by Bob Beranek
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Last month I wrote an article on the terms used in the industry by auto glass professionals.  Today, I’m continuing it.

Plunge-cut – A plunge-cut has both a negative and positive connotation. It’s been seen negatively when it is used as a method of easing the use of a cold knife. The belief was that if you cut along the glass’s edge with a utility knife, the vertical cutting edge of the cold knife blade would be less of a drag on the tool, thus making it easier to pull. However, it would also score the floor of the pinchweld and cause oxidation to occur and undermine the urethane bead.

The positive connotation: it’s a technique to remove the flap of a “J” style moulding. Removing the extending flap makes it easier to remove the remaining portion of moulding and makes the cold knife cut smoother without hindrance. The trick is not to plunge the knife blade too deep where it contacts the pinchweld floor.

Gravity Stops – It’s the modern name for devices that support the bottom of the glass part and stops the glass from sliding off of the adhesive. Now, the OE manufacturers’ other means to support the glass while the adhesive cures that will do the job and not cause squeaking. The cowl panel is one method and additionally they use guide pins or hangers.

Guide Pins/Hangers – These are OE parts used by robotic machines that set the glass into place during assembly. You rarely see these parts used in the aftermarket, because they are usually located within about 8-12 inches from the top corner of the glass part and are held in place by double-sided tape or silicone adhesive. These guides serve two purposes: it helps the robot set the glass and keeps it in place until the urethane adhesive cures to its ultimate strength.

The above description does illustrate the use of guide pins in windshield mountings. However, there’s another use for guide pins when discussing other auto glass parts. Some side parts have a tilt-out style of mounting, like in quarter glasses and vents. These parts also use an extended “guide pin” that is threaded and used to attach the hinge to the vehicle frame. It’s also called a “T” bolt. These extended threaded bolts are usually a part of the hinge and helps the robot insert the part into the pre-drilled holes in the frame’s body. Then a nut is used to securely attach the part to the body.

“T” Bolt – “T” bolts are guide pins embedded into a plastic moulding around a glass parts’ edge. The extended bolts are used by robotic machines to set the glass part into place and to attach the glass part to the body.

Encapsulation – Encapsulation is a process where a glass part is placed into a mold and molten plastic is pumped into the mold to create a part where the glass and moulding become one.  Because the encapsulation is either PolyVinyl Chloride (PVC) or Reaction Injected Molded (RIM) plastic, the adhesives used to adhere the glass part to the body may need help to stick properly. That’s why the encapsulated parts are frequently equipped with “T” bolts embedded into the encapsulation or clips that hold the part in place until the adhesive cures.

I’ve been in the auto glass industry for forty years, and over that time there have been things that concern me. It seems many technicians and shop owners don’t realize the importance of our profession. Over the years I’ve seen both the good and bad times.

When I started as an installer, the only concern I has was having a leak-free installation and cleaning up after myself properly. I remember the first time I pulled a cold knife through polyurethane. I remember dealing with the glass lying flat on the pinchweld because carmakers couldn’t understand the difference between liquid urethane and dense butyl tape as it relates to glass support. I remember the difficulties explaining Safe Drive Away Time (SDAT) to customers who were used to driving away immediately after an installation. I remember when every installation was billed directly to insurance companies. I remember the immergence of third-party administrators. Finally, I remember when auto glass became a safety device that contributed to other safety devices.

I had dinner with one of my friends from the neighborhood I grew up in. He was a fire fighter and proud of his profession, as he should be. He asked me what I was doing now. When I said I was an auto glass technician, I got the feeling he didn’t really respect my career choice. Is the career of an auto glass technician is unimportant?

There’s no doubt a fire fighter’s career is important, they put their lives in danger for our wellbeing. However, during that dinner I wanted to make a point. So, I asked him how many people he’s pulled from a burning building and how many lives he saved during his career? His answer was none. Although he was involved with dozens of fires during his career, all of them concerned property damage and were not life threatening. I then told him that as an auto glass technician we save lives every day with each glass replacement. Unfortunately, I don’t think many auto glass technicians realize their responsibility for protecting their customers’ lives because if they did, they wouldn’t try to short-cut a job because it’s easier. Instead, they would do what was necessary to do the job right and wouldn’t answer an inquiry about a questionable procedure with, “I don’t know, I never had a problem with that.”

I’ll admit when I was a rookie installer, I wasn’t always full of pride for my job. I didn’t brag about putting glass into cars and making them leak-free. However, in 2019, I’m proud to say I am a master certified auto glass technician who saves lives every day and shows others how to too.