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Induction Tool

glassBYTEs recently posted a request for information on induction tools for glass removal. I thought I would throw in my two cents. I plan to address this by first explaining how the tools are supposed to work and then some observations I have had over the years of using the tool.

Basically, an induction tool uses an electromagnetic field to gyrate metal molecules to create heat. It works by heating the metal to a temperature that allows the separation of the paint coatings from the primer coat. The primer coat has a higher tensile strength than the paint so the paint layers will separate faster from the primer coat.

Any metal in, on or touching the glass unit will heat to temperatures that can melt, burn or deform attached moldings. The glass itself and vinyl moldings will stay cool, but any substances that touch the metal can be damaged unless steps are taken to cool or remove the parts.

So, is it safe to use on auto glass removal? There is a debate for and against induction and I want to give you my thoughts and open it up for discussion.

Induction tools may not be the best choice for all glass parts on a vehicle. I have tried using induction tools on windshields and other laminated parts. In my opinion, the time and effort expended was not worth it. In addition, the chance of breaking the laminated part is increased because greater pressure is applied to the glass and that can cause fracture. I also have safety concerns about the high temperatures applied to the windshield pinchweld.

However, I feel that using the induction on quarter or back glasses or stationary vents bonded to steel pinchwelds are not as much of a safety concern as the windshield area. You can add much more pressure on tempered glass than laminated and you can separate the glass from the body well before the metal is weakened or damaged.

To use the induction tool properly,

  • I recommend two people, one to run the electromagnet around the glass part’s perimeter and one on the inside applying pressure.
  • The interior garnish moldings and other parts that touch the pinchweld area must be removed from the vehicle and set aside.
  • If the glass parts have antennas or any electrical systems attached to it, find another way of removing the part. I would not recommend induction for removal.
  • If the vehicle has an aluminum body, I would also find another way of removing the glass.
  • Make sure to remove any jewelry or metal from your hands while using the tool. A ring, for example, could burn your skin and cause injury.
  • While running the electromagnet around the perimeter, have the helper apply pressure in one of the dull corners of the part using the flat of a gloved hand. Sprinkle the perimeter with water while running the tool. This cools the surrounding moldings and paint.
  • Once the corner separates from the metal, run the tool and have the interior pressure match the tool’s movement. This should separate the glass from the body leaving the primer coat intact on the body and the paint and clear coat still adhered to the urethane bead on the glass.

Usually the reason you would use an induction tool is for salvaging the glass part for reuse after body work is completed. One of the complaints with the induction tool is that if not used correctly, it can burn the paint or melt the moldings where you don’t want it burnt or melted. This is a possibility, and the customer should be made aware of this eventuality. However, if you use the sprinkling of water while using the tool, the chances of this is reduced and possibly eliminated.

If we look at the bonding chain of glass adhered to paint; we have to understand that aftermarket paint jobs can never replicate the OE paint job in terms of strength. It is impossible to bake the paint to the metal at the temperatures the OE can achieve. The OE has nothing but a frame to bake but the collision center has the vehicle almost completely together with plastic, fabric and other flammables. It can only take so much heat.

Now to the question of safety, the total bond is only as strong as the weakest link in the bonding chain.  If the weakest link is the aftermarket paint job, then any failure would occur at that point.  Remember that you should be bonding to the primer coat and not to the color coat because the primer has a higher tensile strength than the color. If you refrain from using the induction system in the windshield area and only use it on side or back parts, the chance of injury due to the use of the induction removal is slight.

Does it work? Yes. Does it cause damage to paint or other parts touching the metal? It can if precautions are not taken. Does it damage the pinchweld? I don’t know. That is a question that should be asked of a metal expert. Is the removal of an expensive glass part with an induction system worth the time, cost and energy of the collision customer? That question you will have to ask your customer.

All right readers, what do you think?