out the glass and leaves a smooth surface on the existing urethane bead. The cord usually leaves a rough surface. The smooth surface left by the wire is not a concern because we have been bonding to that type of smooth surface ever since we started to use urethane. The question that needs to be answered is what should be done with the rough surface left by the cord to promote adhesion?

I read with interest this week about the new 2015 Ford F-150 truck having a “mostly” aluminum body. That word “mostly” is what really piqued my interest. Jaguar is another vehicle that has a “mostly” aluminum body, although the pinchweld is not, so the bonding and the type of urethane doesn’t cause major concerns. The Audi A8 and TT coupe have all aluminum bodies and special adhesives and prepping are called for to prevent galvanic corrosion.

To learn more about the F-150, I emailed my friend and colleague from Carlex—Rod Watson. He informed me that indeed the truck’s pinchweld is aluminum and that the manufacturer uses Dow urethane. With that knowledge it is apparent that aluminum/galvanic corrosion will be a concern when replacing the windshield on these vehicles.

The reason I was so concerned about this revelation is that, unlike the Jag and the Audi, the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle on the road, and we will be working on them frequently. We will need to have specific and clear instructions from all of our adhesive suppliers on how to deal with the prepping of the aluminum body.

Obviously, Ford has done their research and knows how to bond the glass to the body without causing corrosion. The company’s paint procedures are such that no matter what product used, the coating will protect the aluminum from oxidation. Our concern must be what happens when we get the vehicle for glass replacement? What precautions must we take to protect the vehicle from premature corrosion? What products must we use to avoid dissimilar metal interaction?

To answer these questions, I went to the experts, the adhesive manufacturers.

Dale Malcolm from Dow says that the key to reduce galvanic corrosion is to “clean and seal the scratch as soon as possible, especially with aluminum.” His product Betaseal™ 5504G All-In-One Primer is the company’s answer to sealing the scratch. Dale’s suggestion for the best results is to seal the scratch immediately. The longer the scratch is exposed to oxygen the more prepping the tech must do. For example, if the scratch is allowed to stay exposed for a long period of time, follow these steps:

—Clean with an abrasive pad or abrasive pen* to bright shiny metal;

—Wipe with 100 percent pure acetone; and

—Apply two coats of 5504G allowing two to ten minutes between coats, depending on ambient temperature.

Bob Stenzel of Sika says that their products and procedures have not changed much for several years:

—Abrade the scratch with plastic abrasive pad (ScotchBrite);

—Wipe the scratch with Aktivator Pro® and let dry three to ten minutes, depending on ambient temperature; and

—Apply a coat of Sika® Primer-206 G+P and allow to dry 10 minutes.

SRP adhesives work similar to the others:

—Small scratches (less than 1 inch by 1 inch) require the removal of any existing corrosion;

—Wipe with 100 percent acetone and allow to dry;

—Apply the SRP 5025 Primer; and

—Allow it to “flash off” and dry thoroughly for ten minutes depending on ambient temperatures.

As Dale says, the key is to clean and seal it immediately. Clean it with acetone or recommended product and seal it with the metal primer. The use of the procedures above should make the introduction of aluminum vehicles rather uneventful. My thanks to Dale Malcolm and Bob Stenzel for their expertise.

*The abrasive pen Dale discovered was a product marketed by ProMotorCarProducts.com. It is a glass filament abrasive that can reach into small areas for removal of corrosion or contaminants. Though I haven’t had a chance to use one yet, Dale says it is a really effective tool for use in our industry. If you have any experience with this product please e-mail me at bob@autoglassconsultants.com. I am very interested in hearing your feedback.